Monday, November 27, 2006

Dad in the U.A.E.

Updates from Dad who is currently in the United Arab Emirates with the rest of the Malaysian bowling team/squad. They got a nice limo taking them around Dubai and they were at one of the most luxurious hotel in the world - the Burj Al Arab Hotel. Okay, I want to be in a hot warm climate as well along the Dubai coastline.
Dad, send me a ticket!!

Cheah – man with the Midas touch


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Cheah – man with the Midas touch
Sunday November 26, 2006
The Star Newspaper

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s bowling team manager Cheah Ban Cheng (pic) is a man with the Midas touch.

Every time he has taken charge of the national bowling team for international tournaments, they have back home in triumph. And there could be similar success story at the Asian Games.

The Penangite has been appointed as the team manager for the first time for Asiad.

Among the successes to which he has led the bowling team are this year’s Asian Championships (the men won the gold for the first time); the 2004 Commonwealth Youth Championships (Malaysia were the overall champions); 1999 and 2001 SEA Games (Malaysia won seven gold medals); 2005 Manila SEA Games (three gold medals).

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A thanksgiving wish for you...

May your stuffing be tasty,
May your turkey be plump.
May your potatoes and gravy,
have not one lump.
May your pies take the prize,
May your yams be sweet.
May your thanksgiving dinner,
not put you to sleep!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

Pete's Birthday!

Hong Kong 379

On your birthday and everyday,
I love you for your caring and sharing ways...
You fill my life with color and give me reasons to smile always...
Wishing you a day that's just as wonderful as you make all of mine!
Happy Birthday Peter!!
And a happy Turkey Day!
love always,
Sher (your daisy angel)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Matt's Birthday!

Happy Birthday Matt!!!
And a happy Thanksgiving!
We miss you lots... can't wait to see you over Christmas!!
Sher & Pete

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Mindi's Baby Shower

The last time I saw Mindi and Andy was on their wedding day, and that was two years ago around this time. Thank goodness for Thanksgiving for bringing us all together again.. oh, and a baby on the way is definitely a call to congratulate and meet up with the parents-to-be. Mindi's mom, Marsha and sister-in-law, Chelsie threw Mindi a baby shower at their home in Binghamton and here are the pictures!!

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Here's the 'mama' to-be... at 6 months pregnant. Baby's due on February 21st!

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While Mindi's busy opening present, future dad Andy received gifts as well. A nifty and cool tool belt!!

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Here's Mindi reading my card and opening my gift to her. Aawww... and the two lovely parents-to-be!! Congratulation again to the both of you!
I can't wait to meet baby-girl Jacob and be Auntie Sher!!

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Jen, Mindi & Sher

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Surprise bridal shower for Mary

We threw Mary a surprise bridal shower last night at Bijou Grille. A big thank you to everyone who can make it and making it a special night for Mary!!

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To Rachel, Diane, and Michele... thanks for all your help in getting things ready for the shower. We pulled it off!!!

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Here's to the Bride-to-be, Maryanne!!

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Around the table (Left-Right): Judith, Rita, Catalina, Sherene, Mary, Michele, Rachel, Diane and Peg.

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Happy Shower Mary!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Michael Backman's additional comments

The response to my recent column 'While Malaysia fiddles, its opportunities are running dry', published in The Age newspaper on November 15 has been overwhelming. I've received hundreds of e-mails and messages, many from Malaysians both in Malaysia and outside. Thank you for these. It seems that the column has given voice to concerns that many Malaysians have.

I'd like to emphasise (and as many of you realise already), that I wrote the column as constructive criticism. I like Malaysia very much. I visit often and have many Malaysian friends of all races. I've also written a lot that is positive about Malaysia in the past, most notably in a previous book of mine - The Asian Insider: Unconventional Wisdom for Asian Business, which has no less than five chapters to explain to people outside Malaysia why I feel that Malaysia should be given more credit than it gets.

