Friday, September 29, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 10:54 am

In yesterday's news reported by The Star, the Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan conducted a spot check at the Dang Wangi Police District Headquarters to see the policemen there at work. What surprises me is the fact that the Dang Wangi OCPD (Officer-in-Charge of Police District) Asst Comm Kamal Pasha Jamal said that Musa only gave an hour's notice before turning up. But earlier in the report, Musa was quoted to have been saying that he would make unannounced visits to police stations from time-to-time to ensure his instructions for the force to provide better service were carried out.

Such contradiction from the man at the top and the man subordinate to him. Was there or was there no notice given? By right, spot checks should be conducted without prior notice.

I still remember my schooling days when spot checks are anticipated with a sense of trepidation. I still remember those days when suddenly, the teacher will ask everyone to place their hands on the writing table for fingernails check. Usually the teacher will walk along the classroom aisle with a ruler in hand and will scrutinize the length of the student's fingernails. Too long a fingernail and you shall get a couple of raps on the knuckles.

Who can forget the spot checks in school for length of hair? Sometimes during assemblies, students whose length of hair which is deemed to have exceeded the permitted standard hairdo of the school will get a free hairsnip in front of the rest of the students. Notice I used the word a hairsnip. Only a handful will be cut so that the student has no choice but to get the rest of the hair trimmed to save one's face from sporting a weird hairdo. But at today's hairstyle trend, it seems that uneven length of hair is the rage.

Got a bottle of Liquidpaper in your school bag? You are asking for trouble! Liquidpaper is banned in most schools as they are deemed to be the prefered artist's brush for students to express their creativity on the writing table, classroom wall or even toilet doors. I still remember how some of these artisans loved to draw their favourite human anatomy which fascinates them, declare their undying love for a member of the opposite sex or make a statement or two about mothers.

However, I still remember one incident when I was in Primary 5. Class was in session and the teacher was teaching geography or something. Suddenly, the teacher called out to one of the students "X, Bring that here!". My classmates and I were wondering what was happening. Very slowly and reluctantly, X walked forward to the teacher with a piece of paper in hand. You could almost hear a pin-drop as time seems to move very slowly with the drama at hand. The teacher unfolded the piece of paper and began reading "What is f**k?" writes someone. "Boys what touch girls what". You could just imagine the embarassment the whole class felt (it is a co-ed school) especially that boy, X. Apparently, he was exchanging information with another boy in class on the birds and bees! After a burst of lecture from the teacher, X was told to go back to his place and concentrate on the lessons instead of teaching biology to another student. Needless to say, that piece of paper was confiscated.

Have you had your fair share of spot check experience?

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 3:54 pm

According to The Star Online, roadusers will be monitored by surveillance cameras round-the-clock nationwide once the Automated Enforcement System (AES) is implemented. The Star further quoted Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy as saying that the Cabinet has given the green light for the implementation of AES in all the cities, highways, federal and state roads and accident-prone areas.

"He said all the pictures and date, including time and date, captured by the cameras would be sent to a control centre where police would ascertain whether traffic users had committed any offences." (source)

Well and good. The idea is good and would definitely curb traffic offences to a certain extent as shown in the experience of a few countries which implemented this system.

Now the multi-billion ringgit question is, "How much will it cost to have it implemented in all the cities, highways, federal and state roads and accident-prone areas?" The ITIS (Intergrated Transport Information System) traffic management system implemented in the Klang Valley alone costs RM365 million ringgit according to a report in The Sun (source) and RM400 million ringgit (plus RM20 million annual operation cost) according to a report in The New Straits Times Press (source). How much more will it cost to have something similar (with cameras and other state-of-the-art equipments) fixed across the country - read again : all the cities, highways, federal and state roads and accident-prone areas.

Perhaps, the Government will assure us that the traffic offences caught on camera will translate into police summonses to the traffic offenders which will translate to revenue to the Government (though the Transport Ministry states that revenue is through traffic summonses is not their priority). But hey! The rakyat will demand that these traffic summonses be recovered as it contributes to the revenue whichever way you look at it. And since we can more or less predict (judging from the recent trend of costs involving projects for the rakyat) that this AES thingy will be berbilion ringgit, the police better start taking effective steps to recover the outstanding traffic summonses.

Otherwise, it will also be just another good-to-show-off project into Malaysia's list of white elephants.

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Monday, September 25, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 4:39 pm

One of the hottest topics recently has been the low wages of our police force, notably the low-ranking officers. It was revealed by the Inspector-General of Police recently that some of his lower-ranked men earn as little as RM650.00 per month. With the rising inflation, how is a policeman going to survive on RM650.00 per month especially in a big city like Kuala Lumpur?

