Friday, June 29, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 4:41 pm

Can you avoid "Made in China" goods? Quite difficult really because many items are made in China nowadays. From clothing to electrical goods to food and even automobile, made in China goods are flooding the world market. It is not difficult to see why this is so. With the opening of their doors, many foreign companies are investing in China by opening up factories to produce their goods at a much reduced cost compared to production at home. Trouble is, sometimes quality control might be lacking. Yet, due to its competitive pricing, consumers don't mind purchasing these goods. Sometimes there is not much choice really.

Of greater concern lately is the numerous reports of tainted or defective goods coming from the land called China. Just do a google search and you will find various reports on product recalls, the latest being some alleged defective tyres. So much so that Democratic Senator Richard Durbin, a top campaigner in the US Congress for tighter food safety laws said that "I think we have reached a point unfortunately where 'made in China' is now a warning label in the United States".

So, do you use a lot of made in China goods?

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Thursday, June 28, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 3:20 pm

My wife said I should. Should I? I mean, it is not that she asked me to bring her along. I wanted to go. She didn't say she want to follow. But my wife said I should bring her along. It would be great for a Father - Daughter outing.

Perhaps. She would enjoy herself, I think. After all, she will get to eat something which she really likes. Not now though. Because she is having a little cough. So, the outing shall have to be postponed a while. Moreover, it is probably not possible to go for the outing now.

In case you are wondering what kind of outing, it's TRANSFORMERS!

I can't wait to watch my heros (albeit in a modified form) on the big screen. And it would be nice to have my daughter along. She can baby sit me whilst I stay glued to the screen! She can have all the popcorns she want. Provided daddy gets the tickets first. Have you got your tickets?

And oh, any comments on the movie itself is not welcomed. I have refrained from reading blogs talking about the movie until I see the movie for myself :P


Tuesday, June 26, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 12:23 pm

Another case of another politician who ought to have just kept his mouth shut than to open himself up for lambasting. I just can't help but to blog about this after reading the reports in the Malaysian Bar website and local news portals.

Which one am I talking about this time? It's Datuk M. Kavyeas, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

What issue am I talking about? It's about CTOS, short form for Credit Tip Off Service Sdn Bhd. Wonder what CTOS is all about? In a nutshell, they keep a database containing information on legal cases filed in Court. The information is obtained from advertisements or through some searches which CTOS makes. The database serves as a historical record for interested parties to conduct searches. Hence, it is no wonder that financial institutions rely heavily on CTOS to provide a historical record on a prospective customer. More often than not, if a prospective customer has a previous Court case which is captured in CTOS, the financial institution will either reject the prospective customer or subject him to further checks on credit worthiness. Recently, it was reported that one-third of the Members of Parliament of Malaysia have their names recorded in CTOS's database.

What riled me was the Deputy Minister's remarks reported by Utusan Malaysia that the government had never issued a licence to the company to conduct searches and store personal information of the public.

"What right does the company have to keep personal data of members of the public? Who gave the permission?

"The government is concerned by banks and financial institutions using the services of this company to obtain information on their clients and the public," he told reporters when asked about complaints by several people who found themselves to be on the CTOS blacklist as a result of their financial problems or having failed to make their loan repayments.

Come on! Are you saying that the government just knew about the existence of CTOS yesterday? Or are you only aware about it now? CTOS has been around for a couple of years now and it is not even a secret that financial institutions rely upon CTOS to conduct historical checks. If I am not mistaken, even some of the forms for banking facilities to be signed by prospective customers even empower and grant consent to the financial institutions to conduct checks through CTOS (or other credit reference agencies). Bank Negara Malaysia does not know about this? Who are you trying to kid?

Datuk M. Kayveas was a practicing lawyer before. I think his wife is still a lawyer and the law firm still has his name. Most, if not all lawyers, know about CTOS and its functions. If he had said "We will look into the suitability and desirability of CTOS keeping personal details of individuals bla bla bla", I would not have been as appalled. But to say "What right does the company have to keep personal data of members of the public? Who gave the permission?" suggests that he doesn't even know about this happening for the past couple of years. It is suggesting that CTOS has been operating in secret, away from the knowledge of the authorities, including the Home Ministry. Perhaps Special Branch is also unaware of this company and it's services. Or have they been keeping themselves wilfully blind all these while?

Totally shocking indeed!

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Friday, June 22, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 3:44 pm

The saga of foreign maids (especially Indonesians) in Malaysia is maid (made) to last. The struggle between who is right and who is wrong will never be resolved as this is not a one-off problem but one which involves thousands of maids and thousands of employers, not to mention, hundreds of maid agencies. As usual, there will always be the finger pointing from each of the aggrieved parties.

