23 April 2009

Over the Moon

From May onwards I'll start going to a Latin Ballroom class (more on that next time). Due to that, I had to reschedule my Thursday Cardio Fit class to Mondays. As usual when changing class times, some members cannot make it due to their own schedule conflicts.

Last Thursday, one of the aunties came up to me and said, "I usually go to a Line Dancing class on Mondays, so you've put me in a difficult position because I've joined them for more than 8 years. But between Line Dancing and your class, I choose yours la. I feel I get a good workout here!"

*brimming with pride*

22 April 2009

Why Should We Pay Income Tax to BN?

An interesting article from a libertarian over at Malaysian Insider. Malaysians need to start thinking logically like him rather than spouting rhetoric and emotionally-charged squeals.

BN has no qualms about using state machineries for its benefits. They consider – without guilt – government machinery as their own private property.

There is a tendency among BN politicians to obfuscate the difference between the State or the government and the political party. This tendency can be seen during by-elections when the BN unabashedly spends millions of ringgit of public money as part of its campaigns, be it in the form of direct cash handouts or newly paved road.

During the last Umno General Assembly, a delegate made parallel the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to a dog turning around to bite its master's hand. That is a highly inappropriate statement and yet, it is hard to imagine if Umno members attending the assembly saw any problem with that statement.

FYI, I've already paid my taxes for 2008. Have you? My company's automatic PCB deductions ensure that I've already paid most of it by April anyway.

21 April 2009

Who Needs Express Buses Anymore?

Next month I'll be heading down to KL for the Les Mills Quarterly Workshop where we'll get to preview the latest releases. I've gone for the last two, so I hadn't planned on going for this one. But when I saw the cheap Air Asia flights available, I whipped out my credit card faster than you can conjure up dirty thoughts related to the phrase "whipped out".

I paid a total of RM91 for the return flight + SkyBus transit. If I were to take Konsortium bas ekspres, it would cost RM70. For an extra RM21, I...:
  1. ... don't have to fear for my life every time the driver speeds or encounter heavy rain. Seriously the accident rate is worrying horrifying, not to mention that I lost a friend to a bus accident.
  2. ... enjoy a tiny bit more comfort. Sure, AirAsia can teach sardine-packing companies a thing or two, but at least the leather seats are clean. In contrast to (1) that rash I got from a bus seat armrest; and (2) that baby cockroach scuttling across the window pane on a Transnasional ride.
Now all I need is a nice place to stay and I think I've got that covered too.

20 April 2009

Fresh, Home Baked Porn Movies

I finally got my own video camera! Say hi ("Hello!") to the Panasonic SDR H-80:

Delicious specs: 60GB space, 70x zoom (you're lucky you're not my neighbour), and optical image stabilizer (its peers only have software stabilizers). Those are the 3 distinguishing features of this new model. Battery life is average, and so is the video quality (low-light sucks) but I'm pretty happy with the sleek black and lightweight body.

Actually this post is not to talk about the camcorder. Being a Mac user, I wanted to try out the iMovie application to edit my *ahem* home videos. I got my iMac late-2006, and it came with iMovie HD 6. I found out pretty soon that my model is not supported! I paid a visit to the friendly DVD pirate and bought myself iLife '09 (the Mac software section is pitiful, but does exist). Sure, I could get it via BitTorrent, but I have no patience to download 4.5GB via a 1Mbps Streamyx line (Streamyx users should empathize).

To my disappointment, iLife '09 only supports Leopard, the latest OS from Apple. I am still using Tiger and was reluctant to upgrade for fear of breaking all my working apps (I have never reformatted my Mac since I bought it - suck it Windows!) but it seems I have no choice now. Worse, my friendly DVD pirate was not as friendly with Mac OS X Leopard - they've stopped selling it because too many people were having problems installing it on their AMD PCs! HELLO!!! There's a reason why Mac OS X is supported on Apple computers only!!

Long story short, I spent the last 21 days downloading a torrent of Mac OS X Leopard. It was a painful experience downloading the 6.7GB disk image with my meagre connection and starved seeders. But, it finally completed this morning, and I'm going to do the jump tonight!

This, along with my new 1TB external hard drive and iMovie '09, is how I will welcome a new age of multimedia computing and, might as well just say it, home made porn.