Anyway, this post is not on policemen per se but salary in general. I wonder what is the starting pay for a fresh undergraduate these days... When I started working in an insurance company in 1998 armed with a Bachelor of Law (LL.B) Degree, my salary was RM1,750.00. That was 8 years ago.

8 years ago, the price of fuel per litre was not RM1.92. I think the price of a teh ais was less than RM1.20 and the price of a plate of nasi campur (1 meat plus 2 vegetable) costs in the region of RM3.50. Prices for a medium-cost double storey link house in say, Bandar Kinrara was probably less than RM300,000.00. (You got to help me here with exact figures, if you can recall). I was told by a church friend that when he started work in 1981 fresh from university, his starting pay was RM1,400.00. And prices of essential goods were much lower then.

Some Malaysians are more fortunate than others. They can continue to stay at their parent's home and need not worry about housing instalments. Likewise those who are blessed with parents who purchase them a car (even 2nd hand will do). But for the average Malaysian, I believe they got to start from scratch and save money before they can afford to buy a car or even a house. As a guide, a housing loan amounting to RM90,000.00 works out to RM850.00 thereabouts in monthly instalment every month for a period of about 15 years. A sizable chunk of salary therefore goes out the pocket every month before it even sits in the bank account to earn whatever measly interest that is being offered.

Are Malaysians having lesser spending power nowadays? Are you feeling the pinch?

I am rather curious, taking the price of say, an McDonald's Value Meal at RM9.00 and compare it with the starting pay of a fresh graduate, I wonder what is the average price of a McDonald's Value Meal out of Malaysia and the starting pay of fresh graduates there?

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Friday, September 22, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 3:02 pm

This is not exactly the first write-up on the famous Sarawak Laksa found in Kuala Lumpur, specifically Nam Chuan Coffeeshop at Bangsar. Why then do I write?

Well, having read the various other reviews, I have been itching to have a taste of this so-called famous Sarawak Laksa in Kuala Lumpur. In fact, I went twice but on both occasions, it was closed. REMEMBER all you folks out there - It is CLOSED on WEDNESDAYS!!! Don't say I did not warn you. I had to settle for something lesser the last two trips I went.

Anyway, my bosses and I were supposed to go to Segambut for the famous Tom Yam Noodles but due to massive traffic jam at Jalan Raja Laut, we decided to detour and I managed to persuade them to give this Sarawak Laksa a try after reading all the rave reviews.

Now I must say, I am quite critical of Sarawak Laksa especially having had the privilege of tasting Sarawak Laksa from different stalls in Kuching. I even tried cooking it myself. Hey, if you have tasted the real thing from the original place, your expectations go really high. So, with a high sense of expectation of tasting the authentic Sarawak Laksa (I read from the reviews that the stall is operated by a lady from Kuching) whilst having a fear of being disappointed by perhaps sub-standard fare, we arrived at Nam Chuan Coffeeshop at about 1pm.

I quickly ordered the large portion. Rice vermicelli (Bee Hoon) only please. Even though she also serves yellow noodles, I prefer to have it the original way. Thick beehoon is the way to go. Business is good and we waited for about 5 minutes. Hey! When you are highly charged up with saliva drooling for something delicious (hopefully), 5 minutes feels like an eternity.

The sambal belacan that comes with the Sarawak Laksa looked authentic enough but in really measly portion. You can ask for top-up if you want. The wait was like agony and I tried to distract my attention from the waiting by looking around the coffeeshop whilst sipping the teh cina ais I ordered.

Sarawak Laksa at Nam Chuan Coffeeshop

Finally, it came. Wow! The bowl is humongous. The portion acceptable and the aroma of the soup was familiar. This gotta be good. I quickly took a photo (to share with all of you lah) before I started my work on the Sarawak Laksa.

First thing I did was to squeeze the lime over the soup. This is almost obligatory to give the soup a real "kick". The first taste of the soup was heavenly. The second taste confirmatory. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, THIS IS SARAWAK LAKSA. Right here, available in Kuala Lumpur and I am testifying and confirming the opinions of those who have enjoyed it and raved about it.

The soup is full bodied and the santan is just nice. Not too creamy like those Curry Laksas. It is a bit spicy compared to those found in Kuching but I can take that. No problems. The large bowl costs RM5.00. Not too bad, actually considering after cooking Sarawak Laksa myself, I reckoned it should cost at least RM5.00 to be worthwhile selling.

There are three medium sized prawns. Freshness was so-so only. Maybe because it is freshwater prawns. But that's not too important. Overall, I would strongly recommend this Sarawak Laksa stall to those who are in the Klang Valley who have yet to try and wish to have a taste of what Sarawak Laksa is all about.