The maid will claim abuse (physical or mental) at the hands of the employers whilst the latter will usually claim incompetence or unsuitability of the maids. The maid agencies will claim that it is either the maid's fault or the employer's fault. Would you blame them? As an employer previously, I have had to deal with my own maid. Sometimes, she performed well, sometimes she just drives you up the wall. What would you think when your maid slams the table in defiance? Or when she chooses to read the newspapers rather than monitoring a toddler who is happily walking all over the house oblivious to the dangers?

The government is not having an easy problem to resolve. I would support their efforts to clamp down hard on errant maid agencies which were suspected of questionable practices of "recycling maids". So, I was quite pleased to note that 19 maid agencies were suspended for various allegations. The report states "Nineteen maid agencies risk having their licences revoked if they cannot disprove the allegations and complaints made against them. Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad said their licences had since been suspended and they have until the end of the month to appeal." The names of the maid agencies were published as well.

A reading of the report suggests that the allegations and complaints must have been found to be true. However, what surprised me was the fact that these agencies were not informed of the allegations or complaints lodged against them! No wonder The Malaysian Association of Foreign Housemaids (PAPA) has voiced out in immediate response to the news report. Now, wouldn't the government have deemed it necessary to issue show cause letters to the said maid agencies and giving them the right to be heard before any punitive action is taken? Or is this a case of a knee-jerk reaction in view of the adverse publicity that the country has been getting lately on treatment of migrant workers? If this is indeed a knee-jerk reaction without establishing a proven case against any or all of the maid agencies, will the government compensate the maid agencies and their customers, not to mention the prospective maids, for the inconvenience, loss of income, damage to reputation and unnecessary expenditure incurred if the allegations and complaints were proven to be unfounded later?

What is sure is that this saga will continue to last and it will never be resolved as we have to remember that we are dealing with humans, not products. Just like there will always be cases of employer-employee disputes in the corporate world, there will always be disputes on the maid-employer area.


posted by PabloPabla at 10:01 am

When I was studying in Leicester, I was impressed with the special access made available for those who are less able. The university itself has ramps leading to lecture halls which is a boon for those on wheelchairs and there are also stair lift for those who need to move up or downstairs. I also find these special access made available in most shopping centres and it goes to show how much the government and public have thoughtfully planned the city. Not so much in Malaysia, I must say.

I was quite fascinated when I saw stairlifts for the first time in my life when I was studying there. Initially I thought even the able bodied can use them if they felt tired of climbing up the stairs but later when I saw what it was meant to be used for, I realised what a great invention this is.

Stairlifts are specialised equipments and Value Stairlifts, a company based in the UK and established in 2001, have been supplying these equipments all across the UK. The stairlifts which I see on their website are definitely much more sophisticated than the ones I encountered when I was studying there. After all, I left the UK in 1996. The types of stairlifts which they supply are the straight stairlifts, outdoor stairlifts, curved stairlifts and standing stairlifts. They even have reconditioned stairlifts, presumably at a cheaper price than new. With so many types of stairlifts available, it is highly probable that they would have the type of stairlifts to suit different needs.

Sponsored by Value Stairlifts


Tuesday, June 19, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 3:24 pm

Sometimes I get really embarassed with my own kind. Even though they are of a different kind. Chinese people sometimes get themselves into the news for the wrong reasons and most of the time, it is due to selfishness and a typical couldn't care about others attitude.

Most of us know that it is the Rice Dumpling Festival (Zhongzi) today and many chinese around the world are making or eating rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves. These dumplings are usually wrapped to resemble a pyramid and it usually contains meat wrapped within glutinous rice. Mum usually makes this but not this year as it is a really tiring exercise.

Anyway, back to the news. A company in Eastern China was caught repackaging 2-year old dumplings. The fillings were repackaged, so to say. How in anyone's mind could such a thought of repackaging 2-year old fillings for purposes of re-selling them for a profit? The authorities should have just gathered the dumplings and fed the owners or culprits dumplings for the next 1 year till the entire stock is exhausted. Let them have a taste of what it is like to have 2-year old dumplings!

And no, I verily believe that chinese people do not indulge in 2 year old dumplings. Century eggs perhaps. But not 2-year old dumplings.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 10:39 am

That's exactly what happened recently. I was at a popular hypermarket in town when I was approached by a credit card sales personnel promoting her bank's latest credit card. It was a cash-back card with annual fee waiver if I conduct at least 6 transactions with the card annually. I thought, why not? After all, the hypermarket is one of the recognised retailer of the credit card which grants a 4% cash back on all purchases. That is as good as RM4.00 discount for every RM100.00 spent. And when you have baby milk powder and diapers to buy every month, cash back in whatever form is more than welcomed!

