Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Watching the news tonight, I caught the item on the Police cracking down on schoolboys riding motorbikes without a driving license. Some of the bikes themselves were not licensed (no road tax and insurance). The parents were shown on TV as very upset people. I suppose when your kids break the law you are allowed to be upset. But I am upset because these parents were miffed that the Police took action. Are we not supposed to be law-abiding citizens and teach our off springs to keep on the right side of the law? Somebody please tell me what is going on?

The same newscast had our Hon. Minister of Health and the Minister Of Entrepreneur and Co-Operative Development talking about fast food. Not at the same time though. Fast food (and the ads) was the news recently. Even the news of the obese boy in UK was related to fast food. He was nearly taken away by the state from his mother.

There are many reasons why fast food is popular. It is consistent. The chicken from KFC Sitiawan tastes the same as the chicken in the SS2 KFC. It is available most everywhere. You cannot say the same thing about Nasi Dagang Cenering or whatever version of mee rebus you swear by. Then there is the snob factor. There is a difference between having a birthday party at A&W/Macdonald etc and at a mamak joint. Why? The neighbourhoodd mamak sells only food and drink. The fast food joint, as screamed or whispered by their ads sell more. Some sell fun, some sell a life-style. Who can beat that?

You can get fat even if you avoid fast food. You just need to learn about balanced diets and healthy life-styles. There are no fast food outlets in Merang or Rhu Renggeh but this does not mean that there are no obese people there. We just need to be discretionary and also not to be swayed by the ads.

Click here to see the original fast food.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Like Chelsea’s Captain, John Terry I was knocked unconscious for a bit. It was not anybody's boot though but by a stressful long drive, slow constipated connection, odd bedtimes (live football matches on TV) and the frustration from searching for English subtitles for Letters From Iwo Jima, the film directed by Clint Eastwood. The film won just one Oscar though.

Clint Eastwood,76 is older than me or any other blogger that I know. Mr. Eastwood ("Go ahead, make my day.") kept pushing himself and raising the bar higher and higher. In spite of his successes, he is not about to retire or stop doing things he loves to do. Does he love sex? I do not know. I would be too shy to ask Mr. Eastwood's partner, Sandra Locke and I am too scared to ask Dirty Harry himself. Whatever it is, I wonder what he would think of this item on page W35 in today's STAR. I could not find the item online, sorry.
How many of you agree with Mr. Chuan Chi?

Some might attribute his limp theory to senility. At 107, Mr. Chi might not remember what sex is. He gave up sex when he was 30 and now he is trying to give up cigarettes. Don't they smoke after sex in Hong Kong even if they did it slowly?

Clark Gable of Pulau Duyong, another Terengganu-born blogger is a senior citizen but he still writes letters to the sexy Pam Anderson. I know he will call Mr. Chi nyanyok. Senior citizens are old but they are not dead as the following story will tell you.

There was this counseling session for old people and the counselor asked everyone present how many times they have sex. Some answered once a month, some proudly replied once in a week and a few confessed to having it once in a blue moon. One old man jumped up to tell the group that he has sex only once a year. The counselor then asked why he was so excited then.

His reply was "Tonight is the night!"

Now, without sex or nothing else to look forward to, what is the reason to live for 107 years?


Friday, February 16, 2007

It is the season to joli again. From the jams at the various malls in KL this week, Malaysians are all out to be jolly and they were not shy to spend. After all, you get more joy shopping than watching your money grow lethargically at the rate the banks are offering now.

I get the most Vitamin C during the Chinese New Year season. Those free
kams (oranges) are always irresistible during cigarette -breaks. I also like the kuih bakul although I prefer to take them after Chap Goh Meh when they are suitably dried then sliced and dipped in egg and then fried. My mother's fried kuih bakul were the best. Crisp on the outside and tender inside. How did she get the kuih bakul? We had a number of Chinese neighbours. Even in Merang.

To all the readers of this blog, if you are celebrating the Lunar New Year, Prosperity to you. If you have a noisy mother in-law, resist the urge to serve her
kuih bakul (the sticky kind) everyday. If you drive, drive carefully. The person you hit might be a blogger.

(Painting taken from here)

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007
I am in a state of ambivalence which is somewhat better than being in a state of ambiguity.
I am deciding whether to write about Valentine's Day which is tomorrow or about the government's delivery system which (once again) came into the news today.
Yesterday I read about two teachers in Taiwan getting a divorce because the bride did not deliver. Apparently, the bride became a divorcee and yet remain a virgin. There is this rumour floating around that lady teachers make good brides because teachers being teachers, if you do not do it right the first time, she will ask you to do it again. And again. In the case of the male Taiwan teacher, he did not even get to do it the first time, Valentine's Day or not. The bride was too shy to deliver.

Too shy is not what you would call the government machinery. You would use other expressive terms but never shy. After 50 years of "Merdeka" (Independence) only a few government departments made the effort to make a satisfactory delivery. The Immigration Department now can give you your passport in an hour if your papers are in order. You can renew your driving licence in less than 30 minutes at selected Post Offices once you get to the counter. I cannot say the same thing about other departments.

