Wednesday, April 25, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 4:46 pm

I just got back from LHDN after dutifully submitting my Income Tax form. I was at the Pandan Indah branch, which is located at the MPAJ Building. For the second year running, I was really holding myself from cursing at those incompetent officers of LHDN. Really. You need the patience of a saint whenever you have to deal with these government departments.

Just like last year, the incoming stream of traffic was endless. Well that's good. Citizens are exercising responsibility in submitting their tax returns on time. They must have taken precious time from work to get to LHDN. For many, if not all who submitted their forms in person (or through an agent), the thing they want the most is the acknowledgement from LHDN that their returns have been submitted before the deadline. Otherwise, they would have posted their returns and left it to the mercy of Pos Malaysia to deliver the forms on time (if at all it gets delivered).

In order to submit their forms, tax payers had to park their car somewhere (or had someone waiting in the car) and walk up to the foyer of MPAJ building (through some dingy looking alley) to be greeted by a table or two of clerks who will stamp the forms. Come on...have some added sense of efficiency here. They could have directed traffic up to the foyer and have some kind of drive-thru service. Even MacDonalds and some banks could do that. Pass the returns through the window, get it stamped and off you go. It's so simple. No need to park your vehicles at all. Have a few of such stations along the way and believe me, traffic will move so much faster. Or perhaps, it was a ploy by LHDN and MPAJ (plus their parking operators) to make more money from parking? Hopefully not. If I had to look at sometime positive from this year's experience compared to last year's, at least this year we need not take any number before we wait for our turn to hand in the returns. But really, what kind of people are tax payers paying to do their jobs? Use some brains.

Did I hear someone mention using E-filing? I don't trust it. Not at all. So, blame me for getting myself inconvenienced with the traffic jam and all.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 1:27 pm

I just got involved in an accident and my right leg is slightly sore now with a bit of skin peeled off. My office is located above a sports shop and they sell hurdles (you know, the one that athletes run and jump over) amongst other things. So, here I am, walking back to office after lunch, stopped over at the post box to collect the mail and was going through the envelopes one by one when I tripped over the legs of the hurdles (the hurdles were stacked up quite high).

Thankfully, my right hand (which was free) managed to hold onto one of the legs of the hurdles. Otherwise, my face would have landed onto it and I would have sustained injuries which are far worse. It is truly like a scene from Mr. Bean or some slapstick comedy. But it is no fun. I did not bring my camera today...and I wouldn't want to scare some readers over the bruise and peeling skin.

Moral of the story : Don't read whilst you are walking! Ouch!


Tuesday, April 17, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 3:44 pm

We are not? Think again. It is not uncommon for parents to want to send their kids to the "best" school there is. Every year, there is a mad scramble amongst parents to register their kids to the best primary or secondary school as long as transportation arrangements permit. Some schools will always get the "preferred" school tag whilst some will always be the "last resort" school, never mind even if the latter is just a walk down the road from the house.

Why is this so? Why should parents queue up early in the morning to register their kids to these schools which are perceived or perhaps proven by academic achievements to be the better school? Do they think that by their kids studying in these schools their success is guaranteed? Or perhaps, there is a better chance of them succeeding? What is the measure of success anyway? Getting more As than the other student? Or earning a higher salary than the other guy down the street? Or making a better difference in the lives of another? If success is measured in the first two examples, perhaps...just perhaps the kid might get a head start in a "better" school. If it is the last example, I believe it does not depend on the standing of the school involved.

Just a question to ponder...will a student who study in a "better" school feel more superior to his counterpart who is studying in a "less wanted" school? Afterall, he would have graduated from a prestigious school. Again, it is not uncommon for the student to feel that his or her school is the "better" school because their academic achievement far surpasses what the other school could achieve. An elitist attitude being formed? Perhaps. It may not be apparent but the attitude may be subtly ingrained.

Which brings me to the latest proposal to rank Smart Schools with stars from one to five to indicate resource usage, human capital, applications and technology infrastructure. So, one Smart School might have 3 stars whilst another might have 5 stars. Does it make the former less Smart than the latter? As it is, the word Smart School already shows the wrong kind of values which we are trying to associate our students with. Does one student who study in a Smart School automatically or is perceived to be smarter than one who does not study in a Smart School? Adding star ranking system (though it appears not to be pegged to academic achievements) will further fuel the kiasuism attitude which is slowly but surely taking place in our society. Given a choice, can you honestly say to yourself that you will enrol your child in a 3-star Smart School if a place in a 5-star Smart School is available (say an additional 10 km away)? And if your child were to ask you why you decide to choose the latter, would you say "It's better and will give you an edge over the students in the former school"? If that is not kiasuism, I don't know what is.