16 April 2009

Operation Updates

[Corrections 20/4/2009: I got different measurements over the next few days and the actual update should read "gained 0.5kg and currently 16.3% body fat". Oops.]

On Tuesday I weighed myself and I've gained 1kg and currently around 14.5% body fat. I think this is a good start - my digestive system is behaving normally (though I'm visiting the toilet very frequently!) and I have no problems getting the urge to eat.

The focus now is to maintain course and keep close watch on my body fat percentage. I know it's impossible to just gain pure muscle when putting on mass; I just need to make sure it's a sensible gain! For me, that means not exceeding 16%.

13 April 2009

Guilty Pangs

In my quest to gain weight by consuming more food, especially quality protein, I hope I don't forget why I was once vegetarian-inclined: animals do feel pain when killed to become our food!

Lobsters and Crabs Feel Pain, Study Shows

Elwood and Appel gave small electric shocks to some of the crabs within their shells. When the researchers provided vacant shells, some crabs -- but only the ones that had been shocked -- left their old shells and entered the new ones, showing stress-related behaviors like grooming of the abdomen or rapping of the abdomen against the empty shell.

Grooming, as for a person licking a burnt finger, "is a protective motor reaction and viewed as a sign of pain in vertebrates," the researchers wrote.

It has been thought that the behavior of crustaceans is mostly reflexive, but the fact that they showed signs of physical distress at the same time they changed a behavior -- in this case, moving into another shell -- suggest they feel pain as well, according to the researchers.


In the past, some scientists reasoned that since pain and stress are associated with the neocortex in humans, all creatures must have this brain structure in order to experience such feelings. More recent studies, however, suggest that crustacean brains and nervous systems are configured differently. For example, fish, lobsters and octopi all have vision, Elwood said, despite lacking a visual cortex, which allows humans to see.

It was also thought that since many invertebrates cast off damaged appendages, it was not harmful for humans to remove legs, tails and other body parts from live crustaceans. Another study led by Patterson, however, found that when humans twisted off legs from crabs, the stress response was so profound that some individuals later died or could not regenerate the lost appendages.

Say a prayer for that delicious shrimp salad you're about to bite into, mm'kay?

Elsewhere: "Do fish feel pain?"

11 April 2009

Slow Dancing in a Burning Room

Excellent track from John Mayer, especially when I'm feeling moody.

It's not a silly little moment,
It's not the storm before the calm.
This is the deep and dying breath of
This love that we've been working on.

Can't seem to hold you like I want to
So I can feel you in my arms.
Nobody's gonna come and save you,
We pulled too many false alarms.

We're going down,
And you can see it too.
We're going down,
And you know that we're doomed.
My dear,
We're slow dancing in a burning room.

I was the one you always dreamed of,
You were the one I tried to draw.
How dare you say it's nothing to me?
Baby, you're the only light I ever saw.

I'll make the most of all the sadness,
You'll be a bitch because you can.
You try to hit me just to hurt me
So you leave me feeling dirty
Because you can't understand.

We're going down,
And you can see it too.
We're going down,
And you know that we're doomed.
My dear,
We're slow dancing in a burning room.

Go cry about it - why don't you?
Go cry about it - why don't you?
Go cry about it - why don't you?

My dear, we're slow dancing in a burning room,
Burning room,
Burning room,
Burning room,
Burning room.

Don't you think we oughta know by now?
Don't you think we shoulda learned somehow?
Don't you think we oughta know by now?
Don't you think we shoulda learned somehow?
Don't you think we oughta know by now?
Don't you think we shoulda learned somehow?
Don't you think we shoulda learned somehow?
Don't you think we shoulda learned somehow?
Don't you think we shoulda learned somehow?
Don't you think we shoulda learned somehow?

10 April 2009

Cyberspace Adventures

I was researching something for work and I Googled "usability dimensions".
Everything was cool until I saw the last entry and did a double-take:

"The Full Stroke male and female masturbation sex machine delivers a 2-1/2 inch stroking hands free hand job with suction."