"Abacus". Learn mathematics counting them whilst you eat.

Oh, by the way, the lady also sells other stuffs. One of which is "Abacus" or "Suan Pan Tze". It is made of yam and glutinous rice rolled into balls akin to abacus. Famous Hakka dish. Not too bad. It is quite fragrant and you can actually taste the yam.

Other food she sells are Pig Stomach Pepper Soup and Kachangma. The latter is a famous dish from Sarawak using Motherswort herbs cooked with chicken and ginger in rice wine. My wife loves it. It is often served during confinement after childbirth.

In case you are still interested, these links might help:-

My Sarawak Laksa recipe - A review with nice hand-drawn map
Masak-Masak - Her first experience
Sun2Surf - Short write-up with pictures

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Thursday, September 21, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 2:30 pm

Do you have migraine?

If you do, and you are fond of eating bread (and that includes buns from your favourite international fast food chain), the reason could be due to the excessive amount of preservatives namely propionic acid.

Read the full report here.

Perhaps it is time to have Roti Canai instead. I don't think they contain preservatives, do they?


posted by PabloPabla at 12:03 pm

Yesterday, my wife and I learnt that a friend of ours suffered a miscarriage in her 3rd month of pregnancy. This is her 2nd miscarriage. When we heard the news, we were filled with sadness and speechless for a while as we took time to digest and ponder the news. My heart was asking God "Why?".

Indeed, most will ask "Why?".

When both us ended our silence and looked at each other, my wife said "Indeed, life is God's gift and it is truly amazing how He had formed each and every one of us in our mother's womb."

A scientific study on the act of lovemaking leading to conception and the growth of the little tiny cell in the womb till a full term baby leaves one in awe of the process involved. There are numerous literature available on the study of pregnancy leading to birth in books as well as the internet. If you have watched the BBC documentary "The Human Body", you would know what I mean.

The hazards involved from the moment the spermatozoas are ejaculated leading them to swim their way towards the ovum must be seen from the said documentary to appreciate it's journey. Upon conception, the ovum will find its way towards the womb and get itself attached to the wall. I am no scientist and do not profess to be able to describe clearly the details and how the rest of the process takes place. Do watch the documentary if you have the chance.

Considering that each and every one of us have scientifically been proven that we are made up of billions of microscopic parts makes me in awe of this great Creator of ours. Any doctor (yes, doc?) would be able to tell you how special the human body is and how complicatedly it has been created to work. Just a simple act of lifting one's hands or even typing these alphabets on a keyboard involves millions, if not, billions of cells and nerves.

Do we not take ourselves for granted sometimes? And are we not reckless at times with what we do to our bodies to the point that some of us abuse and intoxicate our bodies? If only we take time to appreciate how specially each and every one of us have been created. There are no two persons alike and identical in this world. This is proven through DNA testings. So, if God indeed has created us as what we are - specially made, what are we doing with our lives, our bodies, our purpose?

And going back to the question "Why?"

Frankly, I don't know why. My prayers are with this friend of ours, her husband and family. But I have learnt that God has a purpose for each and everyone's life and He allows us to be in differing circumstances so that we can be more aware of Him and be drawn closer to Him. I have learnt that being humans, we often tend to forget God in our joys and happiness but will remember Him (whether in a positive or negative manner) when we are sad, angry or in suffering. How often does one give thanks to God for one's achievements or gains (increments, bonuses, etc)? On the other hand, how often does one blame God when something does not go as planned?

At the end of it all, God does not owe us anything. For if we take time to consider how fearfully and wonderfully made we are, each day of our life is a gift from Him which we should use wisely. In time to come, He will surely reveal His reasons for whatever that has happened in our lives.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 11:18 am

In yesterday's reflections on whether the Pope should be condemned, I shared on James 3: 7 - 12. For a quick reading, here it is.

7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt[a] water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. (James 3:7 - 12)

In brief, it states, amongst other things, that we are to be careful with our speech. Many times, due to carelessness and lack of thought, we utter words which hurt other people. The ironic thing is, after sharing the said verse with you (my reader), I was careless myself.

Imagine this : I told my boss that "You are stupid!". Yes, I told him that. And that was in front of other colleagues.

It was actually during a group conversation amongst colleagues in the evening before leaving for office. More like casual chat. He had packed his bags and walked into our conversation. Whilst chatting, I noticed that he was carrying a shoulder bag with his notebook in it. I knew he has a backpack solely for the carrying of a notebook but he was not using it.

