Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Wednesday, April 30, 2008
This is only of interest to the Kustamangs abroad.
Elisa broke the news on her blog yesterday. Here are the pictures. (Click on the image to see it bigger)

This is Sharifah Nabiha, barely a few hours old, trying to sleep.

Her brothers were too noisy. They were excited.

Arif then climbed into the bed and tried to wake his sister up to show her his new car. No go.

Akif wanted to get into the act.

Akif is walking now. He makes noises too. He has more teeth than his Ki but less hair still.

Arif was exactly 4 years old when his sister was born (or taken out). He still doesn't want to be a doctor.

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Monday, April 28, 2008
In the Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations, there is this quote by Franklin P. Adams:

Elections are won by men and women chiefly because most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody.

You can argue as much as you like about that but today, Parliament will see more "Opposition" MPs than ever before. Debates could very well be more lively. It is fortunate that we have a new Speaker, who, we hope will live up to his name to keep everybody under control. In addition to the Standing Orders, maybe we should introduce a "Demerit System" to keep the MPs in line. We have KEJARA (Kesalahan Jalan Raya) for errant road users. KEPAL (Kesalahan Ahli Parlimen) will do nicely with a difference. KEJARA points are never published. KEPAL points will. Of course, you can read the list in the blogs first.

Here some preliminary suggestions for infractions and suggested demerits. You, as the voters, can add or modify the list as ncessary.

1. Not knowing what is debated.................................................................1 point
2. Not knowing what is debated but spoke on it anyway.......................5 points
3. Banging on the table to make a point....................................................1 point
4. Banging fellow MP....................................................................................5 points
5. Wearing a tie that does not match the socks (if male).........................1 point
6. Wearing ties with naked picture of Rose Chan.....................................5 points
7. Falling asleep during a Parliamentary session......................................1 point
8. Falling asleep and snoring above 5 decibles...........................................5 points
9.Talking with chewing gum in mouth during a PC...................................1 point
10.Talking with sirih in mouth during a PC.................................................5 points

(Add your own)

MPs getting 20 demerit points in a Parliamentary session shall be obliged to resign.
Selamat Bersidang!

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Monday, April 21, 2008
Since a particular word expresses a particular meaning, it makes sense to know as many words as possible.
Any language teacher worth his thesaurus will tell you that to enrich your vocabulary, you should read as much as possible. Books by good authors will let you know how a particular word is used so you can use that word in the right context. Another way learn words is to play word games.
Once modern kids learnt their alphabets, parents play the "I Spy" game. On long road trips, this game distracts restless kids for a bit. You have never played the game before? That's the game when someone says "I spy with my little eyes something that begins with an A (or whatever letter that applies)" and the kids will hopefully stop gouging each other's eyes out and look for the answer. Of course you cannot play the game when the kids are engrossed in their iPods, handheld PSPs or similar gadgets. Neither will you have to play the game if your car is equipped with a CD/DVD player and a decent monitor.
At home, you can play word games that you find in the papers (crosswords, wordmaze etc.). The best place to play word games is of course on the computer. On computers with chunky graphics we used to have Hangman that helped with spelling. As computers get more powerful, we get better and more sophisticated word games. Look up Text Twist (or Text Twister for the PDA) which is basically anagrams. The computer will give you 6 jumbled letters and you have to make as many words possible. You make enough words you go up the next level. Google for this game and you can even play it online. I play it on my old Zire 71 while waiting for the ice in my Apple Kasturi to melt.
If you are a Scrabble kaki you already know that the game is one of the most pleasant way to improve your vocabulary. Never mind that you will never use words like AI (a 3 toed South American sloth) or XU (a unit of Vietnamese currency) in everyday life. Of course there is a computer version of the game. There was one for the ATARI, which is a very old computer indeed. In my opinion, the best Scrabble game you can have on the computer so far is Scrabble 2007 by Ubisoft. You can order it online for 19.90 British pounds. If you so wish, you can try looking for it at Plaza Yow Chuan or you can search the torrents. Scrabble 2007 has the Collins Official Scrabble Dictionary built in and it has exercises like puzzles and anagrams to prepare you for your matches with the computer. There are many computer players. Each has a human name and each has his/her own personality. There are many levels, starting with Student. Once you reach the highest level, it is not easy to beat the computer. But, if you look hard enough, there is a way to beat the computer. If you do not find it, feel free to ask me.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

I write this with the Bee Gees song in my head.

Word or rather the choice of word is very important in communication. A mere word can speak volumes. Now you understand why Barisan Nasional insisted on calling their symbol “dacing” instead of the proper translation of the scale which is “neraca”. The BN brains then did not want “neraca” to be mispronounced as “neraka”. That would be hell.