What surprised me was after I received my credit card (which gave me a flattering credit limit, to which I am most pleased), I received another envelope the following day. I was wondering why they sent me two envelopes as I had already received the credit card applied for the previous day. After opening the envelope, I realised that they have also processed and granted me a Platinum Credit Card with a similar credit limit. They must think that I have made it in life and am on the upper echelon of society where the prestige which comes with the card makes me a highly esteemed person (amongst the couple of thousand others who also received the card). The best thing is, there is also the annual fee waiver with similar terms as the other cash back credit card. That shouldn't be a problem as I pump petrol more often than I shop.

Makes me wonder....if the Platinum Credit Card was issued to me so easily (and I deny that I am amongst the upper class of society as their platinum coloured welcoming brochure claims), how many others also have it. Anyway, whilst I have this Platinum Credit Card, I actually prefer to have my current credit card issuer to upgrade my card instead of the silver which I have been holding for the last 8 years or so. Why? Because their rewards programme rocks!

Actually, if you are holding a credit card now, why do you prefer this card over the others?


Tuesday, June 12, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 12:56 pm

It's almost there. Just another 5 cents and my google adsense would have reached the milestone of $100.00 for the very FIRST time!!!

Wah lau! You can't imagine how long this journey has been. It has taken me more than 100,000 page impressions to reach where I am today. But actually, I am more satisfied with the fact that my blogs have reached more than 100,000 page impressions collectively. Not too bad for a part-timer, don't you think so? Of course, some bloggers out there probably get 100,000 page impressions a day or within a week. But they are of a different league. I seriously doubt I would reach that kind of league. Not that I would be bothered anyway.


posted by PabloPabla at 9:38 am

Actually, I had finished typing out my post and was re-reading it prior to publishing it. It was pretty easy to finish that post as the topic was something which I had heard about. Not the history, of course.

The opportunity was to write about a certain drug rehab programme by Narconon Stone Hawk. I believe I may have written about them before but I can't be absolutely sure. So, after finishing, I was running through the last sentence of my post when somebody's name rang a bell. Apparently, this drug rehab programme is based and inspired by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. Further searches made by me showed that the drug rehab programme at Narconon Stone Hawk is drug free and based upon some Scientology teachings.

Now, I can't possibly be writing and endorsing about that programme. My belief as a Christian much differs from the religion of Scientology and I cannot be possibly acting positively in writing about the Scientology-based drug rehab programme with the chance that someone out there might be influenced by my writing and decided to attend the drug rehab and be exposed to something which I do not subscribe to. My belief tells me to rely on God for He is my Creator. Scientology does not prescribe to that.

And for that reason, I deleted the whole post and turned down the $15 post.


posted by PabloPabla at 9:24 am

Get real! Some of these advertisers think they are doing bloggers a service by paying them but little do they know, the amount they are paying is downright degrading sometimes. I mean, why should a blogger with a PR3 blog write a 300 word review for a mere $5??? Okay, perhaps I should qualify myself and say, yes. There may be some bloggers who would do so.

But for me, $5 definitely does not commensurate with the requirement of a 300 word review. I can get $5 for a quick buzz of minimum 50 words on CouponChief. So, why should I do a review up to 300 words for the same amount for this other advertiser? Anyway, since CouponChief has been so generous with their opportunities and minimal requirements, I have decided to give them further publicity indeed! Did I hear you ask which advertiser asked for a 300 word review in return for $5? Go check out SponsoredReviews.


posted by PabloPabla at 9:13 am

And why should you? Well, Father's Day is around the corner. Be nice and get me a gift. A new pair of sandals would be nice. Why? Because somebody stole my sandals which was placed on top of a shoe rack at the main door of my apartment!!! Now I have to wear my sneakers everytime I need to get downstairs to throw the rubbish.

And since you are nice enough to get me a new pair, let me reward you with some useful online coupons which you can use to get some discounts for your purchase. Why don't you check out the coupons? I think there are some good deals there ;)

Sponsored by CouponChief...and I really really need a pair of sandals fast!


Monday, June 11, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 11:46 am

Back in 1857 or thereabouts, Raja Abdullah sent some chinese miners upriver from Sg. Klang to open new and larger tin mines. These chinese miners reached the confluence of Sungai Gombak (previously known as Sungai Lumpur, which means muddy river) and Sungai Klang (Klang river) to open mines at Ampang. Thereafter, this place is known as Kuala Lumpur. It then became the capital of Malaysia.