In my haste and without choosing my words, I uttered "Hey XXX, you are stupid for using that bag to carry your notebook. Don't you know that it instantly attracts attention amongst the notebook thieves? These guys always targets people who carry their notebooks in this shoulder bags. You should be using the backpack. It deters them. Why aren't you using the backpack? Many of my wife's colleagues have fallen prey to thieves who snatch their notebooks which were stored in such shoulder bags. Now, they have started using backpacks and no more such incidents occured. What lah you?!"

My boss replied that if the thieves are determined, they will still rob you of the notebook in the backpack. Anyway, our casual chat with other colleagues continued and he left office shortly after. (By the way, in our office, all of us have cordial relations with one another and our bosses are very approachable).

Somehow, someway, about 15 minutes later, as I was packing my stuffs to leave office, I felt a sense of unease. An inner voice was telling me that I had used unhelpful words though my intention was good. It must be the Holy Spirit's prompting and I immediately remembered James 3: 7 - 12. I immediately prayed to God seeking His direction and was guided to seek an apology immediately.

As I left the office, I quickly sent an SMS to him telling him I was sorry for using such language against him and asked for forgiveness. I was glad he replied that he's okay with it and will consider using a backpack. Even that, I continued reflecting on this incident which I knew, God was teaching me. It is not just about uttering careless words. It must be more than that for God is constantly teaching and moulding us to be more like Him.

This morning, I told my boss that I was sorry again and he said he has forgiven me. Indeed, I was forgiven and I know God has also forgiven me for my indiscretion. Imagine if my boss would put a "black mark" on my "report card". Thank God he is the forgiving type. Otherwise, there goes my future in this firm.

Apart from this lesson that careless words once left the mouth may cause irreparable damage or break relationships, I also learnt that sometimes, this is due to our pride or lack of humility (in my office, I am the most computer literate amongst my colleagues though I am not an I.T. experts). When one feels that one knows it all, the words that come out of the mouth can border on boastfulness. The danger is that in such boastfulness or pride, one becomes immune or defensive towards other people's views or guidance in the issue at hand. Prideful people (which I confess I still am) think their views are always correct and sometimes use harsh words against those who do not agree with their views. Sometimes, those who disagree are ridiculed or cursed at. It sometimes come to a point that "I only like / love those who have the same views as me" and would disassociate with those who are different in thinking. Would that make one a better or holier person?

To love one's neighbour is one thing. To love one's enemy is probably, and I believe, a bigger virtue. An enemy is not just one who has hurt you or intend to hurt you. An enemy can be perceived to be those who pose a threat to your existence or position. It can even be the one whom you regard as being not up to your standard or intelligence. If one is unable to love and have compassion to those who are unagreeable or pose a threat in whatever nature, that makes the person no different from those they perceive to be their enemy.

I thank God for losing my tongue. For the experience has taught me to choose my words carefully and to be humble in all situations.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 9:40 am

I think most people would have heard the controversy lately regarding something said by Pope Benedict in Regensburg which drew the ire and protests by the Muslim community. The protests were peaceful in some areas but somewhat violent in some other areas (churches firebombed in the West Bank and Gaza and a nun murdered in Somalia). Whether these violent acts represent the unanimous feelings and intention of the Muslim community is not known and it is best not to associate and presume that all Muslims would react in this way.

Yes, the Pope said something which was interpreted as meaning the Prophet Muhammad's command to spread Islam by the sword must indeed be "evil or inhuman". Perhaps he should have chosen his words carefully. And he realised that and has expressed deep regret. Only God knows what was the Pope's intention in saying the offending words. Only God knows. Not you. Not me.

Sometimes, I am amused by the request or demand to "retract one's statement". This also happens in a Court of Law. A counsel challenges a witness to a fact which he knew was irrelevant to the case and would not have been admitted in any event. However, the purpose of putting the fact is merely to stain the credibility of the witness eg. on bad character. The witness's counsel then objects to the questioning made and the counsel retracts his question. By then, the whole courtroom would have heard the damaging fact and formed an opinion on the witness.

Demanding the Pope to "retract his statement" (as some leaders and countries have made) does not reverse the fact that he made the statements (offending or not). If somebody shouts at you in public saying that your parents are murderers or thieves, would his "retracting of his statement" change the fact that you have been hurt or that others have formed an opinion about you? I suppose, to some, they obtain comfort when the offending party retracts the offending statement. If it will comfort them, then the Pope should seriously humble himself and retract the statements for the peace of mankind. But then again, it is his personal decision to make. You and I cannot make the decision for him.

I am reminded of the following passages from James in the bible:-

7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt[a] water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. (James 3:7 - 12)

17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:17 - 18)

Let us all, collectively, men of all religions, pray for peace and harmony amongst mankind. If indeed you believe that God created all men, then all of us belong to God and He has the right to deal with all of us according to His will. Each of us will have to account to God for our doings.