Thursday, April 12, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 4:43 pm

I was reading this report on Brush of luck with baby’s first hair today and was just amused with the whole story about giving a headstart to one's baby by harvesting the baby’s first strands of hair and have it fashioned into a calligraphy brush. Apparently, this tradition dates back to the Tang Dynasty with a catch : only boys were given this gift. Auspicious words were also engraved onto the calligraphy brush.

Parents pay at least RM88 for this custom made brush. The prices go up depending on the material and intricacy of the handle. It was reported that some parents are willing to pay up to RM888 for this brush. If it was just a unique way to preserve the baby's hair, yeah why not? It is definitely something to remember by, especially if you have a couple of hundred ringgit to spend.

But do they really think this calligraphy brush will bring some kind of luck to the child? That the brush will somehow boost up their intellect and cause them to score As in their exams in future? I won't be surprised if some parents think it is possible a brush like this (what with the auspicious words) may very well change the fortune of the child in future. Then again, is the child supposed to use the brush in his studies or future endeavours to obtain the mystical powers from the brush? Or will it just be as influential when it is kept in a nice box away from pesky dusts and pests? I for one will not even think of wanting to use such a brush (if given to me by my parents) as it would be deemed to have "tainted" the beauty of the brush with the ink and all. So, better to keep it in the cabinet. It will just be another expensive item kept in the cabinet...probably admired once a year during spring cleaning. Meanwhile, the brush maker grins from ear to ear as the fad picks up and orders come in.

Who do you think is the lucky one here? ;)


Wednesday, April 11, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 5:15 pm

My Church (Wesley Methodist Church Kuala Lumpur - phone no. 20720477) will be organising a Food & Fun Fair on 05.05.2007 (Saturday) between 10am till 4pm. The primary objective of this fair is to celebrate our church's 110th anniversary this year and to build community life amongst its members. The secondary objective is to raise funds for our church redevelopment project as we are facing space constraints. A multi-storey building is expected to be constructed within the church compound to replace one of the existing 2 storeyed building.

I am one of the members in the organising committee for the Food & Fun Fair and would like to promote this event to all of you. Perhaps not those who profess to be Muslims due to the local laws that apply.

If you would like to support this event by attending the Food & Fun Fair, you can either do call the church to buy your tickets or get them from me (I will courier the coupons to you) by emailing to me. My email is on the top right hand corner of this blog. The coupons are priced at RM20.00 per book with multiple denominations.

If you would still like to support but unable to attend, you can still send money to the church (please call the church for details) or send to me via paypal or direct to my Maybank account (please email me of your intention and instructions). The monies received by me will be used to purchase the food coupons (at multiples of RM20.00) and will be channelled to orphanages so that they may be blessed as well.

This is a bona fide event and I stand by my word here. For reference or complaints, you can check with Paris Beaverbanks (she knows my real name and which law firm I work in) or Daryl Lau (who is my neighbour).


By the way, how silly of me to have left out the directions to the Church!! Okay, click here for the map and here for the website of the church. The website is currently a bit old-styled but it will be revamped with a new look in May!!

And yes, if you want to see how I look like, come to the Kerabu Meehoon food stall on that day and you will see me ;)


posted by PabloPabla at 11:28 am

What a night to remember! It was a night to remember for both Manchester United and Roma fans. Delirious joy for Manchester United fans and despair and embarassment for Roma fans. On a night when Manchester United inflicting probably one of the most humbling trashing ever seen on Champions League (and perhaps the European Cup as well), one player's name kept ringing in my head.

Francesco Totti. Widely touted as the best Italian player at the moment in Serie A was quoted to have said during an interview with Sky Sports "Ferguson, you will learn who Totti is". "He will see personally. I hope to make him remember my name." That was an interview before the 1st leg of the quarterfinals slightly over a week ago. And well...there were bragging rights. Mr. Totti did not score but he inspired Roma to a 2-1 defeat of the Red Devils wherein the Red Devils were playing with 10 men for most of the match. The Romans smell blood and came to Old Trafford feeling confident of shutting out the Red Devils, what more with the latter's injury crisis and suspension of their influential playmaker, Paul Scholes.

I was feeling doubtful myself. Perhaps, Mr. Totti will really make Sir Alex Ferguson remember his name. Could United really pull it off?

