Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Last weekend Mimi dragged me to Tasik Titiwangsa to get a ride on "The Eye On Malaysia". Jalan Kuantan was already jammed so we took Jalan Temerloh instead. That meant a very long walk to the ferris wheel site.
You would be forgiven if you thought that the whole of Kuala Lumpur was in Taman Tasik Titiwangsa that night. Malaysians of various shapes and sizes lined the lake's edge and there were two very long lines at the Ticket Booth. TV Smith, whom I suspect frequented Taman Tasik Titiwangsa every night told me the next day that the queue was the longest that he has ever seen. As far as I can see, most of the visitors are local. There was an Iraqi family in front of us but they are not tourists. They live in KL. The Mat Salleh in TTT that night were the ones in the water, part of the Water Sky Show. I found that a bit odd. This is a Visit Malaysia Year and there are Mat Sallehs (of both sexes) performing. The Eye of Malaysia website
trumpeted that the performers are part of the team that did stunts for Tom Cruise in "Mission Impossible" and they have performed on 3 continents.
The Iraqi lady asked me if there was going to be a fireworks display that night. Being "blurry" myself, I just replied "InsyaAllah". We were lucky that there was a pyrotechnic show that night. I was a bit slow after standing for a very long time and missing my dinner that I missed a lot of shots. I got these though:
After standing for over 90 minutes we finally got to board one of the gondolas with 5 other people. Each gondola seats 8 normal-sized people. The view was nothing to rave about. You would get a much better view atop Menara KL. As a novelty, I supposed it was worth the long walk and the long wait.
Adults are charged RM15 per ride of about 15 minutes. People with less teeth like me pay only RM8. They did not even ask me to show my Mykad or my teeth.
Labels: Eye On Malaysia, fireworks, Kuala Lumpur
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Last Friday, after thanking God profusely for sparing me a tone-deaf bilal
for the Friday Prayers, I chanced upon this article
in the Star.
I am all for Malaysians to improve their English as well as other areas in dire need of immediate improvement like toilet-training and being less selfish. I am not sure about messing with the idioms though. Granted that there are Malaysians who use "Ali , Muthu and Ah Chong" instead of "Tom, Dick and Harry" but this is not going to help those Malaysians learning English unless they learn what "Tom, Dick and Harry" means in the first place. Before using "I need to spend a sen"( without adjusting to inflation) a Malaysian must first understand what is "spending a penny" and how the idiom came about.
Idioms are tied to the history, culture and religion of the original user of the language. Although Malaysians of all ages sometimes use English idioms without having an inkling of their origin, trying to Malaysianise them literally would not do justice to the idioms themselves. Take "doubting Thomas". Why Thomas? Why not Pitt or Jolene or Bush? This might be the reason:
This saying originated from the Bible. It is the story about when Jesus returns (after his crucifixion) and visits his disciples (Joh 20:19). All of the disciples are there except Thomas (Joh 20:24). When the others tell Thomas that they had seen Jesus he doesn't believe them and makes the comment, (Joh 20:25) "But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. Then Jesus makes a believer out of him when he returns eight days later and sees Thomas and says, (Joh 20:27) Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. (Joh 20:28) And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.1
Now, tell me what should the Malaysian version be? On the other end of the scale we do have the equivalent of "John Thomas" the euphemism for the male organ. It is Awang
for the Terengganu Malays although sometimes burung
is also used. I am digressing so let us take another common idiom "raining cats and dogs". You might know it means very heavy rain but you might not know its origin:
This phrase's origin is unknown. Possible explainations include: The archaic French catdoupe is a waterfall or cataract, lightning and thunder sounds like that of a cat/dog fight, cats had a big influence on the weather, and the sky dog Odin was attended to by wolves according to Norse Mythology.
Another theory is that in old England, they had hay roofs on their houses and the cats and dogs would sleep on the roof. When it rained, the roofs got slippery and the cats and dogs would slide off of the roofs. There for it was "Raining Cats and Dogs".
This from a website visitor:
"raining cats and dogs" came from the middle ages, when houses had thatched roofs. To keep warm lots of animals would hide in the roofs when it was raining and sometimes fell through the flimsy roofs on to the streets below.
