Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Tuesday morning found me gnashing my teeth. Ok, my gums then since I do not have that many teeth left. I could not connect to the Internet. I called the Customer Care people just to make sure that my account is in order and no "upgrading" is going on. My suspicion fell on my router and I nearly bought another router. I decided to wait.

While waiting I listened to some old rock songs. A few were from The Rolling Stones. I did not think of thick lips and randy old men but I thought of proverbs. Rolling stones gather no moss came to mind. Mick Jagger gathering up Kate Moss followed briefly. As we have learned, the proverb means that wandering souls (the rolling stones) will not acquire any wealth (the moss, I presume). Now, is moss such a valuable thing to the English? Wealth-wise, their proverbs made sense so far. Consider "Penny wise, pound foolish" or "Do not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs". Those are good advice for materially inclined people. But moss? The only moss that I know that brought in money was Stirling Moss. Kate Moss did not do badly either. I guess I have to wait for some scholars to share with us their research on this moss thing.

While waiting for that to happen, I peeked at some proverbs from various countries. It was an interesting peek. I shall share some with you:
One's own simple bread is much better than someone else's pilaf. (Azerbaijan)
Words are like spears: Once they leave your lips they can never come back.(Benin)
By trying often, the monkey learns to jump from the tree.(Cameroon)
A single bag of money is stronger than two bags of truth.(Denmark)
The barking of a dog does not disturb the man on a camel.(Egypt)
With enough "ifs" we could put Paris into a bottle.(France)
Flatterers, like cats, lick and then scratch.(Germany)
A prudent man does not make the goat his gardener.(Hungary)
The cobra will bite you whether you call it cobra or Mr. Cobra.(India)
You can't see the whole sky through a bamboo tube.(Japan)
All cassavahs have the same skins but not all taste the same.(Kenya)
His brain hangs at the top of his fez.(Lebanon)
It's not enough to know how to ride -- you must also know how to fall.(Mexico)

If you are curious to read more, go here.


Thursday, May 25, 2006
Today I found out that I am among the 7.8% of Malaysians who will fork out up to RM24.80 extra every month for electricity. It was only yesterday I gasped in disbelief that my jalopy can take in over RM65 of petrol. The car went nearly empty which was very rare.
Now I am mulling ways and means of keeping the electric bill in rein. I cannot do without lights. I might bump into hard things and injure myself. Medical bills are expensive too. I cannot do without the airconditioner because it is too hot to sleep otherwise. I cannot keep the windows open anyway because the construction near the Telekom Tower is too noisy. I cannot handwash my clothes so I cannot do without the washing machine. In my house, even t-shirts and underwears (Ihsan, my cucu, call them spender) are ironed so the electric iron is indispensible. Charcoal-fired irons are hard to come by nowadays. They were all hunted down by ekor kakis.
If I do not have rheumatism and other joint problems, I can do without the water heater in the bathroom. I should have opted for the solar heater but sadly, I do not have a roof to put it on. I am in a condo. I can watch less TV but I have a teenager in the house. Teenagers and TVs are inseparable like P.Ramlee's irama dan lagu.
So now it is between the microwave, the water cooler/heater and my computer.
I will blog less I guess.


Monday, May 22, 2006
Above is a map from the official Egyptian Tourism webpage.
Note the spelling of the resort where the recently concluded World Economic Forum was held. Just a day before the forum started, Buletin Utama's graphic spelled it as Sham El Sheikh. On Saturday, RTM, in their live broadcast of the conversation between our PM and TPM also spelled the place as Sham El Sheikh. Both made good editing/proofreading a sham.

This is not a question of being picky or splitting hairs. This is a question of giving your public the correct stuff. News organisations are supposed to be strict about truth. This should include spelling names correctly. Producers should be aware and correct spelling mistakes as soon as possible. It is easier now with computers. In my time, titles were hotstamped and not easily corrected.
Sunday's Buletin Utama spelled Sharm El Sheikh correctly. I do not know about RTM. Tell me if you noticed.
Anyway, I hope such typos won't happen again. To help the guilty parties, I give you some famous typos:
"This contract shall be effective as of the singing of this agreement."
From a customer's rental agreement; he was not a vocalist.

"He used his wench to pull his truck out of the ditch."
That's not the purpose of women.

"I know judo, karate, jujitsu and other forms of marital arts."
Next time, try love, understanding and communication.