I only woke up at 4pm. Feeling rather groggy and struggling to peel open my eyes, I fumbled for the switch to the television. Turned on the table lamp and pressed 8TV on the remote. 5-0. What? Was it 5 to Roma? No. It was 5-0 to United! I rubbed my eyes and strained to look at the score again. Woohoo! I couldn't believe it. It's true. And within minutes, Carrick scored his second to make it 6-0. It didn't end that way. The final score was 7-1. United 7 Roma 1.

Frankly, I think the Roma players were hoping that time would just zoom by and save them the despair of having to defend wave after wave of attack by the United players even when they were 5 nil down. And Mr. Totti was rather lost. It was a lost cause. I am sure he will remember this match for a very very long time.

Glory Glory Man United!!!


Tuesday, April 10, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 5:21 pm

With the lack of opportunities available in PayPerPost for bloggers hosted in blogspot nowadays, it looks like there will be more non-paid posts appearing in this blog. In a way, it's refreshing. I realised that there were so many paid posts that sometimes, it just makes this blog look unappealing. Traffic statistics do show.

Hence, save and except for the immediate previous post, the preceding 4 posts were non-paid posts and it's good to be able to concentrate more on current and reflective issues...more like what this blog started out to be. looks like I do miss my old blog after all...


posted by PabloPabla at 5:04 pm

The folks at PayPerPost are going CRAZY again! You can never predict the kind of silly give aways they are coming up with. Currently, the thousands of PayPerPost posties are checking their dashboard every minute or so looking for that elusive USD500 opp to pay. And before the craziness has gone down, they are coming up with another idea which is to set the longest blog comment chain attempt in the world!! It sure will be something fun.

According to the fellas at PayPerPost, the most comments they have seen in a post is in the region of 350! Wah lau eh! I don't even get 20 comments on a single post. And now the folks are gunning for not 500, not 750 but 2000 comments!!!! I did not add too many zeros. You read it correctly. It's 2000 comments in a single post. Of course, the comment must not be a one or two worded comment like "Oh yeah!" but it must be "unique human generated comments of 25 words or more each generated within 1 week of the original post".

Now, what does this mean to you and me? For PayPerPost, it will absolutely take the blogosphere by storm, if they had not already done so. The kind of additional publicity they generate will probably result in their server crashing due to massive response. Companies will take notice and hopefully, join the advertisers' bandwagon seeing the popularity and reach of bloggers and their blogs. And for us posties, heh heh heh, it's more opportunities coming our way.

So, excuse me, I'm off to enter my comments to make it work! Are you?


posted by PabloPabla at 1:14 pm

A Malaysian blogger managed to grab the USD100.00 opp given by PayPerPost this afternoon at 3.30pm! It was supposed to have been launched at 1.oopm Malaysian time but somehow it was delayed. I suppose it gives the bloggers at the Far East a chance to grab it at an earthly hour.

Congratulations goes to Daryl!!!! Way to go man!

Now...a check on today's top earner shows only Daryl aka Weng earned USD100.00. Where are the other 4 USD100 posties and the big USD500 post??? Does it mean it is still available? Go check your dashboard and see...


posted by PabloPabla at 10:43 am

Further to my post about how sick this society is becoming, comes a Minister who actually has some caring sense. I am talking about Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil. In giving her comment on two 8 year olds in Kota Baru taking part in kickboxing or muay thai, she said that if it can harm children, the relevant authorities ought to examine the matter carefully. [source]

Rightly so. It is not that kickboxing should be banned at all. Rather, I believe that it is not suitable for children of tender age as it is obvious that their musculo-skeletal formation has yet to reach maturity.

Malaysian Council for Child Welfare (MKKM) secretary Ismail Majid said the important factors were if they (children) participated willingly, and if proper protective gear was provided. He said for instance silat, karate and taekwondo had proper protective gear, and as for muay thai, only boxing gloves were provided, while the feet and most of the other parts of the body were exposed.
No, Encik Ismail Majid. The important factor is not whether the children participated willingly but whether the child appreciates the danger/s from this contact sport. Frankly, from my observation, most boys of tender age are influenced by fighting scenes from television and would not hesitate to show a kung fu stance or two in jest. Well, I guess it's okay to pretend to be Wong Fei Hung or Jacky Chan or Jet Li by showing a stance WITHOUT involving contact with another. It's another thing when actual sparring takes place. Do you seriously think that the children of their age will think about the consequence of injuries or be able to appreciate the dangers of the sport? I doubt so. And don't tell me without blinking of an eye that there is no danger involved in this sport.