7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7)


Monday, September 18, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 4:05 pm

This is not a morbid post though it deals with Death. I hope you will take the time to complete reading this post.

Death is something all of us will have to deal with someday. It is certain. No one can escape. You can plan all kinds of things but one thing is certain, we will all die someday.

We will not know when we will die. Some might have to deal with illness and be told that they only have a certain span of time to live. Some might not know that they will suddenly die due to accidents or tragedies. Of course, some may choose to commit suicide but this is not what this post is all about.

Considering that we will all die someday, have you actually thought what will happen to you when you die? Either something happens or nothing happens. There is no mid-way thing. If you believe you have a soul, it either goes somewhere or nowhere. If you believe you have no soul, then probably nothing will happen. You just pass on and your body will be buried / cremated and that's it.

But really, have you really really considered what you will be thinking most if you are lying on death bed especially during your last moments? What would you want to see at your death bed? Perhaps all your monies stashed in the banks? Your fixed deposit certificates, your share certificates or your jewelleries? Your trophies of achievements? Your educational qualification certificates or doctorates? Your precious car which you have spend much money on? Your latest handphone or computer which you bought? would rather see your loved ones? People you most care about? Or even your friends? Relatives?

I suspect you will answer the latter. Answer yourself honestly.

Are you investing enough time with your loved ones? Or are you spending too much time chasing after the next bonus, increment, bigger house, bigger car, latest gadget, etc? Is your lifestyle balanced? As it is, on a conservative average, a person who sleeps 8 hours a day and goes to work for 9 hours (inclusive of travelling time) only has 7 hours left in a 24 hour day. It would be shorter if you work longer hours.

Ponder and think if that is what life is meant to be.... (thank you for reading till the end. but seriously, do think about it)


Friday, September 15, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 2:45 pm

I was having dinner with a couple of friends in church yesterday evening when we started talking about our children. We agree that our children's generation today is quite different from how it used to be when we ourselves were children.

It was then that I shared with them about my wife and my stand that we would only send our daughter to kindergarten at the age of 5. Our daughter shall have 2 years of kindergarten education prior to entering primary school. This is not the first time we have shared our stand. In fact, many friends have asked "Is your daughter in kindy already?". My elder daughter has just turned 3 years old last July.

"Why do you only want to send your daughter to kindergarten at the age of 5?" Many ask that question. Some sounding alarmed. Well, I usually reply saying "She goes to Sunday School and her grandpa teaches her at home on simple ABC books etc.". The usual reply we get is "But then, she may be left behind and unable to catch up when she gets to kindergarten at 5 or even at primary school. The syllabuses nowadays are different and tough".

We have read some expert's (child experts) views that children below the age of 5 are too young to be exposed to formal education, what more to say, tuition. A report showed that by the age of 3, 85% of the child's core brain structure has formed. By 5 years old, 90% of the child's core brain structure has formed. So, between 3 to 5 years old, there is only an increase of 5%. Why the hurry?

By the time the child starts "formal" education at 5 years old in the kindergarten, the child will have many more years of education ahead till, hopefully graduation from the university. Isn't there enough number of years for the child to "catch-up"? Or should we subject the child to various classes in the hope that the child will reach the standard expected of us? I really pity the children when I see them feeling tired and bored from attending classes after classes. Be it language classes, piano lessons, ballet or general tuition for all subjects. It is not uncommon to hear of pre-schoolers having do to homework till late a night.

Anyway, what is the whole point of ensuring that a child gets the maximum equipping with formal education plus skills such as playing a musical instrument or speaking an additional language? Is it to groom the child so that the child will serve society with the knowledge or skills acquired? Or is it to ensure that the child has a good future? If it is the latter, what would the definition of good be? To be able to earn more money? Climb the social ladder? Or could it be that it is our desire that our child be better than others in terms of knowledge and skills? A prideful ambition? Or perhaps, unknowingly, we are cultivating a habit of "keeping up with the Joneses" or "kiasu" syndrome in our child of tender age. We do not deny that education and skills are important. But they are not the most important.

I must admit that it can be a struggle for me to wrestle with the question of "Am I making the right decision for my daughters to only send them to kindergarten at 5 years old or am I being stubborn and old-fashioned?" I am human after all. And I continue to ask for God's direction and will on this matter.

Our wish for our daughters is that they will know why they were created in the first place. That they will know their Creator, our Father in Heaven, and be able to live a life to glorify Him. Central to that would be to teach them to love others, be joyful, have peace, be patient, having goodness, persevere, being faithful and having self-control as guided by the Holy Spirit. Those are qualities which we pray that our daughters would have and it is good to start young.


Thursday, September 14, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 12:24 pm

I was walking back from Court this morning when I saw someone familiar. And I thought of writing this post.