This from another website visitor:
I do believe the idiom "Rain Cats and Dogs" stems from the Norse Mythology. Cats were believed to represent the wind and dogs represented rain. Different animals represented different weather and natural phenomenon
This from another website visitor:
For the Idiom "Rain Cats and Dogs" I have heard one other explanation. In old England when peoples cats and dogs died they would simply through them into the gutter or alley with the garbage. If a strong enough rain came through it would flood the gutters and alleys to the point where all the dead cats and dogs would begin to float down the streets. Therefore very harsh rains were associated with cats and dogs. 1.
Malaysians do not believe in Odin or other Scandinavian things except maybe Carslberg, Nokia, Volvo and Tandberg. So how do we Malaysianise "raining cats and dogs"? In Terengganu we say "ujang sapa tok celek mata" (It rains until you can't open your eyes).
We must remember that values and psyches differ from nation to nation. Even philosophies are different. The Malays will say "Hujan emas perak di negeri orang, hujan keris lembing di negeri sendiri baik juga di negeri sendiri" (Though it rains gold and silver in a foreign land and daggers and spears at home, it is better to be at home)2.
Although Westerners say "There's no place like home", they also say "The grass is greener on the other side".
Languages are dynamic and when speaking or writing we borrow from each other and from other people too. We talk of Mat Rempit, we talk of bohsia and we talk about missing soru (though not necessarily at the same time). We sing rap and then ask our listeners to give us a high five. We never thought of translating anything. We do not expect people in the English-speaking world to localise "amok" other than to misspell it as "amuck" or to change "rattan" to something else.
To be good in any language, one must learn from a good teacher, read widely and constantly and then use it extensively. Changing part of it arbitrarily will be what the Malay peribahasa (idiom) says: Tikus membaiki labu.(The rat trying to fix the gourd).
Like they say, opinions are like rectums. Everybody has one. Whats yours?
1. Go here.
2. Malay Proverbs - Richard Winstedt -Graham Brash, Singapore (Reprinted1986,1990).
Labels: English, idioms, Malaysian
SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW, SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMETHING BLUE
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
This morning found me a bit harried after receiving a phone call from my friend Chin. He was on his way to pick me up to attend a press conference in Angkasapuri. I am not a member of the Fourth Estate but my friends and I were invited as RTM Veterans and Radio RTM is launching new programmes. One of them is “Masih Kah Kau Ingat” featuring former Radio personalities like Zainaldin Zainal and Nooramin. The function was rescheduled an hour later although we were not informed about it. The veterans that came on time (Dato’ Aziz Singah, Osman Hafsham, Rokiah Hj. Ramlan, Helan Abu, Halijah Buang, Zainal Din, Nooramin, Chin and yours truly) were taken to a studio and told to record a brief message for the “50 Tahun Merdeka” campaign. My very brief message was for everyone to be less selfish and think of the people and the Nation.
I left the studio after recording my message and wanted to go out to the lobby but I could not open the door because I did not have the electronic security pass. Chin gave me a lift because he knew from past experiences that my face could get us past the security guards and the barrier at the gate. I do not know how much longer my face will be valid but I do know that my face is useless when faced with an electronic door. I had no choice but to put on a “muka kesian” and asked a young lady who was working in the conference room at the end of the corridor to use her pass and let me out.
While waiting for the function to function, er, start, another group of veterans arrived. They were friends who are now having fun playing music all over Malaysia as the “Z Band” ( Alan Zechariah, Kamal Deen, Vincent Seetho and Noornikman Dadameah). Anyone needing Oldies/Evergreens/Rock n Roll can contact Alan. At email@example.com .You will not be disappointed I assure you.
I, on the other hand, was disappointed at the poor turnout at the radio programmes launch. There were lots of empty seats in Auditorium P. Ramlee today. Where are the potential sponsors? Where are the people behind the programmes? There were not many from the Press either. Anyway, I am glad to note that there will be new programmes from all the stations that I headed before. Two new programmes from KLfm set me guessing though. They will be having “Panasssssss KLfm” which I was made to understand is a “gossip” show. RTM is giving credence to gossips? I could not get to talk to the Klfm Head Honcho because he was not present today but I hope that the programme is a positive one in whatever way it can be. The other offering by KLfm is the “Malindo” slot where more Indonesian songs will be played. This, as explained by the Deputy Director General of Broadcasting is partly to cater to the sizeable number of Indonesians listeners in Kuala Lumpur. I reserved my comments.