That's why I reiterate again that these type of sports should not be encouraged or participated by children as young as 8 years old (or even younger...they started from 3!) because the potential injuries outweigh whatever benefit that could be obtained. Hey! I did not participate in Muay Thai at any point of my life. Does it make me less disciplined?

I do hope the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development will look into this matter seriously and make the necessary recommendation before some kid gets hurt. By then, it may be too late.


Monday, April 09, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 12:39 pm

A strong messaged video ... thought provoking.


posted by PabloPabla at 9:45 am

Reading yesterday's newspaper, my belief that this society is getting sicker by the day is reinforced when I saw this picture: -

What right thinking adult would condone such an act, let alone called a sport, amongst children as young as 8 years old? According to the newsreport, these kids (they are still kids and have yet to reach the age of puberty!!) have been exposed to this sport when they were not much older than toddlers. These kids are deeply encouraged by their grandmother and mother respectively. Come on! Are there no other sport to get them involved with?

This is kickboxing or popularly known as Muay Thai where the shins are, amongst other parts of the leg, used to kick the opponent. I am no doctor and I have taken no time to do any research on the subject of orthopaedics but wouldn't this type of contact sport affect the overall bone growth of the child? Okay, perhaps some might argue that other contact sports like Taekwondo also pose as much threat but I believe those contact sports require the use of protective gear (shin pads). Muay Thai is almost all-exposed (save for the oversized punching gloves).

I am most appalled that the authorities have allowed this sport to be participated by children as young as 8 years old and what more, in a competitive environment where loud cheers go towards the combatants. What happens if one of the children suffers broken bones or serious injuries as a result of the sport? Who will be held responsible? These children are not old enough to appreciate the danger of the sport. Heck! Even kids up to 12 years old are not recognised to have sufficient maturity to cross the roads, what more to say participating in combat sports with adults cheering you on. This is no game.

And hey! There are simply better ways to nurture discipline that can help build personality and confidence contrary to what Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin said today.


Friday, April 06, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 3:03 pm

Ho hum....after all the hoo haa, we get the standard reply from the honourable Deputy Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor. I think the newspaper companies in this country are run by a bunch of incompent people who are unable to employ news reporters with proper hearing or interpretation of what politicians have got to say. More often than not, these honourable elected ministers and their deputies and their legs and hands (kakitangan) have innocently been misquoted resulting in the public giving undeserved comments (or curses) at them. These kind of irresponsible reporting by newspapers have resulted in the public having hallucinations and creating all kinds of stories of fear as if the government wanted to hinder their freedom which is enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

Anyway, for all you news reporters out there, this is what the honourable Deputy Minister meant:-

PUTRAJAYA: The Government's plan to register all bloggers using locally hosted websites is merely to collect a data rather then to censor the contents, Deputy Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor said.

He said the Government's move should not be misconstrued as hindering bloggers from continuing with their activities.

"The plan to register bloggers is merely to assess the situation and keep track on how many bloggers there are in the country and on the information provided by them.

"It has nothing to do with censoring the contents in the blogs," he said, adding that the plan to register had yet to be finalised by the Government.

Shaziman also said Singapore had started registering its bloggers while Thailand, China and Middle East countries practiced censorship of its local blogs.

He was clarifying his statement made in Parliament earlier this week that the plan to register bloggers was a measure by the Government to prevent the spread of negative or malicious content on the Internet. [source]

Register lah!


posted by PabloPabla at 9:26 am

For Malaysians, especially those with PayPal accounts and especially for those who blog for money and seeing their funds accumulate, it can be distressing to know that PayPal funds cannot be withdrawn directly into Malaysian bank accounts. So far, there are some ways recommended such as using the VMI card method. However, there are costs and fees involved. Since I don't earn triple or four digit income from PayPal every month, I had to find a way to withdraw without incurring costs or fees. And I did.

I asked my sister to do it. My sister resides in Singapore and PayPal funds can be withdrawn using Singapore bank accounts. So, I set up a PayPal account for her, transferred my PayPal funds to her PayPal account and then, had the money withdrawn through her bank account. No fees or commission incurred! Woohoo!!!

So, if you have any relatives staying or studying in Singapore, use this method (if you don't mind them knowing how much you have in your PayPal account) and get your hard earned cash minus the transaction fees.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 10:09 am

I've removed the Nuffnang Ad from this website. Why? I can't seem to find a suitable spot on the sidebar at the right hand side. So, I placed it at the top of every post. However, this has irked some of the advertisers of PayPerPost resulting in some of my PPP posts being kept on hold until the advertisement was removed (they have no problems with Google Adsense though). They don't like the prominence of the Nuffnang ad.

