Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Monday, June 30, 2008
Signs of hard times are beginning to appear. Today, the STAR ran an article on people having 2 or 3 jobs because it is necessary. I am beginning to worry because I do not even have a job. Just a few hours ago, Mimi's friend, Fran, went to Mid Valley to get some chilli and promptly got her wallet snatched by a motorcyclist. Fran lost RM1100.00 and all her important cards. In return she got a badly bruised knee and some consolation that it wasn't just her unlucky day. The policeman who took her report told her that there were already 7 similar cases reported in that particular police station. Wonder how many more similar cases were reported at thousand other stations in the country.
Just in case you think that snatch-thieves-on wheels target defenceless-looking ladies, let me tell you that Fran dresses like a boy and cut her hair shorter than mine. If you see Fran, you would not want to mess with her. If you know Fran like we do, you would learn that Fran is tough but unfailingly polite - a trait which we hope would rub off on her friend, Mimi. The thief was lucky that Fran was ambushed. She gave chase but his machine was faster.

<- Fran.

I guess everything is centered on money nowadays. Even the government promised a million ringgit to any of our athletes getting a gold at the forthcoming Olympics. I guessed the government forgot that those getting gold can a get a million-ringgit contract endorsing Sodomee or such stuffs. When the Olympics first started in Greece, the winner just got an olive-leaf laurel and probably bragging rights (in Greek, of course). That's enough honour for the athlete. Now athletes in our country get all sorts of material rewards - cars, land, cash and what-have-you.

I just hope that all the carrots dangled will spur our athletes higher, faster or stronger. Then every fit person in the country will be training to be world-class athletes and none will be higher, faster or stronger just to commit felonies like robbing Mimi's friend Fran.

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Monday, June 23, 2008
I am sure I am not the only one following the Euro2008. The matches are watched all over the world, some by bleary-eyed fans. I stayed up during the early rounds but settled for the repeat telecast of the quarterfinals.

I was impressed by the never-say-die attitude of the Turks. They scored late goals to win. Terengganu folks would call these goals "buah garrek" (buah maghrib). I guessed when football matches were played in old Terengganu, the matches started at around 5 in the evening and ended very near maghrib time. Hence "buah ggarek". With a proper stadium and floodlights, there are no more "buah garrek" - only surprising late goals.

In a few hours, Spain will play Italy in the last of the quarter-finals. I shall watch that tomorrow. I hope nobody will tell me the results until then.

To me, France was a disappointment. I guessed Thierry Henry could not carry the whole team. Holland was a joy to watch until they met Russia in the quarter-finals. So much for Total Football. I guessed Holland brought too many vans while other people took buses. They brought van Basten, van der Sar, van Nistelrooy, van Persie etc.

Who will be champion? Your guess is as good as mine. Like the fans around Padang Paya Bunga would say at the beginning of each match "Bola tu bulat".

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Monday, June 16, 2008
In September 2004, I wrote about the "Doctor Fish" in my Turkish friend Sevil's hometown. You can read it here.

Now, the "Doctor Fish" can be found in our soil. So you do not need to go to Turkey to experience the treatment. Just go to any of the KL's bigger malls, look for "Fish Therapy" and take the plunge. The difference is, in the original Kangal hot springs, you can immerse your whole body into the water to be nibbled by the fish whereas in the malls here, you can only dip your feet in the heated trough.

My youngest daughterMimi discovered it a few weeks ago and tried it with her friends as a birthday treat for one of their classmate. Yesterday, as part of Father's Day goodies, she sponsored the trip to get my feet wet. You did feel a bit of trepidation when the small fishes rushed to your feet. I was assured that the fishes are toothless and harmless. Since I am also toothless and harmless I decided to enjoy myself. At first it tickled a lot but you soon get used to the nibbling small fishes and very soon you will enjoy the tingle. Your skin is repaired by the Dithranol, an enzyme secreted by the Garra Rufa fishes. After 30 minutes you can feel and see the difference.

It seems that these fishes made a big hit in Japan and they are an attraction at the Underwater World in Singapore.

The shop that I went to in One Utama had a shark in one of the tanks. Do not put your feet inside that one.

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Monday, June 09, 2008
There are people who collects and there are people who throws things out. Some smart people brings unwanted stuffs to Cash Converter or Buy and Sell and make some money. Some of these stuffs are then bought by the people who collects. One man's junk is another man's collectible. That's recycling isn't it?

