Monday, July 31, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 4:11 pm

My friend sent me an email. It goes like this:-

An 80 year old man was sitting on the sofa in his house along with his 45 years old highly educated son. Suddenly, a crow perched on their window. The Father asked his Son, "What is this?"

The Son replied "It is a crow"

After a few minutes, the Father asked his Son the 2nd time, "What is this?"

The Son said, "Father, I have just now told you "It's a crow".

After a little while, the old Father again asked his Son the 3rd time. "What is this?"

At this time, some expression of irritation was felt in the Son's tone when he said to his Father with a rebuff.

"It's a crow, a crow!"

A little after, the Father again asked his Son the 4th time, "What is this?"

This time the Son shouted at his Father,

"Why do you keep asking me the same question again and again although I have told you so many times "IT IS A CROW". Are you not able to understand this?"

A little later, the Father went to his room and came back with an old tattered diary, which he had maintained since his Son was born. On opening a page, he asked his Son to read that page. When the Son read it, the following words were written in the diary:-

"Today, my little son aged three was sitting with me on the sofa, when a crow was sitting on the window. My Son asked me 23 times what it was, and I replied to him all 23 times that it was a Crow. I hugged him lovingly each time he asked me the same question again and again for 23 times. I did not at all feel irritated. I rather felt affection for my innocent child."

While the little child asked him 23 times "What is this?", the Father had felt no irritation in replying to the same question all 23 times and when today the Father asked his Son the same question just 4 times, the Son felt irritated and annoyed.

So...if your parents attain old age, do not repulse them or look at them as a burden, but speak to them a gracious word, be cool, obedient, humble and kind to them.

Be considerate to your parents.

Isn't it true that we get irritable with our family members or relatives sometimes? We are perhaps more patient in dealing with friends or customers but not so when dealing with people closest to us. I am still trying to learn this part, which I admit, is a major weakness in me.

I would also add that we should also treat our children with the same patience. When I read this, it reminded me of how sometimes I have been impatient and exasperated with my daughter's repeated questioning eg. "Where are we going?" though I have answered as many times. So, sometimes, I will ask her back the same question and she will have the answer for me. It does the trick sometimes.

My elder daughter has just turned 3 last Friday. It won't be long before I realise that she's 13 and 23. By then, I hope she will still find me a relevant and interesting person to talk to. It is not uncommon for parents to find that their grown up / teenage children spend more time on the phone chatting with their friends than with the parents. Some teens would not want to be seen in public with their parents because it is not "cool". The family unit is under more attack today from external influence than ever before. What about yours?

"Children, obey you parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honour your father and mother" - which is the first commandment with a promise - "that is may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on earth". Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." (Eph 6: 1 - 4)


Friday, July 28, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 12:00 pm

What can you find at Lorong Gombak in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia? It is, afterall, considered a back lane to Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (also known as Jalan T.A.R.). Now, Jalan T.A.R. is one of the main arteries in the Kuala Lumpur road system. What can a back lane like Lorong Gombak offer?

If you drive slowly and look closely, you will find a very small shop (on the left) which does not have any signboard. Looks busy though with people walking in and out.

This is Restoran Santa. In the mornings, you can have Roti Canai as well as Chapati for breakfast. These are popular breakfast for Malaysians particularly in the Klang Valley. You can have them with curry chicken, curry fish, mutton rendang or even dhall.

The food here is superb and this is shown in the continuous stream of people coming in to indulge in their favourite breakfast. I am one of the regulars here. I come here at least once a week. Just as I was taking photographs in the shop, a guy who was sitting next to me (you got to share tables here because this place is packed!) was wondering why I was taking photographs. I explained to him that I wish to put this up on the internet. I asked him how often he frequents this place and he replied "Dua tiga kali seminggu" (twice or thrice a week)! Yes, there are many regulars here.

Now, this place also serves really good Teh Tarik (literally translated as "Pulled Tea"). The tea is transferred from one container to another by pouring it at a height to mix it well and to give it a good "topping". The tea here is also mixed with fresh cow's milk and this gives the tea a nice fragrant taste. The tea is also very smooth and does not have a "tannic" taste. You can also have fresh cow's milk here, which is really nutritious in value. Unfortunately, the "tea maker" was shy and did not want me to take a picture of him doing his stuff. So, I can only show you part of his workplace!

Apart from breakfast, Restoran Santa also serves lunch and afternoon tea. For lunch, you can either have Chapati or Rice with curry chicken, curry fish, mutton kheema, mutton rendang, dhall, rendang chickpeas, spicy tofu, stir fried beansprouts, potatos and other vegetables. A plate of one meat and 2 vegetables with rice only costs RM4.00 to RM5.00. Very reasonable indeed. For afternoon tea, you can have samosas and pakodas.