We were later entertained by the various broadcasters from all the stations in Wisma Radio (except the Overseas Service). Some of them can really sing. Some can dance and the guy from Traxx can really rap.
When I came home, I found the invitation card in my mail box. To be fair, it wasn’t RTM’s fault that it came after the function. The invitation was postmarked 19 Jan 2007.
Labels: friends, RTM, Z Band
Monday, January 22, 2007
I would like to share my experience with you. Whether you will learn anything from it, it is up to you.
I have two accounts with TMNET. One is a dialup account and the other is a Streamyx account. I also have a JARING account but that's another account and another story.
Like the other early birds who signed up for Streamyx, I was given firstname.lastname@example.org as my email address. Now they have xxx@streamyx. I am happy with my email address and I did nothing to change it.
I rarely use my dialup account. I cannot use it at home even if I wanted to since my system is wired for Streamyx. I maintain the account because of the email and for occasions when I am at places without broadband. My email program remembers my password so I do not have to.
Then a few days ago I received stuffs like this in my Inbox:
This is a warning message only.
Your message remains in the server queue,
the server will try to send it again.
You should not try to resend your message now.
Message delivery to 'email@example.com' delayed
SMTP module(domain tm.odessa.ua) reports:
connection with relay1.tm.odessa.ua is broken
Reporting-MTA: dns; mailfe09.swip.net
Received: from s83-189-185-61.cust.tele2.se ([126.96.36.199] verified)
by mailfe09.swip.net (CommuniGate Pro SMTP 5.0.12)
with SMTP id 217258265; Wed, 17 Jan 2007 19:07:39 +0100
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2007 12:07:40 -0600
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2800.1106
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2800.1106
How come emails meant for marzai.tm.net.my ended up in my Inbox? Ihave never corresponded with this marzai fellow and I do not use Outlook Express as my email client.
Is someone using my account? No worries. Just change the password. After all the old password was given to me by a TMNet Point personnel after I had difficulties getting my emails. So I trotted off or rather clicked off to Selfcare page of TMNet. I changed my password and one hour later logged in with the new password just to see if it worked. It did. But I could not get my mail. I have done the neccessary settings weeks before as advised by TM Net and I did it again yesterday. Still I could not get my email despite entering in my new password repeatedly. When I changed my password online, I chose to have the same password for all the services. I understand that this would include the email too. I tried using the old password for the email but it didn't work.
So I had no choice but to ask for help. So today I called the Customer Service line (1 300 88 1515). I had to listen to the "earthquake" announcement before being told that my call is important but there is no one to take it. This went on about 20 minutes before I was switched to the English version. When I got to speak to a live person on the other end, I was told (politely) that I should call the dialup service. I told him I did that. Anyway he could not find my account and promised to look wherever lost accounts are supposed to be. I gave him my number and waited but after a while I got cut off. I went through the whole process all over again and got a gentleman named Saiful to tell my troubles to. He suggested I tried the webmail. As luck would have it, I could not even access the webmail page. So Saiful changed my password. Surprisingly it was the same password that I got from TMNet Point.He also told me to change the password for every service that I subscribed to even though you have the option on the Selfcare page to use one password for all the services.
I guess this "standard" password is supposed to be temporary and it is up to the user to change it ASAP. The question is, it takes at least an hour for the new password to be effective. Why? Computers take that long to process new information?
Labels: Computers, email, security
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Today, after a pleasant 2 hours introducing the computer to an older pc-illiterate friend, I read that Rocky
and Jeff Ooi
are being sued for what they wrote on their blog.
I do not know Rocky personally and I have met Jeff only on 3 occasions. I read their respective blog regularly. I may not agree with them all the time but I admire their forthrightness. Even though I am not in the same league as them, as a blogger I regard them as fellow-bloggers.