But It's An Awfully Robotic Country

Should I emigrate to Singapore? Their forward thinking policies are certainly enticing. I especially like the simple way Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew puts it:

“For the last 44 years since 1965, we have assiduously insisted on 'regardless of race, language or religion' in everything we do: schools, housing, health, jobs, education, promotions. So we are becoming an integrated society.”

The emphasis on English as a common language created a slightly more cohesive society in Singapore, although Lee was unsure it would stay so in a time of stress.

Malaysia, by contrast, had segregated vernacular schools, which meant communities grew up separately, and had differential yardsticks for jobs and contracts.

“It's openly a Bumiputera country,” he said, referring to the preferential treatment of indigenous groups.

“I've often said this about Malaysia ... If you would educate your Chinese and your Indians like we do our Malays and others, you will equal if not surpass us.”

Can the countries simply acknowledge they are organised on different principles and yet seek to work together in areas where their interests converge?

Replied Lee: “You are assuming they can have two compartments in their minds.

“With the Malaysians, if you read the Malay papers, there's a certain regret that they allowed us to be independent.

“They didn't expect us to succeed. But we have, and our very existence is a challenge to their policies.

“And so they say, look, our Malays are dispossessed, are oppressed and so on. But they come down (to Singapore) and they know it's not true, that the Malays are completely part of our society,” he said.

“They share the same benefits in housing, health, education, everything. They have their mosques, they're not deprived of any freedoms as Malays. So the angst is there (in Malaysia).” — The Straits Times
>> Full article (Rhetoric from KL not official stance)

On the other hand, from my travels there I have an opinion that Singaporeans are too closely sheltered by the government and certain liberties are not there. Plus, they all seem like robots working in a clean, sterile environment. It's like a whole country of Stepford Wives!

I also wonder how Singapore can do without MM Lee. Will scientists clone him or preserve his consciousness, so that he can continue advising the government 500 years in the future?

09 April 2009

Razzle Dazzle

One of my favourite songs from the musical Chicago is Razzle Dazzle. Watch the clip from the movie adaptation on YouTube.

As we head into a new dawn for Malaysia (or is that dusk?) with Najib as our 6th Prime Minister, I'm sure he will take the advice contained in the song to heart. I expect to see more razzle dazzle to the public while the backroom politics continue at a fever pitch. But hey, 98% of the public will be hooked by the three ring circus to even care! Question is: are you in the 2%?

Lyrics (emphasis mine):
Give 'em the old razzle dazzle
Razzle Dazzle 'em
Give 'em an act with lots of flash in it
And the reaction will be passionate
Give 'em the old hocus pocus
Bead and feather 'em
How can they see with sequins in their eyes?

What if your hinges all are rusting?
What if, in fact, you're just disgusting?
Razzle dazzle 'em
And they'll never catch wise!

Give 'em the old Razzle Dazzle
Razzle dazzle 'em
Give 'em a show that's so splendiferous
Row after row will crow vociferous

Give 'em the old flim flam flummox
Fool and fracture 'em
How can they hear the truth above the roar?

Throw 'em a fake and a finagle
They'll never know you're just a bagel,
Razzle dazzle 'em
And they'll beg you for more!

Give 'em the old double whammy
Daze and dizzy 'em
Back since the days of old Methuselah
Everyone loves the big bambooz-a-ler

Give 'em the old three ring circus
Stun and stagger 'em
When you're in trouble, go into your dance

Though you are stiffer than a girder
They'll let you get away with murder

Razzle dazzle 'em
And you've got a romance

Give 'em the old
Razzle Dazzle

Give 'em the old Razzle Dazzle
Razzle dazzle 'em
Show 'em the first rate sorceror you are
Long as you keep 'em way off balance
How can they spot you've got no talent
Razzle Dazzle 'em

Razzle Dazzle 'em
Razzle Dazzle 'em

And they'll make you a star!

08 April 2009

First They Came...

Do we want this to happen to Malaysia?

They came first for the Communist,
and I didn't speak up
because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up
because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up
because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up
because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me,
and by that time
no one was left to speak up.

- Martin Niemoeller

Speak out and be heard! Don't let it happen here.