"We proudly feature some-day shipping."
I may need it sooner than that

"Our massage treatments help relive your pain."
From a brochure

"The penis mightier than the sword."
For lack of a space


Thursday, May 18, 2006
Looks like it is the Spaniard's time to win. Alonso in the F1, Nadal on clay and this morning, Barcelona broke the heart of Gunners fans worldwide.

I set my alarm to wake up at 2.30 am but was too excited to get a real sleep. Arsenal looked doomed after Lehman was sent off. Despite playing with 10 men, Arsenal drew the first blood at 37th minute when Sol Campbell headed in a beautiful goal. Arsenal then tried to hold on to their slim lead for nearly 50 minutes until Eto'o flicked in the equalizer past Alumina, the sub keeper. Many, including Wenger thought this goal should not be allowed but then the Norwegian referee made a lot of "horrendous" decisions in the match . A few minutes later, Barca's supersub Juliano Belleti slotted in the winning goal. People in Terengganu would call this goal buoh ggarek because it was in the dying minutes of the match.

I share the sorrow with all the Arsenal fans. Hope the team will do better next year.


Monday, May 15, 2006
Lately we have been exhorted to acquire First Class Mentality for the sake of our country's development.

Like a good citizen, I spent a lot of time putting on my thinking kopiah pondering on how I can have a First Class Mentality. I know that Malaysians have been accused of having First Class Infrastructure and 3rd Class mentality. 2nd class was not mentioned. I guessed this is reserved for rich people clutching their investment portfolios complaining of inequalities while dining on Chateaubriand at posh hotels. Thus making a quantum leap from 3rd to 1st is quite a daunting task for Malaysians. The task is more difficult for Malaysians who hardly think. Thinking of going after something that is very fuzzy should be doubly difficult. I mean, do you honestly know what First Class Mentality is? Thinking like citizens of developed nations might not be the answer. After all, they thought wiping out a nation is right. Is that the right thought? Think again. Some Malaysian corporations thought hiring people from developed countries might do wonders for their companies. We know how wrong they were, don't we?

Probably we might be a bit clearer on what we have to do if we take the following quiz:

1.You are in a buffet (free or otherwise), do you

A.Pile your plate with as much food as you can carry regardless of whether you can finish them off
B. Pile your plate with only the expensive stuffs
C. Take only what you can consume
D. Take a doggie bag and bring home as much food as you can

2. You are driving your car during the rush hour and you are at the tail end of a long queue, do you

A. Stay in the queue

B. Move ahead, find a spot, give your signal and cut in

C. Cut in without giving your signal

D. Find a legal parking space and take the LRT

3. When manning a service counter, your mission is
A. To be as intimidating and unpleasant as possible

B. To frustrate customers until nearly your lunch time

C. To confuse as many people as possible

D. To serve everyone to the extent of going the extra mile

4. As far as your job is concerned
A. You are passionate about it

B. You do the minimum so that you don't get sacked

C. It is something you do to avoid staying home

D. It is something you do to get blind salary

5. Pursuit of knowledge is

A. A waste of time and money
B. A lifelong endeavour

C. Not as much fun as other pursuits

D. I do not know the meaning of pursuit

6. Books to you are

A. Sources of entertainment and enlightenment
B. Very expensive

C. Things I borrow and never returned
D. I will wait for the movie to come out

7. If you were a public official caught lying

A.You save yourself by lying further
B. You humbly apologize and face the music

C. You humbly apologize and resign honourably

D. You mumble jampis and wait to be sacked

8. On the LRT
A. You give up your seat to a senior citizen

B. You give up your seat only when the senior citizen hits you with his tongkat

C. You give up your seat only to pregnant ladies

D. You give up your seats only to ladies you made pregnant

9. If you want to show off your brand new expensive phone in cineplexes you

A. Get friends to call you every 10 minutes during the show

B. Call yourself every 10 minutes in between shows

C. Send videos of yourself via Bluetooth to everyone within range

D. Pay for slides announcing your acquisition of the said new phone

10. When your son/niece/friend/anyone asks you about, say, "nanotechnology" and you do not know the answer, you

A. Look it up
B. Look blurred
C. Look pained and insulted

D. Look at the fellow and ask for a simpler question

(Now add your own)


Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Sunday the 7th was an eventful day for me.
At 8 am I attended the Gotong Royong at Vista Angkasa and after that I went to the Scoot Fest 2006 organised by my current Special Events & Risk Management class at Malaysia Institute of Integrative Media, Wangsa Maju.
Somehow, the students did better than DBKL in organizing events. The DBKL's event had more DBKL people than the intended participants. Even though the committee members of the Vista Angkasa Residents Association showed up in full force, the residents themselves didn't even bother to show their face. This is an event held at their doorstep and for their own safety and well-being and they did not show up despite numerous invitations. We wanted to wake them up using the PA system but the PA system was installed late and they used an amp meant for a classroom. By the time a more powerful system was set up, it was already time for speeches.
I would like to thank the commmitee of the Resident Association and the young men from the surau for not letting Vista Angkasa down. The rest of you, shame, shame!
There are only 9 students in my current Special Events & Risk Management class. To their credit, they managed to organise a succesful event. They roped in 30 juniors to help them. They also spent their own money and wheedled some donations from relatives before they got some sponsors. They started with 0 ringgit and ended up with RM340 profit and valuable experience.
One of them was impressive enough to make an Event Management company hire him for an upcoming event in Bukit Jalil. He was offered RM1,000.
I will let pictures speak the thousand words. Go here if you want a visual story of the ScootFest. Be warned that the server might be very constipated especially if you choose the slideshow mode.


Monday, May 08, 2006
Once upon a time in a jungle far, far away there was a big and high anthill. The anthill was called the Male Anthill long before political correctness came into being. Although it was called Busut Jantan, it was not an exclusive place for the male species. Selected creatures of either sex periodically gathered on the anthill to debate the affairs of the jungle. Sometimes, they made laws to be obeyed or broken by creatures of the jungle. Sometimes they made unwritten laws that were sometimes broken by some creatures regardless whether they can write or read. One of the unwritten laws was never to agree with THEM.

I forgot to tell you that the anthill had two distinct groups: US and THEM. Creatures of the jungle selected more of US than THEM for a multitude of reasons. When you grow up, you might understand. Anyway, THEM creatures, making up for the lack of numbers were very articulate and vociferous. Sometimes they make sense.

One day one of THEM made a sensible proposal. A sensible proposal is like your mother telling you to eat the apple together with the skin. A senseless proposal is like your friend asking you to do the same with a durian. You do not like durian? That is besides the point. Anyway, back to the story. One of US thought the proposal was timely and worthy of support. He stood on the anthill and said so. After all, all the creatures know that even if a thief said stealing is wrong, the thief is telling the truth. The one of US thought that most of US on the anthill would support the proposal. He was wrong. He came down off the anthill muttering something about principles. When the news came down the jungle grapevine and via official drums, the whole jungle was disappointed. Something could change but didn't. No, I am not talking about the leopard but the whole jungle. In other jungles, like the Concrete Jungle down in the Bushes the creatures cried "My jungle, right or wrong" and they are sometimes wrong. Over in this jungle, on the anthill, it is my party, right or wrong".
Someday, some strong creature should tell the bunch on the anthill that it does not matter who is wrong and who is right. Give a thought to what is right or else go eat the durian together with the skin.
Now wash your feet and go to bed.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006
My first set of wheels was a 2nd hand Lambretta. My father bought it for me. The idea was to use it as a means of transport between the house and Kuala Brang where I was to start my teaching career. It didnt work out well. The first day of travelling, it broke down on my way back home and it was the fasting month. My father made arrangements for me to stay in his friend's house in Kuala Brang town.
A year or so later, the Lambretta was traded in for an Austin 1100 which didn't take kindly to me either. There was one day that I had to replace her alternator TWICE.

I thought of my scooter because my Special Events class is having a Scooter Fest this weekend. If you can read the poster below, you will find that the students have lined up plenty of activities for you. Admission is free and everyone is welcomed.

Before I go to the Scooter Fest, I have to attend a Gotong Royong organised by DBKL right in front of my block. This gotong royong is to get rid of aedes mosquitoes in the area. Since there are no rubbish or overgrown lalang in Vista Angkasa, there will not be much cleaning to do. The mosquitos are largely in the apartments themselves. If you are living in Vista Angkasa, do destroy all the aedes larvae before DBKL make a house to house check and fine the aedes breeders. At the various meetings we had with DBKL, we were told that getting rid of the water is not enough. If the eggs were in your pail and you have drained the water, the eggs will still survive. Once water is available, the eggs can still hatch.

Vista Angkasa had 40 cases of dengue fever so far. Thats frightening. So if you are living in Vista Angkasa or have friends living there, please come down for the gotong royong at 8.30 am Sunday 7th of May and learn more about protecting yourself from the dreaded dengue.