There have been many achievements. There is much about which Malaysians can be proud. Malaysia, for example, is far more politically mature and developed than is Singapore. The media is more open too (but of course not as open as it could or should be.) Malaysians are more entrepreneurial too. AirAsia started in Malaysia and has revolutionised air travel across Asia. In Singapore, there is very much a sense that the government has to do everything.

I also believe that the NEP, which has seen special advantages given to bumiputeras over other groups, has been important for Malaysia. It has been essential for nation building. Malaysia is peaceful and while the various groups may not mix much there is clear mutual respect between them. That is a huge achievement.

However, the problem as I said in my column, is waste. And also the use of statistics that are blatantly wrong. Malaysia also has a big problem with transparency. Too little account is made of how other people's money is spent.

The police too are way too corrupt for a country as developed as Malaysia. The rote learning that is practiced in the schools also needs to be done away with. Generations of Malaysian children are missing out on an education that should teach them how to be creative and critical - this is what a truly modern, boleh country needs.

Again, my comments are meant to be constructive. And I make them as a non-Malaysian largely because many Malaysians feel rightly or wrongly that they cannot say these things themselves in their own country.

Since my column was published, plans for a new RM400 million Istana have been announced and the Agriculture Ministry parliamentary secretary has told Parliament that Malaysia's first astronaut will be playing batu seremban and spinning tops and making teh tarik while in space. There are countless scientists around the world who would give anything for the opportunity to go to space and do real experiments. For the Malaysian government to send an astronaut into space to play Malay children's games serves only to re-emphasise my point about waste. Not only that, it makes Malaysia look infantile in the eyes of the rest of the world, which is a great pity when Malaysia has made so many real achievements.

The world is getting more clever, more competitive and more dynamic every day. There are too many in Malaysia who don't seem to understand this.

Of course my views are just that: my views. But I have spent most of my adult life analysing and writing about Asia. I am direct and critical; I do not veil my criticisms because I don't want to waste my time or yours with readers trying to guess what I really mean.

Open debate is absolutely critical for all modern, dynamic countries. The free flow of ideas and information helps to make countries rich. Political leaders cannot do everything on their own be they in the UK, Australia or Malaysia. They need help. Otherwise they make mistakes. And when they do, whose fault is that? Those who prefer to stay quiet? And should I as a non-Malaysian be commenting on Malaysia? Of course.

Malaysian political leaders and commentators routinely comment about other countries. That's how the world is now, an inter-dependent, global world. And the world is much better for it.

I will write another column about Malaysia soon.

Michael Backman
November 17 2006

While Malaysia fiddles, its opportunities are running dry

I get current world reports from newsfeeds such as NYTimes, BBC, The Chronicle, University Business to name a few. I received this very interesting article which I meant to post it 2 days ago, but I was still caught up with the entire Neanderthal of the MP President fiasco. Thank you Ai Chun for reminding me of the article. Mr. Backman's article is head-on with regards to the issues surrounding home!!
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While Malaysia fiddles, its opportunities are running dry
Michael Backman
November 15, 2006

MALAYSIA'S been at it again, arguing about what proportion of the economy each of its two main races — the Malays and the Chinese — owns. It's an argument that's been running for 40 years. That wealth and race are not synonymous is important for national cohesion, but really it's time Malaysia grew up.

It's a tough world out there and there can be little sympathy for a country that prefers to argue about how to divide wealth rather than get on with the job of creating it.

The long-held aim is for 30 per cent of corporate equity to be in Malay hands, but the figure that the Government uses to justify handing over huge swathes of public companies to Malays but not to other races is absurd. It bases its figure on equity valued, not at market value, but at par value.

Many shares have a par value of say $1 but a market value of $12. And so the Government figure (18.9 per cent is the most recent figure) is a gross underestimate. Last month a paper by a researcher at a local think-tank came up with a figure of 45 per cent based on actual stock prices. All hell broke loose. The paper was withdrawn and the researcher resigned in protest. Part of the problem is that he is Chinese.

