Saturday, June 30, 2007

Ribbit-ribbit porridge..

Chong Joon and I went out for a Japanese dinner on Friday evening... after that, he took me to the Jelutong market (in front of the post office) for a much awaited bowl of cooling see kua th'ng. Next to the see kua th'ng store is the porridge store selling an assortment of porridges. You have your usual meats and seafood porridges... and then you have the amphibian kind of porridge served with healthy, tender frog legs.

Frog legs porridge

Growing up, one never really question much about what was being served. If you were out with your parents and friends for a meal, you make sure you finish whatever it was that your parents dish out for you, out of respect to them and their friends. Come to think of it... my parents have been (still are) great at "putting food" on my plate for me to "Try a little bit, this is nice and good for you!". I don't question them about it unless the food was not to my liking.

However, I also question them about food even when it was to my liking and that is how I learned of eating frog legs. This happened in my pre-teen years, as I was chowing down on what I believe was chicken meat. Needless to say, I stopped eating right there and then!! Moral of the story here... don't ask what you are eating untill after you have completed the meal! This is to ensure that your enjoyment of other dishes are not spoiled or overshadowed by the shock of delicacy items such as frog legs.

These days, I just don't question what I am eating.. if I must, question before consumption or way after the meal is done. As for frog legs... have I had them after my shocking discovery? Yes, I have had them... I just don't know when !! :D

Thursday, June 28, 2007

RM1,000 reward for stolen Homer's return

The two thieves must be real Simpson fans... either that or they are just plain stupid!

* * * * * * * * *
The New Straits Times Online
By : Lee Shi-Ian

PETALING JAYA: A reward of RM1,000 has been offered for the "safe" return of the life-sized statue of Homer Simpson, which was stolen on Monday.

The Simpsons, minus Homer, on display at the Golden Screen Cinema in 1 Utama shopping complex.

The reward is offered by movie studio Twentieth Century Fox, which is scheduled to release The Simpsons movie in Malaysia next month. The statue was stolen from the Golden Screen Cinemas at the 1 Utama Shopping Complex here at 3am. The theft was recorded on closed-circuit television cameras.

The suspects caught on CCTV cameras removing Homer from the cineplex premises.

Motion Picture Association country manager Nor Hayati Yahaya appealed for the return of Homer, saying that the Simpsons family was due to be displayed at Malaysia Consumers Day 2007 next month.

"There is an estimated five million Simpsons fans in Malaysia," she said. The statue was stolen after the late night movie screening ended about 3am. The 1.2-metre tall Homer statue was placed alongside other Simpsons statues at a display couch.

CCTV images provided by the shopping complex show two men carrying Homer out of the building. Another TV grab shows the statue in the boot of a Proton Waja.

Two police reports were lodged over the incident. District police chief ACP Mazlan Mansor confirmed the reports. He said investigations were under way to track down the culprits.

The Simpsons is an animated American sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. It is a satirical parody of the "Middle American" lifestyle epitomised by its title family, which consists of Homer, wife Marge, son Bart, daughter Lisa and baby daughter Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and lampoons many aspects of the human condition, as well as American culture, society as a whole and television itself.

The Simpsons is currently the longest-running American sitcom and the longest-running American animated programme. Since its debut on Dec 17, 1989, the show has aired 400 episodes over 18 seasons. The 19th season is due to be aired in 2007/2008.

Super SPF protection anyone?!

Amy and I saw this product one day at a supermarket in Penang and we were just blown away by the extreme maximum SPF coverage it claims to provide. Thinking back... the highest I have ever used was SPF 45 and to think someone really, really needs SPF 130 is beyond me!! But then again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

This sunblock sure is $ expensive $$ for such a little amount. Must be the high SPF coverage that makes it so costly.

IMG_0129 IMG_0128
Which one do you need? SPF 65 or SPF 130 ??

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ipohmali by Point Blank

I heard this song on local Malaysian radio stations as well as on tv... very catchy!! I have to admit, in terms of Malaysian standard - this is a really cool, great sounding track! To all my friends from Ipoh and to the happiest, active, giant, black labrador in Scottsdale, AZ - Ipoh Panzica.... hurray for Ipoh!!

Ipohmali Ipoh Ipohmali
I sing it loud and proud that’s who I be
Cos’ small town dreams do come through
so stand up and represent where you from too boo Uh
Ipohmali Ipoh Ipohmali
I sing it loud and proud that’s who I be
Cos’ small town dreams do come through
so stand up and represent where you from too boo

Foreign capital doesn’t have to put up with NEP

Here's a letter submitted to

* * * * * * * *
Foreign capital doesn’t have to put up with NEP
Feroz Qureshi
Jun 26, 07 4:39pm

I refer to the malaysiakini report EU envoy summoned to explain NEP criticism. After reading the comments made by the European Commission’s top envoy to Malaysia, I can’t help but put my two cents worth into the fray.