Ever wonder what is one profession which pays you (quite handsomely if you are at the right place) for your signature? Well, yes. Your signature is the most sought after and they pay you for affixing your signature without which, you cannot get some things done.

Nope, celebrities who sign autographs do not directly get paid for those signatures. True, they may endorse the products which they are contractually bound to advertise but they still need to work to be famous and all. How about being a lawyer? No. A lawyer still needs to do work before finally putting his signature and get paid for it. Same goes to any other professionals such as engineers, architects, accountants and consultants.

I am talking about the man behind the desk. The Commissioner for Oaths.

The Commissioner for Oaths are the envy of many. With just a small start-up capital to purchase a desk, chair, signboard, rubber-stamps, namecards, receipt books and rental for their "office", their "business" is up and running. There is absolutely no work involved unless reading the documents presented to them is deemed to be work (if at all they read). More often than not, their work comprises rubber-stamping the appropriate column with their seal and affixing their signature using their favourite fountain-pen. Voila! Job done!

The other advantage of this profession is "cash upon signature". You can just imagine the daily takings of these Commissioner for Oaths. Some Commissioners are quite enterprising. They give some commission (pun intended) to office boys of legal firms to encourage the office boys to continue sending documents to them for affirmation. And some of these documentation can be so voluminous that a couple of trips on their motorcycles are necessary. Talk about good money!

Wanna be a Commissioner for Oaths?


Wednesday, September 13, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 3:34 pm

Further to my previous post, I have been wondering what shall I blog about.

Grandma's funeral was last Saturday and it was based on Taoist rites as she and the majority of my family members and relatives are Taoists. I am one of the rare few Christians in the family. I was not "alien" to the rituals because I am a Christian convert in 1998.

Anyway, having experienced a Taoist funeral rites again, I realised that there is no eulogy made during the funerals. I could not make out clearly what the Taoist priest was saying as he was speaking in Hokkien. Well, yes, I am a Hokkien but the Hokkien that he spoke was pure and directly translated from the chinese characters whereas mine was more of a "market-talk" Hokkien. Eulogies, on the other hand, take place in a Christian funeral and I think it serves a good purpose as it, inter alia, records and compliments what the deceased has achieved during their lifetime. More often than not, sweet memories were recalled which brings smiles to people's faces.

I shall now attempt to give an appropriate Eulogy in memory of my late grandmother.

My late grandmother is the last of my surviving grandparents. I knew her the most out of the four of them. My paternal grandparents passed away before dad and mum got married. My maternal grandfather passed away when I was only 7 and I can only recall very few things about him.

My late grandmother is a shy person. Yes, she comes across as a lady who is always shy to burden others. Very "khek ki" as they say in Hokkien. She is always smiling and humble in heart and kind to her children and grandchildren.

During the 80s, I loved visiting her at her home in Pontian Kechil, Johor, Malaysia as there is a large compound to play with. Remember my previous post "The Boy with the Coconut"? That was a picture taken from my grandmother's old house. Yes, I used to roll coconuts on the ground, catch tadpoles from the drain as well as flying dragonflies. Grandmother used to rear some chickens and I am always very excited when it's feeding time when she starts sprinkling feed on the ground.

Apart from that, grandmother is very hospitable. Visits to her home is never complete without tasting her home-brewed local coffee. I used to drink her coffee (mixed with condensed milk) so much when I was about 2 or 3 years old that I was promptly told that my skin might turn darker if I had continued to do so. (No offense to my darker skinned readers intended). I duly stopped drinking coffee from then. But my relatives swore by her home-brew. That is not the only good stuff she serves. Who can ever forget her "Tau Yu Bak" (Stewed Pork in Dark Soya Sauce)? She cooks them over charcoal fire and the pork (with its fat) almost melts in the mouth. One thing I always notice is that she prefers to squat when she peels garlic, onions etc rather than working on a tabletop. Such is her stamina which will put a lot of youngsters to shame!

Grandmother also likes to watch cantonese tv serials though she does fall asleep halfway sometimes. It is just something to keep her occupied. When I see her dozed off, I would usually ask her to retire to bed instead so that it would be more comfortable but she will say she wants to continue watching and almost immediately after, doze off again!

During times when I was naughty and the cane beckons, I will usually seek cover from Grandmother. Of course, mum will be furious and tried to give me a good spanking whilst I will hide behind Grandmother who will be protecting me like how kids play "Mother Hen". Even though she tried to tell mum to stop spanking me, she also told me that I should not have been naughty in the first place. At least, she was not spoiling me.