"Malaysia boleh!" is Malaysia's national catch cry. It translates to "Malaysia can!" and Malaysia certainly can. Few countries are as good at wasting money. It is richly endowed with natural resources and the national obsession seems to be to extract these, sell them off and then collectively spray the proceeds up against the wall.

This all happens in the context of Malaysia's grossly inflated sense of its place in the world.

Most Malaysians are convinced that the eyes of the world are on their country and that their leaders are world figures. This is thanks to Malaysia's tame media and the bravado of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. The truth is, few people on the streets of London or New York could point to Malaysia on a map much less name its prime minister or capital city.

As if to make this point, a recent episode of The Simpsons features a newsreader trying to announce that a tidal wave had hit some place called Kuala Lumpur. He couldn't pronounce the city's name and so made up one, as if no-one cared anyway. But the joke was on the script writers — Kuala Lumpur is inland.

Petronas, the national oil company is well run, particularly when compared to the disaster that passes for a national oil company in neighbouring Indonesia. But in some respects, this is Malaysia's problem. The very success of Petronas means that it is used to underwrite all manner of excess.

The KLCC development in central Kuala Lumpur is an example. It includes the Twin Towers, the tallest buildings in the world when they were built, which was their point.

It certainly wasn't that there was an office shortage in Kuala Lumpur — there wasn't.

Malaysians are very proud of these towers. Goodness knows why. They had little to do with them. The money for them came out of the ground and the engineering was contracted out to South Korean companies.

They don't even run the shopping centre that's beneath them. That's handled by Australia's Westfield.

Next year, a Malaysian astronaut will go into space aboard a Russian rocket — the first Malay in space. And the cost? $RM95 million ($A34.3 million), to be footed by Malaysian taxpayers. The Science and Technology Minister has said that a moon landing in 2020 is the next target, aboard a US flight. There's no indication of what the Americans will charge for this, assuming there's even a chance that they will consider it. But what is Malaysia getting by using the space programs of others as a taxi service? There are no obvious technical benefits, but no doubt Malaysians will be told once again, that they are "boleh". The trouble is, they're not. It's not their space program.

Back in July, the Government announced that it would spend $RM490 million on a sports complex near the London Olympics site so that Malaysian athletes can train there and "get used to cold weather".

But the summer Olympics are held in the summer. So what is the complex's real purpose? The dozens of goodwill missions by ministers and bureaucrats to London to check on the centre's construction and then on the athletes while they train might provide a clue.

Bank bale outs, a formula one racing track, an entire new capital city — Petronas has paid for them all. It's been an orgy of nonsense that Malaysia can ill afford.

Why? Because Malaysia's oil will run out in about 19 years. As it is, Malaysia will become a net oil importer in 2011 — that's just five years away. So it's in this context that the latest debate about race and wealth is so sad.

It is time to move on, time to prepare the economy for life after oil. But, like Nero fiddling while Rome burned, the Malaysian Government is more interested in stunts like sending a Malaysian into space when Malaysia's inadequate schools could have done with the cash, and arguing about wealth distribution using transparently ridiculous statistics.

That's not Malaysia "boleh", that's Malaysia "bodoh" (stupid).


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Of neanderthals and the MP President

While the loser of the Penang Municipal Council President may have finally caved in and apologizes to the victim as well as to the community, I do not think that this clown really meant that he is truly sorry.

Of course, he blames it on misunderstanding!! Why, anything and everything can be pinned as a misunderstanding... even if one were to accidentally stab someone in the chest... Oh, that is one misunderstanding!! In that case, all murder, homicide trials will be in jeopardy seeing that the so-called crimes are pure misunderstanding! So much for accepting responsibilities you ding-dong!!

Does he really mean it?
I don't think so!!

Imagine if someone in the clown's family were to have been victimised sexually for appearing too pretty in the face? Then what?!! It's her fault that her face appear so cute and pretty? Maybe she should have been burka-ed or hey, it's okay Mr. At-Fault... I know what you did to my familly member was just a misunderstanding. We are man... like our ancestors, we are neanderthals, we see meat lying around, we eat meat!! It's not our fault that fresh meat are lying in the mid of nowhere and expect NOT to be eaten!!