Find out more: 'First they came' on Wikipedia

07 April 2009

Agreed, Dr. M

During the campaign trail for today's tri-elections, Dr. Mahathir (former UMNO outcast and current mascot, again) mentioned in regards to street demonstrations:
“What do we get by demonstrating on the streets, except to cause damage? Dialogue is the best way to resolve unhappiness and differences. If we are still unhappy with the government, then show it through the ballot boxes”

I totally agree with the statement. But dialogue is a two-way street and we've been waiting for too long to be heard. That's why showing our sentiments through the ballot box is so crucial. If you are not yet a registered voter, do it now! Registration at post offices and Election Commission counters take only 5 minutes and are painless.

In the meantime, I'm waiting with bated breath for the outcome of the tri-elections. How will it swing? Are voters bamboozled by the popularity tactics so quickly employed by our new Prime Minister? We'll see.

52 Years

If we don't stand up and be heard, our children's children will look back at 2009 and ask tearfully, "What went wrong?" We were such a prosperous country with a rich heritage, plenty of natural resources, and peace-loving people who contribute to the country.

Also highlighted at Malaysia Today, you should read the opinion piece in Sydney Morning Herald, an Australian newspaper.

If home is where the heart is, I fear my heart is becoming a pariah state!

06 April 2009

Open and Close

No, this is not Katy Perry's next hit song.

As one door closes, another opens. As far as 2009 is going, many doors are closing. I hope I can see the doors that are opening.

Will I make it through in time?

Cops and Crooks

RPK excerpt of the day (Another day to go and Najib is going to eat humble pie):

"The police have visited the gangsters in Bukit Gantang and told them to make sure that Barisan Nasional wins this seat. If Barisan Nasional loses, then the police will launch an operasi and crackdown on the Bukit Gantang underworld. This means two things. First, the police are more gangsters than the gangsters. Second, the police make deals with gangsters. Now, are we surprised by that?"

Some may question RPK's sanity and writing, but every generation needs a martyr (of sorts) to open our eyes and encourage more critical thinking. After 11 years of brainwashing by our national school system, my eyes are opening. Are yours?

02 April 2009

Fun Times!

I was loading some p0rn up on my browser, and while waiting for it to finish loading I switched to a movie clip of me practicing some cardio tracks. Dad walked in and just commented something about the video quality.

The video clip ended.

The movie window closed.

And p0rn was splashed all over my browser window.

I quickly opened another folder and blocked the offending view. We quickly finished up the conversation like nothing happened. I guess this makes up for that time I saw him frantically closing up some XXX websites as I entered his room.


01 April 2009

Cracks Widen

My company recently announced that 2700, or about 19%, of its Electronic Measurements Group will be laid off. I'm one of those potentially affected.

Details are thin at the moment, but we'll know more in less than 2 weeks. Meanwhile though, morale is low and uncertainty is high. I hate waiting for the death row list to be finalized. In a previous 'restructuring' exercise, the severance package was pretty tempting so I'm actually OK if I get picked.

I would go so far as to say that I would prefer to be laid off with a generous package than to stay on, because the situation is bleak. Who wants to stay in a company and wait for the next cost-cutting measure as is bound to happen next quarter? It started with the 10% pay cut end of 2008, then the closure of under-performing divisions, then the restructuring of support groups, and then this. Bad news! Month by month. Don't we all deserve some good news?


It would seem that the March 08 election tsunami has only strengthened the UMNO-led government's resolve to crush all dissent and alternative viewpoint. I may not agree with every tactic in the opposition handbook, but I certainly believe in every person's fundamental rights and freedom. This, the government cannot seem to get in its head. And everyday, the crackdown on citizen's liberties go unnoticed. Such as...

Altantuya Sharibuu - the next Lord Voldemort? Since when has the police been tasked as the nation's censors, dictating what speakers can say? Also read the viewpoint from Lim Kit Siang.

The UMNO government seems to think that only the opposition parties hate them. Well, lots of everyday Malaysians are also disappointed at the racist, blind, and illogical decisions of the people who walk in the Corridors of Power. That's why I will begin to blog more on political issues. I'm no Jeff Ooi, but I feel as the nation's young generation, we need to stand up and be heard. I urge all Malaysian bloggers to also write about the gross injustices perpetrated in the name of law and order. In our lingo, we need to tell the powers-that-be, "Dude, that's SO not cool."