Many relatives and friends attended Grandmother's wake and funeral service which is a testament of the respect many give to her. Grandmother leaves behind 7 children (1 deceased), many grandchildren and a couple of great-grandchildren (including my two daughters).

Her favourite song is "The Moon represents my heart" - a mandarin song sung by the late Teresa Teng. It was played by the brass band prior to the funeral procession and it moved the hearts of many, including mine.

Truly, her life has been a symbol of love, patience, humbleness and kindness.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 10:30 am

I have been away for a week.

Grandma passed away peacefully last Tuesday (05.09.2006) at the ripe old age of 90. I pray that she is now in the arms of God.

I am now back in the office and have much work to clear.

I'll be back blogging soonest possible.


Monday, September 04, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 2:17 pm

"Jangan main-main dengan saya" ("Don't play play (fool around) with me"). So says Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein to groups of gangsters which have been targeting students as potential recruits.

"Hunt them to the end of the earth" Datuk Seri says as he vows to ensure that our students and younger generation will not be spoiled by these gangs.

Commendable indeed. I hope Datuk Seri realises that gangsterism has existed for many years and has much connection in some schools in the country. I truly hope that he will, once and for all, chase these crooks to the end of the earth and save our students from corruption of morals. Why am I so hopeful? I encountered them myself during my schooling days.

Back in the 90s, I had the privilege of attending 2 different secondary schools because my dad was transferred from one town to another. Let's just name them School A and School B.

I was in School A in 1987 as a First Former. It is a boys' school (though now it is a co-ed school). I enrolled into that school with my best friend from primary school (it's natural to want to be with your best friend). I remembered what my best friend told me before we went to School A for the very first day of school "Stick close to me. If anybody ask you to "join them", just politely decline". My best friend's elder brother who happens to study in the same school was a school prefect. We were warned about gangsters. I was still innocently wondering what are these gangsters about.

On the very first day of school, I followed my best friend. We were at the school canteen waiting for the school session to start when true enough, we were approached by some students (who do no tuck in their shirt to look cool and tough) to join them for a fee. We were told that we would be protected by big brothers from outside the school if we were ever bullied. We politely declined. Luckily, they left us alone. There are, however, some students who bought into their stories and joined these gangs. We see monies exchanging hands (I was told then that the fee ranges from RM20.00 onwards per month) and recruits kneeling down in front of "big brother" offering a bottle of coke as a sign of respect. Not unlike triad movies. Only that these students need not go through more elaborate rituals like slaughtering a cockerel and drinking blood. It was not uncommon to see student gangs squaring off in school over some issues. I once saw some students (gangs) challenging each other to fights using broken soft-drink bottles. There were chinese gangs, indian gangs and of course, malay gangs. Foul language was part of their vocabulary and classroom tables were adorned with vulgar graffitis.

I was transferred to School B in Form 2. It is a co-ed school. I thought it would be a good change. How wrong I was. In Form 4, I was appointed a Deputy Head Prefect and I was given a nickname in school as "Ngeow Chee" (something to do with being very picky, I think) by the naughty boys. One day, during the school assembly, I told a fellow student to keep quiet as he was blabbering away with his friends whilst the school principal was addressing the students.

Now, a good habit in School B is that prefects are required to do gardening work in the school compound every fortnight (if I remembered well). So there I was, with other prefects doing gardening one Friday afternoon. I was walking towards a school block when I was cornered by about 5 boys (including the boy I asked to shut up). Unfortunately, I was cornered at an area which was not visible to other students in school. What happened? I was given a slap in the face for telling their friend to shut up during assembly. I was also threatened with more harm if I continued my ways. Some of these boys are not from school as they seemed more adult looking than students. Anyway, I told my discipline teacher about it. Imagine my disappointment when I was told "not to be so strict next time".

What the? Here I am discharging my duties for which I was appointed and you are not there to defend me or offer to investigate when I was given a slap and threatened? I lost all respect I had for that teacher of mine from that day onwards. He was probably more afraid that these boys will turn against him if he took any further action in this matter.

So, Datuk Seri, if you are reading this blog (ha! ha! I wish!), please be a hero to all the innocent students out there! Hunt them to the end of the earth! If you succeed, I will consider voting for you to be the next UMNO leader (so that you can become the Prime Minister) if you stand for elections so that you can then hunt all the other rotten scoundrels of this nation to the end of the earth!


posted by PabloPabla at 12:57 pm

Today, the police announced that compound rates for traffic offences have been slashed. According to the IGP Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Omar, the review of rates was made in view of the financial difficulties caused by the rising cost of living faced by the public.

What kind of a logic is that? Tan Sri might as well have proposed to the Government prior to Budget 2007 to amend all existing laws to slash all kinds of fines under existing laws because the rakyat is burdened with the rising cost of living. Is Tan Sri trying to appease the public after the recent fiascos regarding the videotaping of a lady subjected to a nude squat and two detainees subjected to physical abuse by the police? It seems like a good public relations exercise to me.