So much for progressive thinking and did we not just took a giant leap backwards for the community and mankind?!

Sexist apologizes

Wednesday November 15, 2006
The Star Newspaper
Abu Bakar says sorry over remark

PENANG: After days of lying low in the face of growing anger, Penang Municipal Council president Datuk Abu Bakar Hassan came forward and apologised for his remark regarding the attire worn by a woman journalist at a council meeting. He apologised to the New Straits Times journalist Melissa Darlyne Chow and other quarters for his statement.

After launching World Toilet Day celebrations here yesterday, Abu Bakar distributed a two-paragraph statement, saying that as council president, he took full responsibility for the incident.

MAKING AN APOLOGY: Abu Bakar fielding questions from newsmen at the press conference after the launching of the World Toilet Day celebrations in Komtar yesterday. He said investigations were under way and that disciplinary action would be taken against the control room operator if he is found guilty of any wrongdoing.

But the apology did not stop newsmen from “grilling” Abu Bakar over his statement that the media had misunderstood his remark. Abu Bakar fielded a barrage of questions from reporters.

When contacted, Chow said she accepted the apology and did not wish the issue prolonged. She said she had lodged a police report.

Meanwhile, five journalists and the technician have given statements to police.

Extract of transcript of council president Datuk Abu Bakar Hassan’s press conference.

Q: Dr Teng (state Local Government committee chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan) has said that you denied making the remark.

A: There is a misunderstanding. I have said in the press release that I apologise if my remark had hurt anyone’s feelings, including Melissa (New Straits Times reporter Melissa Darlyne Chow). I openly apologise.

Q: Can you explain why the misunderstanding occurred? We had asked you whether you thought the reporter was sexily ...?

A: Reply: No ... no ... no. I have explained (in the press release) that it is a misunderstanding ... that is all.

Q: Do you think all the reporters (at the function) quoted you wrongly? We confirmed the remark with you twice.

A: I was talking about the dress code. I said (newsmen) must not wear sexy dresses (to cover council meetings) ... please do not relate this remark to the CCTV incident. I did not say because she was sexy, the incident occurred. I did not mean that.

Q: That day you said “being sexy is the issue ... and then you said if she had worn a normal dress, this would not have happened. We all heard it.

A: My statement was misunderstood. I was only talking about the attire in general. Do not relate it to this case because it is unfair.

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We here you loudly and clear you sexist pig - you are still just repeating your sexist thought that women brought it onto themselves for such incidents to occur. Stop digging yourself a bigger hole and just retreat to an unknown island somewhere off the coast of Penang. Only uneducated people such as yourself cannot see the difference betwen dressing attire and pervertedness!!

MPI wants council to apologise

Wednesday November 15, 2006
The Star Newspaper
MPI wants council to apologise

KUALA LUMPUR: The Penang Municipal Council has been urged to make a public apology relating to the video recording of a woman journalist’s thighs during the council meeting last Friday.

Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) chairman Datuk Azman Ujang said the highly embarrassing incident should not have happened and could be settled out of court with an open apology. “I feel the council should apologise to resolve the problem, especially the president who had remarked that the journalist was improperly dressed when covering the meeting,” he told Bernama after the Malaysian Journalist Night 2006 contribution presentation here yesterday.

He was commenting on the incident where a closed circuit camera had focused on the thighs of New Straits Times reporter Melissa Darlyne Chow when the meeting was being held.

Penang Municipal Council president Datuk Abu Bakar Hassan was reported to have said later that the incident would not have happened if the dress worn by the New Straits Times reporter was not sexy. Abu Bakar has since denied making such a remark.

Azman said each organisation had the right to impose a code of ethics on journalists’ dressing, but in the incident, he had found that the dress worn by the journalist was proper.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the council must apologise publicly to the reporter. She said no amount of reasons and excuses from the council should detract the public from the fact that the reporter was sexually harassed.