As a blogger albeit a non-confrontational one, I am very concerned about the freedom to blog and the freedom of the Internet. As a citizen, I believe in the rule of law. I have not given up hope on Justice and Fair Play despite happenings which pointed otherwise.
I do not know much about law. I did learn a bit about Libel, Copyright etc. when I was learning Media Management in Australia. I wish I was a lawyer so that I can defend our fellow-bloggers and our right to Free Speech as law-abiding citizens. As it is now, I can only support fellow-bloggers in any way I can. You should too. Believe me, it will affect you.
Read about Libel here
Labels: Blogging, Jeff Ooi, Rocky
LEARNING TO LIVE WITH LOSSES
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Punters and share market players are duly warned that the following do not concern them unless they have lost loved ones before.
There is one scene in Yasmin Ahmad's "Gubra
" where Pak Atan's wife (Ida Nerina) told her husband that she will be very miserable when he dies. Pak Atan (Harith Iskandar) then told his wife that he hoped she will die first because he does not want her to suffer the misery of missing him.
We really do not know when or where we are going to die. There are exceptions of course. Saddam Hussien comes to mind. We know we will die eventually and the enlightened ones will prepare for the day (or night). What we are not prepared for is the sudden loss of a loved one. Even though we have heard of the Chinese saying that "the coffin does not discriminate the young and the old" we are still devastated when a loved one leave us. This is what happened to Ken Matthies.
I know Ken and his wife Marty, a couple from The Yukon, Canada, because they are regulars in my chat room "RoseGarden". About 4 odd years ago, the room was saddened by the news that Ken's daughter was killed in a helicopter crash. She was the pilot.
The tragedy hit Ken hard although we in the room had no inkling how hard it was. Ken sought help and Hospice Yukon brought him back to his feet. Out of his experience struggling with his loss and his grief, Ken wrote a book. You can get an excerpt of the book or you can order the whole book online.
Turn up your sound when you visit the page. Listen to Ken speaking. Ken writes from the heart and what he wrote will touch yours.
Labels: Coping with Tragedies, online books.
MONSOON MOAN #0107
Saturday, January 06, 2007
My latest trip to Terengganu gave me more grouches than the eunuchs at a sex orgy.
The weather was not good. It rained in KL when I was at the airport and it rained in Kuala Terengganu on Friday 5th as predicted by the weather people. The plane was late. It was late in KL on Thursday and it was late in Kuala Terengganu on Friday. Neither delay could be blamed on the rain.
The rain stopped long enough on Friday morning for Ramli and I to try a new nasi dagang
place in the food court at Pantai Batu Burok. My spirit lifted a bit when I saw the size of the crowd at the stall. Service was prompt. Unlike Chendering, the banana leaf was dispensed with. Convenience overrode tradition. The rice looked right. There was a solitary halba
(fenugreek seed) visible in the rice. Halba
should be in the rice of an authentic nasi dagang
. There should also be fine slices of shallots and ginger. There were none in this particular rice. Otherwise, the rice passed my muster. The kuoh
(gravy) was another matter though. The ikan aya
(tuna) was generously ample and there were whole chilis that would be squashed into the rice by real nasi dagang
lovers. But the chilis were of the wrong kind. They were chili padi
or chili api
which are more at home in Negeri Sembilan than Terengganu. This is a sin easily forgiven. What I could not accept or forgive was the taste of the curry. It was sickeningly sweet. It was sweeter than my nescafe tarik
. Never in my life have I eaten pengat ikan aya
with nasi dagang
. What a sacrilege. Daud, who suggested the place was spared bodily harm by the presence of his new wife. Maybe the crowd came for the nasi lemak
or the other offerings on the menu.
The nasi dagang
at the end of the road from Primula Resort did not upset me as much. Another thing did. Ramli pointed out the road sign in front of the shop:
Only a a non-Trengganu native would call our famous market "Pasar Payang". Natives would use Pasar Kedai Payang. I could not blame Majlis Perbandaran Kuala Terengganu for this abomination. If you see the official signboard at the famous market, the council got it right. Sadly, they do not seem to have any say over the wordings of the road signs.
Labels: nasi dagang, road signs, Terengganu