The usual capacity crowd at Restoran Santa

Restoran Santa opens on Mondays to Saturdays for breakfast till about 5pm. There is another outlet at Lebuh Ampang but according to the owner, this place is better.

I shall leave you with a glimpse of what I had this morning at Restoran Santa. I first pour a layer of fish curry on the plate followed by a piece of Roti Canai. Then I top it with a layer of chicken curry. This is my usual makan (eating) style here in Restoran Santa.

I fondly call my creation "Canai Soup"

If you have not tried the food here at Restoran Santa, you're missing out big time!

To get there, check out the map below. I know, my drawing is bad :P

If anyone can help me, I would be most obliged.

P/s : I don't get paid by Restoran Santa to do this write up.


Thursday, July 27, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 11:41 am

Yesterday was a rather upsetting day for me. Read about it here.

When I went home, I was greeted by my two lovely daughters. Their innocent smiles took away whatever unpleasant thoughts that I was having. God is indeed everywhere and He is in charge.

Anyway, as I have mentioned in my previous posting "Mad About Hats", I was going to scan an old photograph of mine showing my fascination playing with a coconut. So, last night, I took out my old photo album which was gathering dust in the shelves and reminisce through old times.

Let me take you on this journey of mine...

This is the very first photograph taken on me. I was approximately 5 months old then. Mum told me this photograph was taken because they were applying for me to be included in mum's restricted passport.

Restricted passport was used for travel between Malaysia and Singapore only. It cannot be used to travels to other countries. Recently, this passport has been done away with by the governments.

Anyway, I treasure this photograph very much because it is the very first photographic recording of my past.

Let's move on.

I stayed in Pontian Kecil for a few years (I think?!?) during my years as a toddler. During those years and even in the baby photo above, home-stitched pyjamas were in fashion. Decent shopping centres were only available in Johor Bahru or Singapore which are 1 hour's drive away.

Elder folks will buy cotton clothing material (usually with broad stripes) to make pyjamas and I had a few with me. This photograph on the right was taken when I was 3 years old (if the number 3 marked behind the photograph gives any clue). Back then, babies / toddlers either wear cotton napkins or nothing. For boys, elders usually cut a small hole at the groin region of the pyjamas to "ease toilet training".

After staying in Pontian Kecil (and to a certain extent, a couple of months in Singapore) for a few years, we moved up to Kuala Lumpur. We stayed in Jln Imbi flats with our relatives.

I was told that back then, the flats at Jln Imbi are resided by rich people. Apparently, many rich people also keep their mistresses there! I quickly took the chance to take a photo behind a Porsche car and tried to look cool with a cigarette in hand.

During those years, my uncle Kim taught me a lot of stuffs. Things like alphabets and numbers. I will always be grateful to him for his early childhood education which he gave me. In fact, he even sponsored 1 year of my university study in England.

Going back to Jln Imbi years, I was told that I used to be able to recite 1 - 10 but always giving the number 7 a miss. The elders were exasperated with my tendency to give no. 7 a miss. Until one day, I decided to recite a four-digit number = 2710. At last, I am able to say the number 7. The elders wacked big on the four-digit punting but I think nothing happened.

Some people wonder whether my waist has always been at this size. Some of my current friends who do not know me from school days were shocked when I told them I had the waist the envy of girls - 24 inches. That was before I got dengue fever in 1991. Prior to that, I was really skinny. As some say, I can strum my ribs to a tune.

I had a lot of good times in the secondary school which I attended in Kuching. SMK Green Road. My wife and I were school mates. In 1990, I went to Sibu with 3 other classmates of mine for a state-wide science & maths exhibition. Had a great time there!

I still keep in touch with some of my classmates from Kuching. The photograph on the right shows the 4 Science A class of 1990. Spot me if you can!

Some of us are now parents. In fact, this year (2006) is baby-boom year for us. Some of us have our second child this year. I am sure some of us will be having a third soon.

Most of us are blessed with good health and decent jobs and I thank God for that. If you are one of my classmates for whom I have lost touch with, do contact me!

As for the future, God alone knows the plans He has for me (Jeremiah 29:11) and I trust in Him to lead me along the way.

Thank you for showing interest in reading my life journey so far. Keep coming back! I shall now leave you with the boy with the coconut...


Wednesday, July 26, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 2:23 pm

Just when we thought Malaysia is moving towards a new chapter and age where citizens are free to air their views in a peaceful and civilised manner, we appear to be taking a step backwards.

I am talking about the Article 11 Forum. Article 11 is an umbrella body of 13 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which had held forums in Penang and Johor Bahru recently. The topic for discussion in the Johor Bahru forum was "Freedom for All". For a more detailed view of what was discussed and transpired during the meeting, read this report by Serene Ong from the Malaysian Bar who was present in the meeting.