I have worked and lived in Malaysia and am well accustomed to its social fabric and political system. As a foreigner, I have a better understanding than Westerners on this issue because I speak Bahasa Malaysia and have been exposed to Malay culture and traditions from young. Still, I am perplexed by the NEP and its predictable ills especially coming from an environment where ‘meritocracy’ is, to a small extent, worshiped.

Essentially, all societies are unequal in some form or other but few in the developing world would attempt to make more equal by legislating a heavy-handed unequal-ness. This is what Malaysia has done. The extreme of this ideology has to be Mugabe’s confiscation of white-owned farm lands in Zimbabwe.

To me and others who swear by free competition, the NEP is flawed from its conception in 1970. What baffles me is that the Malay political elite remains adamant that a redistribution of wealth via such means is the one and only solution.

In my dealings with the Malaysian government, I have learnt that there is a feeling of ‘entitlement’ among Malays that makes for a curious insight. Their behaviour can be as patronising and feudal as kings of old who place themselves above all others on a misguided notion that they were born into the ‘right group’.

All throughout history, when a group of people are content with the status quo, it is only because they are its prime beneficiaries! To the point that even when they see injustice in the system, they are unlikely to get rid of it.

And believe me, education doesn’t change a thing. Human nature is such that when one enjoys ‘unfair advantages’ - be it through the NEP, farm subsidies from the EU or simply having wealthy parents - one is somehow driven to rationalise these advantages as deserving and good.
Malaysia is now experiencing its second generation of NEP legislation and this is where grave danger lies, for it will, if not already, be deeply entrenched in the psyche of the Malay. Far from being more even-handed in its application, the young educated Malays will hijack the NEP. There is already much rhetoric coming from Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s own son-in-law towards this end.

Efforts by the present government to weed out corruption (smokescreen or otherwise) will be seen in some quarters as depriving new Malays from benefits their parents enjoyed. The late Peter Drucker once famously said, ‘It is foolish to expect change from those who have benefitted from the old order’.

This development, nay, stubborn continuation of a poorly-conceived set of laws, does not auger well for Malaysia among its non-Malay citizens. And although they have put up with it, foreigners and foreign capital don’t always have to. The moment profits are not good enough and the NEP erodes margins, they will pack and go. Thus, the government now finds itself in a quagmire – expectations from both sides are beginning to exceed the ability to deliver.

While there is strong political will to maintain the NEP, the system itself is headed for collapse in the foreseeable future. Fast-forward 30 to 40 years and you will arrive at the same disturbing scenario as a few socialistic European governments of today – overbloated and inefficient civil service, pension schemes defaulting, government subsidies propping up unsustainable businesses, high unemployment from lack of new jobs, healthcare crises, etc, etc.

The lesson here is a simple one. When you do not allow the best and brightest to rise or lead, then you degrade society as a whole.

My assessment of this issue is that the Malay-educated is obsessed with getting a bigger slice of the domestic pie that this outlook seems insular and resentful. His perception of the NEP is nothing short of ridiculous – a sense of righteousness amidst misplaced ideology, borne out of fear and resentment towards others who seem better off economically. It lies somewhere along the lines of, ‘If the Chinese and Indians are unhappy with it, they can leave Malaysia’.

And this belies one of the tragedies of Malaysian society – it is never short of able and bright minds, but ethnic suspicions make all Malaysians under-perform as a collective. Perhaps the NEP should be phased out to blur the lines of ethnicity in the country, albeit gradually to lessen the shock impact.

And my conclusion is that as long as the NEP remains in its present form, the Malay-educated can never rise fully. At best, they become ‘big fish swimming in small ponds’ and will never be able to compete at an international level. Hence, I will not be surprised if Malaysia’s economic pie vis-à-vis the rest of the world’s grows insignificantly. After all, fish in ponds will drown in the ocean.

I use a business pitch when differentiating from Malaysian firms and companies. I tell my clients that in Singapore, everything from education to jobs to business and government contracts, we have to compete with the rest of the world. In Malaysia, the Malay only needs to be better than other Malays.

Freedom of Speech in Malaysia... AS IF!!!

