Monday, December 31, 2007

Taman Negara



I changed my traveling plan, abandoned both Taiwan and Nepal trips but heading to the Taman Negara (National Park) in my country. This world’s oldest rainforest sounds mysterious. I was carrying much hope to enjoy myself but it turned out disappointing instead. The programs organized by the agent are suck, far too short to explore/ experience the charm of the nature. These standard packages are not eye-opening at all, rather bored. They are over commercialized, trails have been seriously rampaged and not one monkey is seen. The guide didn’t provide professional knowledge to help understanding the rainforest better.

Reluctant to leave the NP with disappointment, I extended another day in the park and explore the trails less traveled by the “ordinary” tourists. It was much much better… Trekking in the forest, mostly alone, enveloped in the shades of trees, hoping to catch a glimpse of tiger or bear (I know the chance was meager)… a mixture of scary yet excitement… wonderful though tiring. The time was too short to venture into the deep forest, have only encountered a hoard of wild boars walking pass, buried their nose digging for food; colourful chickens hiding alertly among the branches… again, no monkey…

Some native tribes are still residing in the forest, practicing the primitive life style. Mostly close to the river, sheltering under palm leaf huts, living in poor hygienic environment, hunting and fishing are their source of foods, no cannibal.

I would love to visit again this NP, but to make a longer trek into inner jungle.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Credit Card

I purchased a few small items from United Colours of Benetton (in Sofia), and presented my credit card to the cashier. He scrutinized my card and asked for my passport to confirm my identity. I felt offended on the spot and confronted him for what good sake was that. Never had I experienced before anywhere else. I was using it to pay for the mere Eur 26! I would be insulating myself if I had to cheat for this amount?

Hitman


Watched newly released movie Hit Man on Sunday, it is just good enough to kill time. Somehow I felt like being cheated by the movie foolishly. The story was running mainly around St. Petersburg, instead most of the scenes were shot in Sofia. Goshhhh… the director must be thinking all audiences are stupid. Sofia's biggest church, shopping mall and railway station couldn't be mistaken.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Flying Home

Though the visa is not ready yet, but I have purchased an air-ticket to fly home on Monday. Hope the exit process is smooth. Keeping my finger crossed.

Due to the tight and unavailability of the flight schedule, the earliest flight return will be on 15-Jan-08… not bad after all (hehe)… long vacation... So, am starting to plan a trip traveling somewhere this year end, most probably to Taiwan or Nepal, but couldn’t decide which is better. I prefer Nepal but the bitter winter scares me off… Taiwan's climate would be much more pleasant but I do not know what else are interesting other than the National Palace Museum.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

More Rallies

Shortly after the BERSIH Rally held on 10-Nov-07 to campaign for electoral reform, another HINDRAF Rally was organized by the suppressed Hindu Community on 25-Nov-07 to voice out their dissatisfaction. 3 leaders were arrested and charged under the Sedition Act.

Malaysian prime minister obviously felt shaky and uneasy, sternly warned that the government will use the notorious
ISA (Internal Security Act) on the demonstrator if needed. The government controlled media sharply criticized the HINDRAF Rally, the spokesman publicly referred the protestors as thugs. One clever politician said rally is not Malaysia culture. Idiotic talk!

Another 3 massive rallies are planned to show up in Dec. These waves would be getting stronger each time. Guess the recent rallies have brought Malaysian to international attention. I don't believe/ expect the government would change anything which may jeopardize their privileges and benefits. I guess they would speed up to consolidate their political supremacy so to eliminate any opposition for good.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

小舅

下午收到妹的短讯说小舅意外身亡。消息有点儿愕然,马上给家通了电话。妈强装镇静但仍可以听出微微颤抖的声音。小舅身染恶习,屡劝不听不改逐渐心灰意冷。虽骂这没出息让他自生自灭,姐弟情毕竟还有余温的。

我和小舅之间没什么沟通,偶尔只在碰面时打个招呼。只记得小时在他房里翻读龙虎门,因为爸妈认为这是不良书刊不给我买。当时王小龙还健在、石黑龙初练成金钟罩第八层、王小虎的毒龙钻令人闻风丧胆。

小舅没家室,身后事将由阿姨们筹办。接下来的几天妈的情绪肯定会很低落。人去了,一切憎恶也该烟消云散了。半百、一事无成,小舅对家庭对国家没什么建树,却不能不提他对患上老年痴呆症的外婆临终前几年的悉心照顾。一宗意外结束了残弱的生命。对他,对身边的人,是残忍或是怜悯?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Next Project

This project, insyalah, will be accomplishing by mid of next year. Gradually we (all freelancers) are starting to extend the tentacles to inquire about new job. Some new projects are under bidding stage in Asia and Africa, all located in less developed countries.