It was a victory for freedom in this country of some sorts. A group of people were given the right to meet and discuss "sensitive" issues in a civic and matured manner. Police permits are hard to come by for such meetings on "sensitive" issues. Whilst there were a group of demonstrators outside the hotel calling for an end to the discussion, freedom won in the sense that the police allowed them to demonstrate peacefully.

The interesting part to note is that Sisters in Islam (SIS) is part of this 13 NGOs and had the maturity to discuss issues relating to the legal position of muslims in the Civil Court and the Syariah Court vis a vis the Federal Constitution. These women ought be commended for their maturity in handling such issues tactfully, with an open-mind and being able to agree to disagree where views differ. Some of the speakers are muslims too.

In today's news headlines, the Prime Minister of Malaysia Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi informed that Article 11 forums to discuss inter-faith issues must be stopped immediately because they are deemed to cause tension in our multi-religious society. Following the UMNO Supreme Council's meeting wherein the council had expressed utmost concern over the inter-faith issues being discussed, Pak Lah (as he is fondly known) was further quoted to have said "If possible, such discussions should not be carried out at all. It has passed the stage where it is worrying all of us. The Government will monitor the situations and developments."

Taken from his press statement, it paints a picture that Malaysians are not capable of having a rational discussion with one another without threat of tension. What tension was he talking about? He must obviously be referring to violence. Mere words alone does not break bones. If there is a threat of violence, which may have been the justification for the call to Article 11 to stop the roadshows, what steps had been taken to arrest such threats of violence?

We must not remain on cloud 9 thinking that everything is hunky-dory in Malaysia especially where matters of faith and ethnic relations are concerned. There is much dissatisfaction amongst the citizens of the country on the lack of freedom to express their views.

Though I may not agree with some views, I would not be stupid enough to start picking up a stick or samurai sword to attack those people whose views are different from mine. Rather, one should try to understand the alternative views canvassed so that one can emphatise with their position and background as well as whatever constraints they may be living in. By understanding, we can learn to adjust our lifestyle, demands and expectations to live harmoniously with one another.

I for one, do not understand why some muslim brothers / sisters find it totally unacceptable to discuss about their religion as against mine. How am I suppose to understand if proper and rational discussion is not allowed? And how are they expected to understand my beliefs and my predicaments? How does a discussion threaten Islam as a religion? The Almighty God does not need men to defend Him for He is omnipotent. I am sure they would agree with me that God is omnipotent.

If freedom to discuss issues in a civilised manner is curtailed in the interest of some with veiled threats to disrupt national unity (whether in the form of threats of violence or actual violence), then the country is taking a further step backwards in the quest for deeper understanding between the multi-ethnic multi-religious people of this country.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 11:26 am

After being in business for about 3 years in Kuala Lumpur, Debenhams (touted as "Britain's Favourite Departmental Store") is bidding farewell to Malaysians.

Opened amidst much fanfare, Debenhams Malaysia is situated in Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur and occupies approximately 100,000 square feet of retail space as its anchor tenant. Debenhams brought with them many of their designer labels including "J" by Jasper Conran, Anne Brooks and "Rocha" by John Rocha.

Debenhams Malaysia was opened through a franchise agreement with BTS Department Store Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Matrix International Bhd, a company controlled by tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun. (source)

Business has not been good the past 3 years. During most of my window shopping there, I found Debenhams rather empty of customers. Perhaps some of the products were beyond the purchasing power of the average Malaysians. During the last year, I noticed that more and more Malaysian brands were being sold in Debenhams (which were not sold there during the initial year). The company managing the franchise was probably trying to "make ends meet" by selling well-known local brands such as Cheetah and Padini.

When I went to Debenhams on 23rd July, 2006, what greeted me was a sad state of affairs. What was once a posh looking departmental store now looks like a junkyard store. Most of the shelfs were empty and goods were strewn about in the sale boxes. Many items were put up for sale on massive discounts (up to 80%). I asked the cashier when will the store be closed and he mentioned end of this month.
My daughter enjoyed herself though. She was running about in the store (since there are not many items can imagine the wide open space available) and took fascination with some children's books on display.

Thanks for coming to our shores Debenhams! At least we had a Debenhams experience in Kuala Lumpur.

I hope Marks & Spencer does not face the same fate. There are two stores here in Kuala Lumpur, one in One Utama and the other at KLCC and I am a fan of their white long-sleeve business shirts. You see, white long-sleeved shirts are a must for every litigation lawyer and Marks & Spencer carry a good range of such shirts beginning at RM69.00. Good quality, I must say.

At least the material (cotton) is thick enough that it does not show your chest (a more polite way of saying your nipples) when the sun shines on you!