Since no advertiser has advertised at this site through Nuffnang todate, and considering that it is more profitable to earn through PayPerPost (if you have not signed up, you don't know what you are missing), Nuffnang Ads gotta go.

So, bye bye Nuffnang!


Tuesday, April 03, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 9:30 am

I confess that blogs are meant to be an expression of a blogger's mind. Or at least, that was how it was originally created many many moons ago. However, there are times when something useful or informative or instructive comes along and a blogger wants to share it with others. The words speak for themselves and there is actually no need to add on to them. And this is one of them. It may seem to be only applicable to mothers. But it is also applicable to fathers. And for those who are not parents, it is also applicable to you in relation to your parents. Even though it came through a Christian organisation, the values are universal. It's reflective. Do read it.

Before I Fly Off the Handle Again
By Lysa TerKeurst

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” (Deuteronomy 4:9, NIV)


It was a simple request. I had asked my daughters to practice their piano pieces before the teacher arrived for lessons. When they didn’t listen to my request, I became angry.

Anger was not the correct response. The way I should have responded was to calmly reprimand their disobedience and give them a consequence for their poor choice. But anger pushed my emotions beyond calm into chaos. My voice went higher in pitch and stronger in volume. Children not practicing their piano lessons should not have caused me to get so angry. What was the real issue here?

The week before the piano teacher had informed me that it was evident my kids had not had enough practice time. When she said this, my mind kicked into overdrive as I defined what she must have meant by this statement. Good moms make sure their children practice at least 30 minutes a day. Good moms help their kids stay on top of their theory assignments. Good moms ensure each child makes progress that week.

I held these unspoken but assumed interpretations up against my reality. The reality was I had no idea if my kids had even sat at the piano once that week. When I held my reality up against what I assumed to be her standard, I fell horribly short. I let my kids’ poor choices be a defining reflection of what kind of mother I am. Ever been there?

There are three fundamental parenting truths that we would do well to remember in situations like this. First, refuse to dive below the surface of people’s comments and blow them out of proportion. We moms can really do a number on ourselves with crazy assumptions, misinterpretations and dangerous comparisons. The reality was the teacher made a simple statement that my kids could use some more practice. So, tackle that issue plain and simple.

Second, there should be consequences for irresponsibility so that the pressure to remember is on them, not me. My kids are old enough to remember to practice piano on their own. If they make an irresponsible choice, they should feel embarrassed, not me.

Finally, I must operate in truth when it comes to my identity. Just because someone forgets to practice their piano, or does one of the hundreds of other irresponsible things kids do, does not change my identity. I am not a perfect mom, but I am a good mom. A good mom’s job is to love her kids, correct them, and model godly attitudes, actions, and reactions.

Dear Lord, Give me Your definition of what a good mom is for my specific children. You have entrusted these precious souls to me, and I don’t want to mess up. Help me hold on to Your truths and to resist Satan’s pull toward comparisons and assumptions. Help me keep my emotions in check and my heart in tune with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Monday, April 02, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 2:07 pm

It is such a nice experience to be paid really quick after an assignment was completed. I am referring to ReviewMe. This guys pay you on the 1st of every month if you have some earnings payable to you in the preceding month. After so many months of having this blog approved for ReviewMe, I finally a review opportunity given to me which struck something really close to my heart. Needless to say, I took up that opportunity.

Today, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from paypal informing me that I have funds payable to me from ReviewMe!!! And the best thing is, this is my biggest paycheck so far for a single post compared to what I get from the other paid posting programmes I've signed up with.

I'm getting closer to my dream notebook!


posted by PabloPabla at 10:11 am

My new blog called Blogsreview.Net is now picking up the momentum. I've got a couple of requests for me to review their blogs and I think that should keep me occupied till the end of the week. There is only a limited amount of time I could spare for this hobby of mine considering that work still takes precedence.

It is indeed humbling to know that people will consider giving me a chance to review their blogs. It also takes courage for them to request a review of their blog especially not knowing whether the review will turn out positive or negative. However, what I learn most from this experience is that reviewing another person's blog actually gives me far more benefits in terms of blogging. That is because I am now forced to read some people's blogs which I have never done before and this broadens my view on the many different ways and styles of blogging. Moreover, I have also made some new friends through this experience.

I am going to like this a lot!