If choices are available, Africa would be my preference provided that the social and political aspects of the country are stable. I like genuine traditional black African cultures. Love to travel and explore this mysterious continent to experience the culture shock (I always recommend friends to visit
Ethiopia for this reason).

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Planeta Payner Disco

Went to the newly opened disco in this small town yesterday. Nicht schlecht! At least this one looks like a proper disco with dancing pool. We just enjoyed watching the skin-tight ladies shaking their bon-bon with the deafening beat and rhythm. Young people like to show off, dressing up trendily and posing stylishly, but acting childishly (just recalled my silliness 20 years ago!)

The admission is unbelievable expensive - EUR 1 per person (haha…) I paid EUR 10 for a bottle of wine and a glass of Ouzo. Pretty cheap eh?! Most of the youngsters have only a bottle of coke or a glass of vodka to quench their thirst throughout the night. We were hoping some foxy ladies walking pass and ask, "Can you buy me a drink?" Guess I wouldn't let them down… but this dream didn't come true.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Shits

The work permit is expiring in 2 days, the renewal process is on going. Same stupidity like last year! Sick with the bureaucratic system. Shit!

Climate condition is getting worse, snowing, raining… disturbing our site activities, progress is down. Shit!

Head office implements stricter cash control to this project, affecting our on-going operation. This fxxking decision gives me headache. Shit!

Cartoon

Extracted from webpage MalaysiaKini.

The author is teasing the cowardice of the Prime Minister and Nazri in this case of facing people's power challenge. Unbelievable, the words "pondan" (sissy), "bodoh" (stupid) are blaring out from our dearest politicians.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

BERSIH rally


The BERSIH rally was successfully executed yesterday despite some clashes due to forceful disperse by the anti-riot police squad. It was quite a peaceful procession somehow. The memorandum called for free and just elections was handed over to the King. As instructed by the National Security Division, all local mainstream media have had information blocked, but don’t forget the public can retrieve the news through many other channels. Webpage Malaysiakini has some reports and photos of this petition assembly.

The Prime Minister condemned the stubbornness of the opposition parties, and their attempt to drag the royalty into the politics. Warned that this attempt will jeopardize the stability of the country by all means. He announced, "I DON’T LIKE TO BE CHALLENGED!"

Our dear ruling party vows to lead Malaysia into developed country, but they want all citizens to be their puppets. The International Trade Minister said our continue support to the ruling party is the only way to keep Malaysia economy growing. I decipher she means hers and her cronies' wallet too.

Led by the former deputy PM, Anwar Ibrahim, together with the leaders of main opposition parties, the rally may mark a revolutionary history on Malaysian people's power. Anwar was ousted by Dr.Mahathir during his term, and is now seen as the most challenging opposition figure to the government.

Just would like to advise our PM, the politics' policies are not fair in the eyes of the public. Do chain your dogs tight and shut their barking! This rally gathered 40,000 people, the next would not be less.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Freedom of Information

A mass assembly for electoral reformation has been called on by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) on Saturday. The police has yet refused to issue the gathering permit. Meanwhile all the mainstream media have been instructed by National Security Division not to publish any relevant news. Expecting the anti-riot unit would forcefully disperse the gathering, as happened previously.

I think Malaysia is retreating backwards instead of moving ahead. Politicians are installing any defensive measures to protect their own interests. If the present racism politics expanding, I would probably think of migrating to other country some day.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Euthanasia

Euthanasia is a practice of killing someone painlessly in order to stop their suffering when they are dying or incredible illness.

An article on the newspaper says there are two voluntary euthanasia groups ('Exit' and 'Dignitas') in Switzerland assisting people to die painlessly. The patients wish to take their own lives must have expressed a persistent wish to die, be of sound mind, suffer from an incurable disease and carry out the final act themselves.