Friday, July 21, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 2:35 pm

This is Sekolah Kebangsaan Desa Pandan. It is located in Kuala Lumpur.

It must be a good school. Or at least, that is what is claimed on its signboard at the main gate which reads :-

Anugerah Sekolah Harapan Negara Johan Kebangsaan 2004
Anugerah Sekolah Mithali (Tabung Haji) 2004 (Zon Tengah : W.P., Selangor, Negeri Sembilan & Melaka)
Anugerah Kualiti Menteri Pelajaran 2005 Johan Negeri
Pertandingan Keceriaan & Kebersihan (3K) 2005 Johan Negeri

The awards are a testimony to all the good work the Principal, Teachers, PTA and students have put in. Well done! Pat on the back!

But is it really so?

Take a look at what is behind the school.
You will notice that this is a water tank. It is located behind the school. The nearest block to the water tank uses its ground floor for school assemblies. Every morning, students and teachers will gather there for a briefing by presumably, the Principal.

Oblivious to everyone, however, is the fact that the water tank has been overflowing with water for more than a year already. How do I know? Well, let's just say it's personal knowledge.

Anyway, if you look at the photo below, you will also notice that the constant overflowing of water (it's not even a trickle but a gush of water) has caused the wall of a small building next to it to have fungus growth. It's the dark green patch which you can see on the left hand side of the photo. That is evidence of regular overflowing (to those who are still doubting). If you are still doubting, look at the concrete pillar which is supporting the water tank in the photo above and below. The fungus growth is more apparent on the sides exposed to the overflowing water.

It is sad that in their quest to be a champion school in the country, the Principal, teachers and guards (they have guards securing the school compound) have not done anything to have the water overflow rectified. Are they sending the right message to the school children who are all below the age of 13 (this is a primary school)? Children should be taught from young to save and conserve resources, be it water or electricity. Giving a blatant disregard to the overflowing water tank gives the message to children that it is okay to let water go to waste.

Is it any wonder that you find taps not turned off in public toilets, ladies and gentlemen?

*Update : I emailed one of the pics to The Star under the Thumbnails column and it was published on Saturday the 22nd July, 2006. According to residents living near the school (where I took the pics), a plumber worked on the tank the very next day (Sunday). Problem solved.


Thursday, July 20, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 11:57 am

This morning's meditation brought me to Isaiah 12:2 which reads:

"Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song;
He has become my salvation" (NIV)

If you are feeling weary, burdened or depressed, I hope God's Word above will give you strength to go on. For we are all God's creation and by reason of the same, we can only rely upon His strength and guidance to live our life. It would be fruitless to rely on our own strength or seek happiness and gain in materialism.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 5:24 pm

Multi-million dollar suits are the norm nowadays though it remains to be seen whether the Court will award such high figures claimed.

The latest threat of a big suit looming reported in the local dailies on 18th July, 2006 involved a suit filed by Hemi Hamisa Abu Hassan Saari against the Government and police department. Unfamiliar? Hemi was the lady filmed secretly in the police lock-up being told to do squats in the nude. As a result of the whole fiasco, she was embarassed and the Government was embarassed. There was even a possibility of it turning into a diplomatic row with the China Government as there were earlier reports that the lady filmed was a Chinese national. All that is in the past now as investigations were made vide a Royal Commission and the actual identity of the lady surfaced.

Now, Puan Hemi has instructed her solicitors to demand RM10 million as compensation for the humility sustained by her. It is unlikely that the Government will hurriedly issue a cheque for RM10 million to her within the period stipulated in the letter of demand...which can only mean one thing, she will have to file her case in Court and endure further embarassment. The journey can only be more painful to walk.

If you are wondering how does the above tie in with the title "Will I be sued?" and start running wild ideas that I was the one behind the filming or transmission of the MMS...relax. That is Puan Hemi's case.

As for me, despite my fondness of Jedi Master Yoda for whom I was previously using his image as for my profile, I have very reluctantly decided to remove his image as my profile.

Nowadays, people sue for a variety of reasons especially where infringement of trademarks or copyrights have occured. I don't want to be the subject of a lawsuit especially knowing that the rights to Jedi Master Yoda belongs to Lucasfilm.

Lawsuits in the United States of America can be financially detrimental to Defendants and I am not just talking about lawsuits on intellectual property infringement. According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) of Southlake, Texas, supermarkets pay out $450 million each year for legal expenses and to claimants for their injuries. Crazy, some might say, but it's true.

With that in mind, I shall try to remain a nice boy and try not to copy and paste without credits. What about you?

Let this message also be a friendly advise to you in case you do copy and paste unknowingly. I am still learning myself.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 5:09 pm

As I was walking back to office after lunch today, I stopped by the roadside waiting for the traffic to clear.