There was this old red Proton Saga Aeroback blocking my neighbour's parking lot. The neighbour complained and after a few weeks I complained too. The parked car acted like some sort of a decoy for other cars to park behind or in front of it and blocked other parking lots. Suspecting that it was a stolen car, I got two friendly policemen to run a check on the car. It was not on the stolen list.The policemen thought that it might be a car hiding from the finance company and they promised to tip off their repossesor friends. The local office of DBKL who manages the so-called condominium that I am living in told me that the proper people have been informed but no action has been taken. Soon it will be a month that my neighbour is deprived of her paid parking lot. She will not send any Valentine cards to DBKL and I am sure the owner of the offending car will not be driving his date to any Valentine's Dinner in that Proton Saga.

Delivery System? Maybe only the Tok Bidan (midwives) deliver.

Today, 14/2/2007 at around 5.15 pm I went to my balcony and managed to catch a glimpse of the Saga being driven away. Driven not towed.
Wonder if the owner reads my blog? Naah.


Thursday, February 08, 2007
It was with a sense of deja vu that I read the discussion on ads using Pan Asian faces yesterday.

Many Ministers of Information ago, the same directive was issued. Malaysians memang mudah lupa (Malaysians forget easily). We were in a throes of nation-building then.(We still are, but there are delays and missed datelines and cost overruns etc. You know what I mean). Being a rojak nation, in a way, we really do not have a face that is instantly recognizable as Malaysian. Other countries, e.g. Japan or Papua New Guinea would have less of a problem. So, ads had to be made in 3 versions. One for Chinese audience, another for the Malay audience and for certain products, yet another one for the Malaysian Indian audience. During leaner times, there were ads that have the same visuals but different voice-overs. Thus we had Siti Nurhaliza (before she became a Dato') speaking Chinese in an ad.

When the same agency (or the group) handles the same account for a product that is sold throughout Asia, it is natural for the agency to cut costs and produce an ad that can be used with equal effectiveness in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Phillipines and Thailand. So they use a face that can be easily perceived as their own by the audience in the intended market.

As an illustration, look at these two "ads". Don't you think they can be used in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Phillipines and Thailand after changing the crappy copy (the text) and the shirt?

The models are Malaysians.As Malaysian as my own daughters and grandchildren. As Malaysian as Deanna Yussof, Ms Daly, Maya Karin etc. (they are not my daughters or grandchildren though)
I do agree though that ads should be made in Malaysia. Much as I like Brad Pitt, Brittney Spears or recently the EPL stars, I would want Malaysians working in the advertising industry to keep on working, with or without Pan-Asian looking personalities.

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Monday, February 05, 2007
Judging by what has been going on lately, Malaysia is still a long way from becoming "Cemerlang, Gemilang & Terbilang".

We have highway structures cracking, recruit center shoddily built and delayed, high-profile cases thrown out and other examples of incompetence if not gross negligence. Even if excellence is out of our reach right now, could we instead settle for mediocrity? Mediocre is better than incompetent. We do not lose money. Ask any nasi lemak seller. They churn out mediocre nasi lemak every day and it get bought. There is no accounting for taste.

There is accounting for government projects though. That is why we have the Accountant-General and we have the Public Accounts Committee. From my experience at the ICU, Prime Minister's Department, there are criteria for contractors as there are standards and specifications for components in a project. Even for managing the project, there are written guidelines to follow. That is what ISO is all about so that even the mediocre can do the job albeit not as well as it should be.

In Terengganu, Mok Long Selamoh (May Her and Her Kain Lepah Barat Rest In Peace) called incompetent people "Dok Ngoppong". In modern English, you might have phrases like "Could not deliver"," could not cut it" or whatever you might substitute "Not competent" with. In Terengganu you have to be "ngoppong" to survive. If you are a fisherman, you have to be competent in getting your boat out to sea in the dark and you have to be a competent fisherman to catch enough fish to feed your family. If you are a "dok ngoppong" fisherman, not only will you catch no fish but you might not find your way home and you will land in some strange island, hungry and lost. But the thing is, no "dok ngoppong" fishermen ever go out to sea. If they do not know how to be fishermen, they won't go out to sea. They cannot "lebbong"( bluff or deceive)
the fish or the sea. Yet, we read about "dok ngoppong" contractors getting projects. Did they "lebbong" their way or are they in cahoot with interested parties to "lebbong" us, the tax-payers?

Minimum standards must be adhered to or we will be in great trouble. Imagine if there are no standards for pilots. Would you fly? Alhamdullillah, at least as it is, the "dok ngoppong" pilots cannot get to fly any plane without first getting certified. Don't we have the same for contractors?

Talking about standards, I am disgusted enough to tell you an equally disgusting old story about "piawaian"(standards). Children and old people who have heard the story before, go away.

Once upon a time there was a drop-dead-gorgeous lady who was yet to be married. Many asked her for her hand, many were disappointed. So she remained drop-dead-gorgeous and single.
One day a young man got to know her and subsequently asked her to be his wife. She told him she has high standards. He replied he is willing and able to meet them. So he told him to get her a hilltop bungalow in Bukit Tunku. After a few days he presented her the deed to the house. Then she told him to deposit a million ringgit in her account. The next day, he gave her the deposit slip. Then she whispered to him that he must have at least 6 inches. The boy turned pale. He gathered himself and being very much in love told the girl, tremblingly that he was prepared to surgically remove the excess 4 inches.

Drat, even as a story-teller I am "dok ngoppong".

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