“Abu Bakar is wrong to focus the entire issue on the attire of the journalist and the council must further enact policies that promotes zero tolerance for sexual harassment in the council,” she said in a statement here yesterday.

She said CCTV cameras were installed using taxpayers’ money to record proceedings of the meeting and any attempt to use the cameras for other purposes constituted abuse of power and public funds. “And in this instance, the use of the cameras to visually violate the journalist is all the more unacceptable and insulting to all women,” she said. The reporter has lodged a police report over the incident and investigations are ongoing.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sad day for Penangites - a homegrown sexist in our community

It is so sad for a country that continues to stress for modernity and equality that such a thing happens. It is not only the lack insensitivity but the lack of intelligence of some of these people.

What a disappointment that such occurances happen and as my dear friend Claire puts it,

"More rubbish from local officials. It’s amazing how these backward clowns are nominated for office. He should be the one tried for mental sanity, right after the pervert operating the cameras".

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Monday November 13, 2006
The Star Newspaper
Council chief slammed over remark

PENANG: Penang Municipal Council president Datuk Abu Bakar Hassan should apologise to the media for his “insensitive” remark over the dressing of women journalists, said state deputy assembly speaker Datuk Lye Siew Weng.

He said Abu Bakar should have investigated the media’s complaint that a close-circuit television (CCTV) camera at City Hall was zooming onto the thighs of a female journalist covering a full council meeting instead of blaming them for the incident.

“As a senior officer, Abu Bakar should know better. He must apologise to the journalists for claiming their dressing was inviting trouble,” Lye said.

“Also, if it is true that the CCTV system at the council chamber was faulty, then the onus is on the council to repair it.”

Abu Bakar had claimed on Saturday that the CCTV incident would not have happened if the journalist’s attire was not sexy. He also said a dress code would be drawn up for the media.

The same day, New Straits Times journalist Melissa Darlyne Chow, 23, lodged a police report in which she alleged that the CCTV operator in the control room had outraged her modesty by focussing the camera on her thighs. Chow had said she was wearing decent office attire and her skirt was knee length when she attended the council meeting on Friday.

Penang Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said it was inappropriate for Abu Bakar to remark that if the dresses of women journalists were not sexy, the camera would not have zoomed on their thighs. He said the council should instead focus on the investigation on the incident.

State MCA youth chief Ooi Chuan Aik called for an independent body to be set up to investigate the incident. “The council president should look into how to prevent a recurrence,” he said.

State Economic Planning, Education and Human Resource, Science, Technology and Innovation Committee chairman Datuk Dr Toh Kin Woon said Abu Bakar’s statement was very insulting to women and described the incident as a “serious case of harassment.”

State Local Government, Traffic Management, Information and Community Relations Committee chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan however said Abu Bakar’s remark on the sexy dressing was probably a miscommunication or uttered in jest. “Abu Bakar’s comment could have been overheard by reporters and not meant to be recorded,” he said.

In Kuala Lumpur, Women, Family and Community Development Ministry parliamentary secretary Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said female journalists had the right to wear skirts to government functions as long as the attire reached the knees.

Over at the Lim's in Barrie, ON

This was Sharon's first trip up to Barrie to see Uncle & Aunty Lim as well as Uncle Chong and Aunty Doris. A big thanks to all the Aunties and Uncles for a yummy breakfast and lunch of Chee Cheong Fun and Char Koay Teow.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Visiting Matt in Irvine, CA


I got to meet up with Matt and his girlfriend Alicia. I got to see Matt a couple of times throughout the years he had moved to the West, apart from Christmas. From Arizona to Southern California, I have visited him. Unfortunately, Peter has not had the chance to visit his big brother out West . I say it's okay... I bring lots of hugs & kisses & love from the two of us!! :P

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Irvine Spectrum Center

I like Ferris Wheels and water fountains... throw them all together with a great outdoor shopping mall.. what do you get?! The Irvine Spectrum Center! I know my way around OC... to the beaches and the malls :P

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