I noticed a security guard coming out of a shop behind me and started sprinkling grain over the five-foot way. "Oh no, he's feeding the pigeons" - that's what I thought. Before I could say "Do you realise what you are going to cause?", a flock of pigeons came flying over me (don't know where they came from) and started descending towards their lunch.

It was then "splat"... an unwanted sound which I heard. Somewhere very near me.

ARRRGGGGHHHHH! One bird decided to ease itself just as it was descending and the dropping landed onto my trousers. For some, it's time to buy 4-digits. Supposedly lucky to have bird droppings on you or your car or whatever.

Not for me. I've read about how pigeon droppings can be a health hazard. Ornithosis, Encephalitis, Cryptococcosis, Toxoplasmosis and Salmonella are some of the diseases spread through the droppings. The acidic nature of the dropping can even cause permanent stain or corrosion to exterior surfaces of buildings and cars.

I don't know why people still decide to rear pigeons in cities. I find them more a nuisance than anything. Bird droppings aside, they are also a vocal crooning lot. These people are not rearing them for commercial reasons but for ... I don't know what reasons.

Pesky pigeons taking aim

There are some who fancy pigeon soup as well as deep-fried pigeons. Pigeons are supposedly power-packed with nutrients and some swear that they get a real boost of energy after eating them (soup or fried).

Anyway, I've had enough pigeons for today.


posted by PabloPabla at 11:26 am

It was reported in the New Straits Times Newspaper yesterday that some 300 motorcyclists and about 50 pillion riders were nabbed by the Selangor police at the car park of the Stadium Melawati here in Shah Alam on 16th July, 2006 at around 7.30pm. These motorcyclists and pillion riders were believed to be involved in illegal street racing.

Kudos to the police on the crackdown as these motorcyclists (if indeed, are involved in illegal street racing) pose a real threat to the lives of other road users and their own. More of such operations ought to take place to weed out the illegal racers who can be a real nuisance when they speed down the streets (sometimes in neighbourhoods).

Next comes the shocking news. According to the traffic enforcement head, Chief Inspector Abdul Aziz Md Isa, about 30 policemen confiscated the motorcyclists' keys and forced the motorcyclists to push their motorcycles to the police headquarters. A distance of 5kms! Some of these motorcyclists are in their late teens and early 20s. Some of the pillion riders are under-aged girls.

Are the motorcyclists being punished without being charged? Why must they be forced to push their motorcycles for 5kms to the police headquarters? I would have imagined that for an operation of this size, the police would have got some lorries ready to load the motorcycles to the police headquarters.

Notwithstanding the fact that the operation to nab the suspected illegal street racers are commendable, the forcing of the motorcyclists and pillion riders to walk to the police headquarters for 5kms is downright abuse of powers!


posted by PabloPabla at 10:33 am

Last night, I was pleasantly surprised when Mr. Lim Kit Siang called me to enquire about the MyKad problem which I faced.

It is an honour, really, to have the Leader of the Opposition call you personally to find out whether your problem had been resolved. I would have thought that for an important person like him (who has far bigger issues to deal with) would probably have asked a personal assistant to call me. Neither The Star newspaper nor the New Straits Times Newspaper called me regarding my email to their respective editors. Perhaps my problem was not worth their precious print pages.

Today, Mr. Lim highlighted my email to his blog to raise awareness to his readers. He agreed with me that I should not have paid the processing fee as a matter of principle. He also agreed with me that I should not be sent on a run-around by the NRD.

Have you been given the run-around by the National Run-Around Department? (one of his readers [zys] gave this name to the NRD)


Monday, July 17, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 6:29 pm


My adsense tracker tells me that I now have 405 hits since the 6th June, 2006.

Not too bad for a newbie on the block. I can't compare to the giants here in Malaysia such as Paul Tan, Kenny Sia, KY or even Chanlilian. They get hits by the thousands EVERYDAY. They have a fan base (I'm a fan of some of the famous bloggers) and continue to get bigger by the day.

I admire them, really. Not envy but admire. They have such good command of language, most of them anyway, and are able to be creative. Something about their blogs attract people. I hope it is the good and clean stuffs that are attracting the lot and not the foul-language which some bloggers use.

Though it is their prerogative, I can't feel but sad that some bloggers choose to use profanity in their blogs knowing full well that children gain access to their blogs. They may say that it is none of their business but I hope it will come to their senses that one day, their own children or even nephews or nieces will come across such blogs and be contaminated in their language.

We should all realise that whatever we do will always and inevitably, affect someone else. Even if it is something done in private.

As for me, I hope my blog will give a positive effect on others.


Friday, July 14, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 11:42 am

It was reported in The Independent Online that Real Madrid is close to a deal to signing Ruud Van Nistelrooy from Manchester United for approximately 10.7 million pounds. The shocking thing is that Manchester United is willing to negotiate - at 15 million pounds for their star striker.