For a country that is supposedly striving to become a self-sufficient industrial developed nation, meeting all 9 challenges (outlined in the quest to achieve the state of Vision 2020) and therefore be able to achieve Vision 2020 - Malaysia has a looooong way to go. Thinking back to my primary and secondary school days when I used to daydream about Malaysians flying in solar powered cars let the Jetsons... I can only laugh at myself and say... AS IF!!!!

There are many things which Malaysia and Malaysians need to consider...

Take for example our so called freedom of speech and expression as provided by Article 10 of the Federal Constitution. This is what I call an "image-only-provision". In order to demonstrate to the world that we are a liberal society, this particular right was conveniently inserted as legal proof that our nation is progressive and democratic. While Article 10 may allow for its citizens to voice their opinion and thoughts, it is heavily monitored by the national government. So much for freedom of speech that is being monitored and/or censored!

The head of the European Commission delegation to Malaysia, Ambassador Thierry Rommel alleged to have stated that Malaysia should roll back its 37-year-old New Economic Policy (NEP). Rolling back on the policy or not... SO WHAT?!! He is simply voicing his thoughts about the situation. Is that so wrong? Look at how our politicians are giving their 5 cents on stupid and lame issues such as how to dress professionally at work or let's revisit and determine what our national language really, really ought to be called for the next 5 years?!

At the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) 2003 held in Malaysia, Former prime minister Mahathir Mohammad said Jews ruled the world and got others to fight and die for them, but added that they would not be able to defeat the world's 1.3 billion Muslims.
"We are actually very strong, 1.3 billion people cannot be simply wiped out. The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them," he said.

Isn't that a whole lot of prejudice, racism, discrimination, opression, bigotry, hatred, inequity, injustice, intolerance, partiality, unfairness and a wrong tone of voice by a former leader of a country who apparently aimed to usher the nation to become a model nation of the world?!

Compare the former PM's attack on Jews... and compare Ambassador Rommel's observation and long term outlook and consideration for Malaysia's international trading power. Which takes a more condemning stance?? Doesn't take a genius to figure this one out!

If one were to look at Malaysian leaders' jump the gun attitude to immediately point the worst in things... it is soooo PRIMARY SCHOOL KINDERGARTEN.

Remember the time when friend #1 slanders and belittles friend #2 for saying something obvious to friend #3 & #4? Friend #1 became all pissy and accusatory of friend #2 not being a good friend because friend #2 said something like "friend #1 should not be bringing his/her teddy bear to school". Friend #3, #4 and so on had already seen friend #1 bringing his/her teddy bear to school everyday. Friend #2 was simply stating the truth and friend #1 cannot hack it. Well then, tough luck!! Grow up already!!!

In case you have not read the issue on Ambassador Rommel's alleged comments, read on.

* * * * * * * * *
Monday June 25, 2007
The Star Newspaper
Rommel: I did not call for NEP to be scrapped

PETALING JAYA: There was no call to scrap the New Economic Policy nor was there any intention to meddle in Malaysia's domestic affairs, said head of the European Commission delegation to Malaysia, Ambassador Thierry Rommel.

“It is not my intention to meddle in domestic affairs and that was not the rationale of my speech. The rationale of the NEP in my speech is that it has bearings on the negotiations with the Free Trade Agreement between EU and Asean. I did not say the NEP was discriminatory nor did I call for it to be scrapped. One should read the entire speech to understand the context,” he said yesterday.

On the FTA, Rommel said the bumiputra policy was an issue on the horizon, as it would limit room to manoeuvre for Malaysian negotiations due to the open nature of the FTA itself.

“I’m not looking at an added economic advantage for any group but rather at the big picture, both the positive and negative effects when it comes to EU and Asean FTA negotiations, of which Malaysia is a key member. We should not link trade policy with bumiputra policy. Referring to policies in this aspect is absolutely normal and part and parcel of an open negotiation or agreement,” he added.

Rommel said he knew that the duty of an envoy was to foster closer bilateral ties between two countries. “I have been doing that for the last four years, working closely with various federal and state bodies, NGOs and businesses,” he added. He said the EU and Malaysia currently had two agreements under way aimed at deepening ties – the Partnership and Cooperation Ag-reement (PCA) and the FTA – both of which were on the table ready for negotiations.

Rommel said the EU looked to Malaysia as a trading nation to show vision and ambition for the same strong and modern partnership with the bloc as other Asean countries had been showing.

“We have strong foundations (with Malaysia) that can underpin a vigorous action and result-oriented approach. The Malaysian side has to jump on the ball and act soon on the partnership (PCA), and prioritise on catching up with other Asean countries,” he added.