Another word that has become a bone of contention is “ketuanan”. To me this is archaic and unncessary. “Tuan” goes with “hamba”, owner/master with “slave”. People obsessed with “ketuanan” should be reminded that Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery centuries ago. Long before that Bilal, a former slave, became an equal member of the Muslim fraternity in Medinah.

We used to call our orang putih bosses “tuan”. After 1957 the orang putih were gradually replaced by Malaysians. Some were called tuan even now. Now, apparently “boss” is reserved for Mamak shopowners or prospective clients of pirate DVDs retailers.

Maybe “ketuanan” is meant for political leadership. Whoever is in the majority leads. Simple. No need to label yourself tuan. Tuan is different from towkay. A towkay owns the business. You do not own the country. Not anymore.

Be proud of your heritage and be proud of who you are because there are still things about them that you can be proud of. At the same time use words wisely or one day you have to eat them.



Monday, April 07, 2008
In spite of the influx of foreign fare, we, like the rest of other Asians still cannot do without our daily rice. Sure we occasionally order Chateaubriand, fish and chips, pasta, pizza or even noodles in their various variants but as people in Terengganu would lament " Ambe dok jupe nasik lagi ari ning" (I havent had rice today). Even if we get tired of plain white rice, we go for the variants of rice-based dish - nasi goreng, nasi kerabu,nasi ayam, nasi dagang, nasi tupae, nasi kapit/himpit, nasi minyak, nasi beriyani, nasi air,nasi lemak, nasi rawan and the numerous other nasi. With so many forms of nasi in the country, I am disappointed that BERNAS or somebody else have not set up a place where you can get all the incarnations of nasi in one place.

Now we might be facing a rice shortage. We do not grow enough rice and I see padi fields being turned into airports, housing estates or commercial sites. A few of the rice exporting countries like India have banned export of rice. To make matters worse, the potato-eating people like the Americans have discovered rice, loving it and began adding rice to their culinary list. I am not talking about just rice pudding here.

So what do we do? We cannot give up rice. To us, rice is synonymous with food. We scold people who are suddenly weak by asking them " You haven't had rice or what?". There is even a TV commercial using this question. In old Malay culture, rice (padi/beras) also symbolises wealth. Hence you have "Ada beras, semua kerja deras, ada padi semua kerja jadi". My translation is "When you have rice, all work will be done in a thrice. When you have padi, successful will your projects be." Rice is the staple diet of 3 billion people in the world minus those on Atkins Diet. In places like Kuala Lumpur, even the chic restaurants like La Bodega offer rice. Try the paella in La Bodega. We cannot persuade people to forgo rice. Singapore tried that once many many years ago and failed. Phillipines tried offering "half rice". The Filipinos didn't buy it.

Probably we should save rice like we save water. Stop wasting rice. Maybe we should stop using rice other than for eating. Subsitute the bedak cotek for something else. Stop making bepang (sweet rice bricks). While we are at it, lets look for substitutes for the bomoh's bertih and beras kunyit. We should also stop throwing rice on newly-weds. Most are on family-planning anyway and do not need any fertility help.

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Saturday, April 05, 2008
I was invited by Mat Salo to meet a group of bloggers over lunch. When Pak Idrus mentioned it yesterday I told him that I wasn't invited and I have not met Mat Salo before. Mat Salo then messaged me that he was Taufik's one time boss. Taufik is my son-in-law. He also informed me that my son-in-law #1 was his junior in MCKK and he is working in Indonesia too. Small world, I thought and I told myself to try my best to attend this gathering.

Pak Idrus could not give me a lift in his new Honda because he is taking a different route. I had no choice but to drive to the Curve myself. The gathering was scheduled to be at Kayu Nasi Kandar but as I was turning into Pesiaran Surian, I received an SMS informing me of a last minute change in restaurant. Reading the SMS made me miss the lane to the Curve and I had to travel further down the highway before I could make a hair-raising U-Turn.

The company was pleasant, the discussions lively and the food (when it finally came) was okay. I got to meet Raden Galoh, who reads my blog. I also met her husband, Mambang Hijau in addition to well-known bloggers that I have not had the pleasure of meeting. Nice to make your acquaintance Kerp Phd, Shah, Tokasid, Jafflam, Anon From Miri, A Voice and Eli Wong (Selangor's Exco member for Tourism). It was nice to see Ancient Mariner, Shanghai Fish, Anu, Elviza and DP Marina again. Being very hungry ( only had fried kuih bakul for breakfast) I didnt have time to circulate and say hello to Wattahack and the others at the other end of the table.

Congratulations to Mat Salo for organising the gathering and thanks to the generous donors.
I left early and promptly lost my way looking for Penchala Link.

Click the thumbnail Bloggers@Asam Pedas"> to see the pics .

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