Ruud signed for United on 23rd April, 2001 for a sum of 19 million pounds. It was a British record at that time. In 150 premiership games, he scored an astonishing 95 goals. That works out to an average of at least one goal in two games. In the Champions League, he was deadlier. Ruud scored 38 goals in 48 games.

At today's ridiculous transfer fee rates, the number of goals he scored for 19 million pounds is a real bargain! He is 30 years old this year and I believe he still has much to offer.

Ever since I supported Manchester United (in the mid-eighties), I have never seen a striker as prolific as he donning the Manchester United jersey. It is sad that a great player as him will be leaving the club. Transfer seems inevitable and apart from Real, a host of other clubs including Bayern Munich are ready to table bids to lure him away.

Without Ruud, Manchester United will only have 2 recognised international strikers in Wayne Rooney and Louis Saha to spearhead the attack. Giuseppe Rossi is still young and may need another year or two before he realises his potential. In the meantime, Chelsea has secured the services of Andriy Shevchenko and Michael Ballack whilst Arsenal has signed Tomas Rosicky with Javier Saviola in negotiations. I don't want to mention about Liverpool because they should be playing in the La Liga with the nationality of players playing for Liverpool.

Unless Manchester United get a replacement striker soon enough, next year's Championship hopes will be in jeopardy.

Manchester United will really miss Van the Man! I know I will.


Thursday, July 13, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 5:43 pm

My children are so out of control! I don't know what to do!

Did you grow up on "eating cane" aka "jiak tin tiau (in hokkien)"? I did.

When I was a child, my mum did not spare the rod less I be spoilt. I used to dread it when I was naughty and mum started saying "Gia tin tiau lai!" (in hokkien - Bring the cane here!). Of course, most of the time, it was only me and mum at home. That means, I had to fetch the cane myself :P

Sometimes, the scary part was the anticipation. You know, the time when mum goes to get the cane and you are standing or squatting there waiting for mum to get back and start caning.

Some of you might say corporal punishment is not the way to discipline a child. That it mentally scars the child (apart from the temporary swelling it causes as the cane licks the skin) and leaves a psychological scar to the detriment of the child.

I don't know. Personally, I thank mum (and dad for his approval to mum) for using the cane on me. Hey! I am no sadist but the disciplining by cane did work on me.

Everytime I get caned, I will try not to repeat the mistakes or mischiefs I did. Otherwise, I will get another lashing exercise. I also know that it hurts mum's heart when she had to cane me. There was once when she became teary eyed when I remain defiant during the caning session. I realised that I had hurt her.

Nowadays, however, caning seems to be something which people will take offense to. Parents no longer cane their children when their children do not toe the line. Parents start suing teachers when their children are punished in school so much so that it would appear that teachers are the ones in need of disciplining.

I was once caned in full view of my classmates during Primary 5. Why? I failed to bring my homework to school. I had completed it but somehow forgot to bring it. My teacher (Puan Faridah - SRK Taman SEA) used the wooden ruler (approximately 1.0 metres long x 3 cm wide x 0.5cm thick) to hit the palm of my hand. The ruler broke into two. I was embarassed (co-ed school, you wouldn't want to have the girls seeing you get caned) but I knew that I deserved it. I learnt my lesson. If you are reading this Cikgu Faridah, thank you for instilling discipline in me.

Today, I am an advocate & solicitor and I firmly believe in law and discipline. I have neither psychological scar nor physical scar.

As Proverbs 13:24 says "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (diligently)" KJV.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 2:27 pm

The following is an email which I sent to the Editor of The Star newspaper today and copied to Mr. Lim Kit Siang.

I am one of those faced with an incorrect religion being recorded in my MyKad.

I applied for my MyKad sometime in February 2005 at the National Registration Department in MJC Branch, Kuching. It was then the Chinese New Year holidays and I took advantage of the holiday season to change my old identity card to MyKad. Application was a breeze as there was no crowd. When I filled up the form, I stated my religion to be "Kristian" as I was baptised in the year 2002. I was a Buddhist prior to that. The counter clerk noticed the difference in the religion and reconfirmed with me my wish to state "Kristian" as my religion in my MyKad. I confirmed the same and was given an acknowledgement receipt and told to wait for the notice to collect the MyKad. As I stay in Seri Kembangan, I requested that the card be collectable from the Seri Kembangan NRD and I duly collected it from the said branch a couple of months after that. Due to the large crowd at the Seri Kembangan NRD when I went to collect the MyKad, I did not check the details recorded in the MyKad.