Little did they know that the name Kuala Lumpur (which means "muddy confluence" in Malay) foretold what was going to be quite an unsurprising event more than 150 years or so later. Last evening, there was chaos in the city when having experienced 3 hours of rain (Malaysia is placed on the equator, rain or heavy rain for that matter, is not something unusual), the word "muddy confluence" became reality literally.

So, was it a freak storm which many (especially the government and authorities) would like to point to? Blame it on God? As some say, it is an Act of God? Or perhaps, the RM1.0 + billion SMART Tunnel project, whilst it is complete, has yet to be working together with other required ponds and other flood mitigation projects? Or blame it on people who throw rubbish indiscriminately thus blocking the drainage systems. Or blame it on developers who fell trees and caused the rivers to be laden with mud and thus, having a shallower river which is unable to get the water out to sea fast enough.

(Photo Credits TheStarOnline)

Blame it on everyone else but the government and local authorities. But then again, the government has been governing and managing this Country since Independance 50 years ago. Nobody else had the chance to deal with flood mitigating plans. Nobody else had the authority to approve development projects. Nobody else had the authority to enforce laws and bye-laws and what-nots. Nobody could interfere with their governing of this Country, what more to say the pride of the nation, the capital city known as the muddy confluence.

(Photo Credits TheStarOnline)

Truly, how much more should the citizens of Kuala Lumpur tolerate in respect of the half-past-six enforcement of the prevailing laws available? Illegal development projects should be halted and perpetrators severely prosecuted. Litter bugs should be fined. Don't tell me they are unaware. Or are they busy sipping their coffee and tea? If Singapore can do it, why can't we? Unless we take the easy way out by saying Singapore is a small city state and enforcement of the law is much easier. If that is so, then just acknowledge that our laws are for dressing up and menunjuk-nunjuk saja. Acah-acah aje. We mean no harm.

(Photo Credits TheStarOnline)

Spare a thought for those whose lives have constantly been interrupted by frequent flash floods. Not just those whose properties were damaged and businesses disrupted but motorists who get stuck in a hour-long traffic jams whenever a burst of rainfall happens at peak hours. It is getting ridiculous to be spending more than 1 hour on the road for the same distance which you can cover in 15 minutes on a Sunday morning. 30 minutes would be more reasonable and I wouldn't mind.

I dread to think what our tourists might be thinking having seen yesterday's floods after being lured by glossy pages of tourist brochures highlighting the muddy confluence of Kuala Lumpur for Visit Malaysia Year 2007. If you were a tourist, what would you say?


Wednesday, June 06, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 10:34 am

Is it just me? Or do you (if you blog on blogspot) also have the same "problem" that I have? I am referring to the Word Verification function which you must go through before being able to publish your post.

What has happened ever since Blogger "enhanced" their functions to include automatic saving of drafts is that I need to go through Word Verification twice. This just takes an extra step for me to comply with before having my post published. If it was to enter my password, okaylah. However, having to figure out the cursive written words twice and sometimes making mistakes with it)can be a bit frustrating especially when you want to get things done FAST!

Do you have the same Word Verification problem? Anyway, please excuse me as I go and verify the words TWICE to get this post published.


posted by PabloPabla at 9:51 am

The water supply to my office building has been disrupted. So no water available in the toilet. That is not just the only problem. The building's air-conditioning depends on water cooling. So, you guessed it right. The air-conditioner is also not working. Here I am, beads of sweat slowing forming away, trying to get myself as comfortable as I can to get some work done. But it's not easy when you are feeling too darn hot.

The neck-tie will also have to go. Which makes me wonder why some lawyers like to wear their jacket whilst walking under the hot sun to get to or fro the Court. Don't they feel hot at all? Or perhaps they think they are some hot shot lawyer and must be "seen". Frankly, what do you think about lawyers who walk under the sun with a jacket on?


Monday, June 04, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 12:10 pm

I was pretty pleased and at the same time, kinda humbled to know that an article (food review) from this blog was featured in the Sunday Star (Metro Section) yesterday. Thing is, the food review was done a while back and some details stated therein has changed eg. Centrepoint Hotel is no more in existence and what stood there is now Tune Hotel. So, I hope those looking for Nasi Kandar Kudu bin Abdul would not start cursing PabloPabla if they can't find Centrepoint Hotel. I can't possibly be updating all my reviews or articles from time to time. Too many of them and frankly, I might have forgotten ever writing about them.

Anyway, having had this blog mentioned and url printed for all to see, did it bring a deluge of traffic to this blog? You'd be surprise to know that traffic is as per usual. Yup! Being mentioned on national newspaper does not bring in surfing traffic...unless it is something more controversial, I guess. So, if you are thinking of increasing your blog's traffic, getting mentioned in national newspapers does not rank highly or if at all important on the list of tips available.