Unfortunately, when it comes to PC, you either delete data or get more storage. I do not have the heart to delete stuffs like the rare music by Ustad Fatih Ali Khan, Lakshmi Shankar or Sam Simon. I will not delete the wonderful gambus music by Anouar Berahim ( no, this guy does not want to be a Prime Minister). Neither do I want to give up a film by Satyajit Ray or Kurosawa unless I can remember which computer-illiterate friends borrowed the originals. Of course I would not delete all the pictures I have taken, however bad they are.

As you might have noticed, files for PC are getting bigger and bigger. When I got my first "computer" (the Sinclair Zx), programs were saved into short (5 or 10 minutes) cassette tapes.The Commodore VIC 20 also uses cassette tapes. There were dedicated cartridges too. Later the C64 came along. It used both tapes and the 5 1/4 inch floppy disks.The last of the Commodore, the Amiga used the 3.5 floppy disk - even for the boot disk. The 3.5 floppy disk is slowly dying out. Some new PCs don't have them even though you need a 3.5 floppy to make a Rescue Disk.

Now you have hard disks, flash disks as well as optical storage media (e.g. DVD and CD). Soon, if a certain Korean manufacturer predicted, all PCs will do away with hard disks. Instead, we will use large capacity flash disks which will have no moving parts. In the mean time, if you are a collector like me you have a tough decision to make: delete some files or get bigger harddisks. Despite having 3 internal hard disks and 2 USB hard disks. The last check showed that I have 866.33 GB on my computer ( minus the space used for the hard disk system) and I have used 77% of my available disk space. The bulk of the space is taken up by multimedia files - photos, videos and music. Of course I can transfer some of the stuff to CDs and DVDs but files on hard disks are easier to find and to organise. Even with a software like Disk Catalog, it takes time to hunt for a specific file on a CD/DVD. Even with files that you think you do not need, it is better to keep them, somewhere. I deleted a long list of fonts only to have an Art Director insisting that I use a particular font. Of course he wanted the font that I have long deleted. So I have to download another batch of fonts. Thats more storage space.

To compound my problem, my expensive genuine Nero, inexplicably could not copy DVDs that I made. It can make DVDs out of a disk image though.

When Windows first came out, Bill Gates emphatically announced that a small hard disk is enough. Now even 20 GB is barely enough for the boot disk of WinXP unless you know how to place some application data folders somewhere else. Even though hard disks are getting cheaper, the 1 Terrabyte hard disk is still too rich for me. The Western Digital My Book is going for 1 K although you could get one on lelong.com for about RM800. It could solve some storage problems for a while if it were not so expensive.

Talking about expensive, my friend Razak just SMsed me:
"Last night my wife asked me to take her somewhere expensive. I took her to a petrol station"

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The first thing I thought of when the ban of the petrol sale to foreigners came into effect was how do they enforce the rule? Do they just look at the vehicle’s number plate or do they ask for identification such as Mykad or passport? Do they have to recruit more Enforcement officials for deployment at the borders petrol stations?

I see money to be made by people renting out Malaysian number plates and people willing to siphon out petrol from their car.

People in Johor will not have to chance to do the above. The ruling was somehow deferred not long after the announcement. That’s in keeping with the flip-flop.

As far as Singaporeans are concerned, there is a simple solution to recoup our fuel subsidy. Just impose a levy on every Singapore-registered vehicle coming into Malaysia. The quantum should be the cost to subsidise 25% of the petrol that the Singapore government allows to be filled in Malaysia. Add whatever extra necessary in the event that their destination is further than JB. I am sure our government can think of something fair and practical (and cheat-proof). After all they have many intelligent people at their disposal. Our government should furnish a list of all car models with their corresponding fuel tank capacity to determine the levy for each model. Remember that Malaysian cars pay a levy/toll for entry into Singapore.

Pak Daud (who watched the Monsoon Cup from his front yard) asked me a question that I could not answer to his satisfaction. Pak Daud argued that Malaysia produces and exports oil. He understood that our oil is of a higher quality and agreed that we should not use that oil ourselves. As Tan Sri Tengku Razaliegh once said “Our oil is champagne. We export champagne and drink water” (or something to that effect). So we export our oil and import the lower grade oil that we use. So if we use the export earnings to cover the imports, why should we raise the price of petrol? Can someone please answer Pak Daud?

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