Recently, I was at the NRD and took the opportunity to check my details. I found out that my religion is recorded as "Buddha" though I had specifically stated "Kristian" at the time I applied for the MyKad. I was told by the NRD clerk that all I need to do is to fill up one form and the error will be corrected.

Today, I went to the NRD branch in Maju Junction, KL at around 11.50am and submitted the form to have the error corrected. I was told that for changes to the information on religion, the MyKad will have to be replaced with a new card as it cannot be done by keying-in the details on-line. I will have to have my photograph taken again and fingerprints rescanned. This is in contrast to changes to address which can be done on-line. If changes to address can be done on-line without the hassle of replacing a new MyKad altogether, I don't know why religion cannot be changed on-line.

Next, I was informed that I have to pay a processing fee of RM10.00. I disputed this and said that I should not pay for the error of the NRD staff who had recorded the religion incorrectly. The counter clerk (Counter 13 and assisted by clerk at Counter 14) asked me when did I apply for the MyKad to which I answered February 2005. I was then told that since I had taken more than 6 months to apply to rectify the error, the processing fee will be applicable. It appears that there is a "grace period" of 6 months to rectify the error in which case, the rectification will be done free.

I was unsatisfied with the explanation given and stated that if I am still required to pay the processing fee due to the NRD's error, I shall have to lodge a complaint. The clerk at Counter 14 replied "Lu mau complain, lu complain la". Is this reflective of the NRD's piagam which reads "Kami menjaminkan layanan yang mesra, tepat, cepat dan sentiasa bersedia untuk membantu"?

I then told the clerk that when I applied for the MyKad at the NRD branch in Kuching, the processing clerk did reconfirm with me my wish to change my religion. Upon hearing this, the clerk told me that I can get the rectification done in the NRD branch in Kuching for free as it is their error. I then asked the clerk whether the NRD is the one and the same in Kuching and Maju Junction to which she replied "JPN sama tapi sebab itu salah mereka, kamu boleh pohon di sana percuma. Ini bukan salah kami". I replied that she must be kidding to expect that I return all the way to the Kuching branch to get it rectified for free. In reply, the counter clerk said "Kamu boleh pergi Putrajaya. Sana boleh tukar percuma. Sana HQ. Kita sini hanya cawangan. Permohonan kamu di sini kena bayar RM10.00". I asked her again to repeat and confirm that if I were to go to NRD Kuching (the original branch) or NRD Putrajaya, I would not be charged RM10.00 for the NRD's error and if I were to get it done here in Maju Junction, I would have to pay the processing fee. She replied in the affirmative and asked if I want to get it done. I told her that I would go to Putrajaya.

Thank you Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara Malaysia for your courteous, accurate, speedy and helpful service!


Tuesday, July 11, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 12:09 pm

Further to my shopping exercise for a Digital Camera, I came to realise that I tend to judge the honesty of retailers based on their quoted price. Permit me to illustrate.

I went to Haniffa Textiles in Jalan Masjid India and saw the Nikon Coolpix L4 being sold at RM553.00 (I'm trying my best to remember the exact pricing and I think it is around that region). Haniffa Textiles' pricing is fixed and so, that becomes my reference point.

I then went to Shop A. The Nikon Coolpix L4 was on the shelf with a price tag of RM699.00. The shopkeeper asked me if I was interested in a digital camera of which I answered yes.

Shopkeeper A : Which camera you want?
Me : How much are you selling the L4?

Shopkeeper A : (With a "can't you see the price tag" look) RM699.00.
Me : Wah! So expensive ar?

Shopkeeper A : No's not expensive what.
Me : Another shop is selling below RM600.00.

Shopkeeper A : How much they selling?
Me : RM558.00

Shopkeeper A : Sure or not? How to sell at that price?
Me : No kidding. Haniffa Textiles down the road selling at that price. You can check it out yourself.

Shopkeeper A : Aiya! They are not selling camera to make profit. The put that kind of pricing to attract customer and make money on other merchandise one.
Me : (Talking to him in my mind : Hallo! So what? The fact remains that they can sell at that price!) You think they are selling fake goods?

Shopkeeper A : No lar. The goods are genuine but they sell dirt cheap to attract customers.
Me : (Yah, it attracts me!) Like that I might as well get from them. So much savings.

Shopkeeper A : How much you say they selling? I give you their price lah. No problem.
Me : (Now you are talking! Sell at a loss to me?) RM558.00.

Shopkeeper A : (Takes out calculator and presses the figure 580). I match their price RM580.00.
Me : (Oi! I told you RM558.00. You want to fleece me again ar?) You accept credit card or not?