Citizens who break the law of the country ought to pay for their mistake. They ought to think twice before flouting the laws. Let them feel the pinch for otherwise, how would they learn? Afterall, the fines collected contributes to the nation's revenue.

I truly cannot comprehend the logic behind this rate reduction exercise. Can you?


Friday, September 01, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 10:29 am

A picture is worth more than a thousand words. What about a video?

Is this part of our future generation? A generation with clear disregard of traffic rules? No safety helmets worn and riding on one wheel with the pillion rider in a standing position? Are they meant to be glorified with the latest tag (Mat Rempit Mat Cemerlang) as if it is something really cool?

Let me tell you this.

As an advocate and solicitor who deals with a lot of road accident cases (also known as "runners"), I have seen much cases of tragedy, pain and suffering. Motorists especially motorcyclists with broken limbs and even smashed up faces come to Court with a gloomy outlook hoping for some compensation from the Insurers of the vehicles which collided into them. Specialist medical reports state that the claimants have residual disabilities which are permanent and these may include inability to squat, walking with a limp, unable to run, unable to lift weights, etc. Family members sobbed when they think about their loved ones who were involved in fatal accidents.

I have been informed on many occasions by my client motorists that these motorcyclists were riding at a "blinding" speed and sometimes without helmets. Some motorcyclists just slam into the rear of motorcars because they were weaving in and out of traffic without realising that the vehicle in front of them had stopped. And have you not seen motorcyclists tailing behind large vehicles (such as lorries) as if they were hitching a ride? These motorcyclists are asking for trouble!

However, thrills take precedence in most cases just like the video above.

What irks me the most is when it is blatantly clear that the motorcyclists are at fault but yet, they chose to try their luck to get some compensation from the other vehicle's Insurer by filing their case in Court. The Insurer has no choice but to appoint solicitors to defend the action and by doing so, incur unnecessary costs. The Insured will have his NCB forfeited. Millions of ringgit are paid out in insurance compensation annually.

It is not as if we do not have the rules and laws regarding road transport. What is lacking is CONSISTENT enforcement of the laws and rules. The Police and JPJ Department MUST conduct more REGULAR checks on these traffic offenders. Issue summonses and go after the offenders to ensure that the summonses are paid. If the government is serious enough to tackle the rising number of accidents per year, the government must come down hard on traffic offenders on a consistent basis.

I still remember many years back, there was a ruling that motorcyclists must wear safety helmets which has a reflector running across the helmets. Police mounted road blocks to ensure that the motorcyclists complied with the ruling. It worked for a while.



posted by PabloPabla at 9:24 am

I had a quick glance at today's newspaper's heading and one article caught my eye.

There is a picture of this little girl sitting on a bench with a snake slithering on her thighs. Apparently, she was confined in a cage with 30 poisonous snakes (including her favourite, a cobra named "Mimah") at a National Day celebration at Primula Beach Resort in Kuala Terengganu. It was reported that she stayed in the cage for about an hour and some of the reptiles were curling up her neck and hands. It was further reported that her father (who is a snake charmer) had exposed Siti Amirah to snakes when she was a one year old toddler. Finally, it was also reported that the crowd applauded loudly when Siti Amirah left the cage.

How could a sane parent expose his child to poisonous snakes notwithstanding he is a snake charmer? Snakes are snakes and these are poisonous snakes. There will always be a possibility that it may decide to strike which by then, may be a little too late for Siti Amirah. What sort of publicity stunt is this to subject a child of tender age to poisonous snakes? Is it to teach the public that such snakes are harmless and that even a three-year-old child could handle it with ease? How could the local authorities sanction and approve such shows? I was not there and I am curious whether medical personnels were on stand-by in case Siti Amirah was bitten by any of the snakes. Are there any notices placed to warn the public not to copy the acts? What about the public? Are children also allowed to view this "show"? Will children who viewed the "show" be given the impression that they are as capable of handling snakes like what Siti Amirah did if they come across one? How about the snakes? Are they being stressed out with all the handling and attention?

I really cannot understand the value of such shows being conducted. It is not the first time though I must say, probably the first with such a young toddler as the star of the show. If the father wants to educate the public on how to handle snakes, a documentary should be made with him as the star not unlike the documentaries on animals seen on television. Let him handle the snakes and teach the audience a thing or two about the reptiles' behaviour and how to avoid injury to people as well as the reptiles themselves. That would be far more meaningful and contribute more to society than subjecting his daughter to an hour's play time in a snake pen like a freak show.