* * * * * * * * *
Tuesday June 26, 2007
The Star Newspaper
European envoy explains NEP remarks to foreign ministry official

PUTRAJAYA: Ambassador Thierry Rommel has met with Foreign Ministry deputy secretary-general I Datuk Othman Hashim over his criticisms of the New Economic Policy (NEP) yesterday.

The head of the European Commission delegation to Malaysia's meeting with Othman yesterday lasted less than an hour. Rommel later told the Associated Press that he informed Othman that he had not meant to interfere in internal politics when he made a speech last week.

“We had a useful exchange of views for about 45 minutes. I was satisfied with the approach adopted. I think it went very well, and I hope the misunderstanding about my intention has been resolved.” Rommel is alleged to have stated at a luncheon talk to ambassadors and foreign diplomats last Thursday that Malaysia should roll back its 37-year-old NEP.

Meanwhile, the Umno Youth's international relations and non-governmental organisation bureau said that Rommel must consider the sensitivity of the multiracial society in the country before commenting on the NEP.

“He should have facts and not issue statements blindly. We urge Wisma Putra to act appropriately against his statement,” said bureau chairman Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir in a statement yesterday.

Mukhriz said the NEP had been recognised by various international bodies including the United Nations Development Programme, International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as a policy that had brought about a positive impact in balancing the social fabric in Malaysia.

In another statement, Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said those who had protested against Rommel’s comments should substantiate it with valid data and statistics. He said that while Rommel’s statement did not follow proper diplomatic protocol, it was increasingly necessary for all Malaysians to carefully examine the criticism, besides professionally assessing the contents for its truth and relevant implications.

“The CPPS feels that it is imperative for Malaysia to constantly review its socio-economic policies to ensure they are effective in promoting real sustained socio-economic development for all Malaysians in the long run,” he said.

Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang called on the Government to get a full clarification from Rommel on his statements. “The most sensible and productive response is to ask for full clarification from Rommel and to have a full debate in Parliament,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What I have been up to...

In case you are all wondering what I have been up to... due to the minimal posting on this blog site, this is what I have been up to... in a nutshell (in this case, a photo mosaic!)


Eating, UB alums reunions (yes, it was more than once!), Penang Bridge Marathon 2007, trips to Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, friends visiting from Kenya, Hong Kong, Singapore, becoming a Penang tourguide (x3 for the time being), cousin's wedding, seeing all my cousins and relatives, hanging out with friends in Penang, shopping, plenty of eating, reading the newspaper daily (the real deal instead of online news feeds), researching online, writing my dissertation proposal, replying emails, facebook-ing, Penang wedding venue scouting, wedding photographers, more eating, and finally... the most important one of all... had the home PC reformatted and it is up and working fine as it should be!!
A big thank you to David for that!!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Penang Bridge Marathon 2007

Yesterday, I joined my parents in the Penang Bridge Marathon 2007. This is an annual international affair hosted by my home state of Penang as well as the only chance where civilians are able "walk" or "run" on the Penang bridge.

This year’s event earned an entry in the Malaysia Book of Records for being the largest bridge run with a total of 21,339 runners. This year’s event attracted non-Malaysians from more than 50 countries including Kenya, Iraq, Macao, the Netherlands, Canada, India, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Ireland and Venezuela.

There were several categories in the marathon = full marathon (42.195 km), half marathon (22.3 km) and the fun run (10 km). I am in no shape to run a marathon, full or half for that matter. However, I am proud to announce that I had successfully completed my very first Penang Bridge Marathon Fun run, all 10 kilometers with my parents and was also very glad to have met up with a fellow UB alum, Eujin Ang and his girlfriend, JC (it was their first bridge run as well).

The Cheah family at the Penang Bridge Fun Run 2007 finishing line.

Here I am with fellow UB alum, EuJin Ang and his girlfriend, JC. They both drove from Kuala Lumpur for the event.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Britain's Got Talent

If you have not already heard Paul Potts sing Nessun Dorma... watch this clip!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Back on the island...

I am officially back on the island... from my trip to Singapore, Bangkok, Penang, KL and back to Penang island. From Bangkok flu to allergies... I am just glad that I am staying put for now.

Emails were piling up... no more as of today! I tried blaming the slow internet connection, low RAM on the CPU, etc. In fact, I was just plain lazy upon my return to the island. Add heat, mugginess, PC troubles to the equation... I just could not gather enough patience and diligence to sit in front of the PC for any reason. Though the PC is rather slow than what I am used to (*pampered brat!) :P

I have got plenty of pictures to upload and share. Need a bit more time to get organized before I resume any full blogging activities. Here's a picture of me within Thailand's Grand Palace grounds with a smaller scale of the traditional Stupa Temples.