Shopkeeper A : Credit card ar? accept but have to increase a bit lah. Commission 4%. So that makes it RM603.20. Best price RM600.00 lah.
Me : Haniffa accepts credit card without questions. (I was not interested liao). So, your best price is RM600.00 ar? Okaylah, give me time to think. Thanks. (Walks off) (No "thank you" from shopkeeper)

Off I went to another big photography equipment shop. Let's call this shop as Shop B. Salesgirl greets good afternoon and asked if I needed help. I said I'm browsing. She tags along. I then stared at the Nikon Coolpix L4. No price tag.

Shopkeeper B : Mister, which camera are you interested?
Me : How much is that L4?

Shopkeeper B : (Takes out calculator and punches figure 699). This sir.
Me : Okay. Thanks. (Proceed to browse the other models)

Shopkeeper B : How is it sir? You want to have a look at the camera?
Me : No thanks. I have tried it and am currently looking for the best deal.

Shopkeeper B : What's the price you have in mind?
Me : A shop down the road can sell for RM558.00.

Shopkeeper B : (Incredulous look) Har? RM558.00 only ar?
Me : Yep.

Shopkeeper B : (Punches some figure into calculator). It's cash terms, right? If cash term, we can consider that.
Me : Nope. Can pay by credit card.

Shopkeeper B : Can you wait a moment sir? I check for you. (Proceeds to check with another colleague. Both furiously punching the calculator). Sir, we would have to add 4% if you want to use card. But why don't you pay by cash? We can match the price.
Me : Thanks. Let me browse first. (Leaves shop)

As you can see from the above, few things are noticeable:-

1. They don't give you their lowest price and will take the opportunity to make a "killing" on the sales if you do not haggle with them.

2. They do not honour the credit card merchant agreement (i.e. not to pass the commission payable to the consumer).

3. They don't bid you "thank you" for visiting or "please come again" if you don't buy from them. Even if you do buy, I wonder if they will do. It reinforces the Reader's Digest survey about KLites being rude.

4. They will claim that the other "cheaper" price is ridiculous / impossible but will gladly offer you that so-called ridiculous / impossible price if you insist on it.

Based on 1 - 4 above, I would not want to step into those shops again. Can't trust them.

I also notice that it is Malaysian culture to have price tags which do not mean anything but just senseless figures. In most shops anyway. Of course, some shops are well-known to be fixed-price shop and it gives the consumer no headache in considering whether to buy from them. You either take it at that price or not. Simple.


Friday, July 07, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 3:18 pm

Which position would you rather be in? Being deprived of choices or being spoilt for choices?

I have the enviable / unenviable position (depending how you look at it) of being spoilt for choices and am currently in a purchasing dilemma.

You see, I am contemplating buying a digital camera…my very first. Wei! Don't laugh-la! Yes, I’m lagging behind in terms of electronic / electrical gizmos but hey, I’m slowly catching up.

The compact camera I’m currently using is not too bad. However, it can be a nerve wrecking experience to anticipate how your photographs will turn out after you sent the film to be developed by your favourite photography shop. There’s no way to turn back the clock to take a second shot. Unless you have at the first stage, taken a second shot as “insurance”. Even so, the “insurance” shot could have turned out as bad if not, worse.

Anyway, I’ve set myself out to do some scouting for a digital camera in the range of RM600.00 and have come up with a shortlist…as nominated by the various shopkeepers.

Nikon L4

On the Nikon L4, this is what some have said:-

a. Good picture quality but in-door flash photography need some manual tweaking

b. Reliable

c. Comes with rechargeable batteries

d. 4 megapixels with 3x optical zoom

e. RM650.00 inclusive of 512mb SDcard

Next on the nominees list:-

Canon PowerShot A430

On the Canon PowerShot A430, some say this:-

a. Plenty of features

b. 4 megapixels with 4x optical zoom

c. Solid

d. Fragile??!!

e. RM650 inclusive of 512mb SDcard

Third on the list:-

Ricoh Caplio RR630

They have this to say:-

a. 6 megapixels, 3x optical zoom and 4x digital zoom

b. Not much advertised but serious photographers know it's a good and reliable brand (really??)

c. Simple to use

d. Can shoot movie with sound

e. RM650.00 with 512mb SDcard thrown in.

So, you can see that all are priced the same but features differ. Having had a feel of all three cameras, my heart tells me the Nikon L4 is the best bet. The camera feels good (handling, size, etc) and the LCD screen is crystal clear. The Canon PowerShot A430 is rather chunky and does not feel as "solid" when held. As for the Ricoh Caplio RR630, the camera is well built and looks easy to use but the LCD screen disappoints me compared to the Nikon L4. The shopkeeper swears by the print quality though (since it's 6 megapixels).

I am still scratching my head trying to make up my mind and reading as many reviews as possible on the net.

Hope by the time I make up my decision, my hair would not be as thin as Zidane's.

If you can help, why not leave a comment down here? The faster I make up my decision, the less hair I lose and the more pictures you will see on this blog!