I do support to legitimize this practice. When one is suffering serious illness which would not be cured, and/ or the illness might cause permanent disability to live like ordinary people, and/ or etch permanent mental depressions and confidence damage… urging one to depart from this world, but too coward to commit suicide through the "common practice" (sorry to use this word), euthanasia is the choice.

I don't know what religion says about committing suicide, equivalent to crime, I guess. Nothing is absolutely right or wrong, it is relativity. Every person is unique, not one philosophy fits all otherwise we wouldn't have so many wars in the history.

p/s: Those suffering lovesick or love ache and stupidly seeking to end their life emotionally will not be entertained. Pls consult Armin Meiwes.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Oil (1)

The present income from oil export contributes a significant portion to Malaysia economy, it is predicted that the oil deposit in the country will be depleting in 10 years. Petronas, the government own oil company is aggressively investing in new oil fields abroad.

The oil price has soared to record high USD 96 lately, good news to oil rich countries. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iraq, Iran and Kuwait are among the countries gaining huge benefits from oil export. Without this natural deposit, what would these countries be… probably poorer than African Continent. The desert is too harsh for agriculture and living. (Yet the people treat foreign workers as second class human being, especially Saudi Arabia. What the hell they think they are more superior then the others?)

The escalating oil price has pressured inflation hiking, inducing price acceleration on broad range of basic commodities, but the salary increment is never proportion to it. The grassroots level would be severely hit.

This is all money business and political games. Lots of hedge funds are investing / speculating on any business which could generate huge fortune overnight disregarding their social responsibility and conscience, a weakness of capitalism. It could easily destroy a developing economy of poor countries. The rich-and-poor gap would be stretching farther apart. Properly this is how the rich to enjoy their dominance.

Free economy must be curbed on basic commodities trading, strict regulations have to be applied, and speculations have to be punished. The risk of continuous oil price hiking would trigger domino effect to global economy. What is the reaction of OPEC lately to stabilize the oil price? I hear nothing…

Therefore it's desperate needful to source alternative substitution for oil.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Along The Ridge


This touching Italian movie is lovely. The story is seen through the eyes of the kid. It just reminds me an ex-colleague was in the similar situation. I was staying with his family for a month in Germany 4 years ago. I could feel the bond between the father and 2 sons, and the living situations of a single parent family. I missed them.
Bet you won't have any reason not loving this young actor Alessandro Morace after watching this movie.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Prague – Bits and Pieces

Transportation

The public transportation network in Prague is excellent. The metro, trams and buses are well linked and punctual to schedule. No difficulties at all to understand the operation. A 15-days unlimited pass costs only €12. The underground metro is quite deep, probably that is the reason vibration is not felt on the surface.
Food

Czech cuisine is quite similar to Germans' – smoked pork, grilled pork knee, potato dumpling etc… of course not to miss the goulash. An average meal in the restaurant costs around €6. There are many Chinese restaurants in the city, offering the cheapest foods (value to money) in general, around €4. A local said, it happened once that the authorities found dog meat in the fridge in a Chinese restaurant, since then rumours were spreading and shaking their trust 'cause they are not sure what is served on the dish.

Likewise in Kyustendil (place where I'm staying presently), many Vietnamese were around in the last decade. My local colleague said ever since their settlement in the town, the amount of stray dogs and cats were reduced drastically… I thought he was joking, probably I could link up both cases. Well, no comment, I never try dog meat.

Czech beers are good.


Hospitality

In the pub, I could feel certain coldness against Asians (not hostile). So as when I was in the shopping mall and railway station, my questions had been responded in Czech language without a hint of smile on their face. I'm quite annoyed to such attitude. Maybe I was wrong, could have categorized them individually instead. During this short trip, I didn't really mingle much with the locals, couldn't judge better the general attitude of Czech to Asians. Don’t get me wrong, my trip was fun and enjoyable, and met many helpful people too.

Snow Clad Mountain


After the overnight raining / snowing, the mountain is coating with snow.
(This picture is taken from my balcony)

First Snow

We have the first snow of this year today... too early... hope this is not the sign of bitter winter. Ohh... please... I hate freezing cold.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Prague


Tired... came back from Prague yesterday. Immediately have to plunge my head into the pile of documents rest on my desk. Just feel too lazy to sort out the photos and prepare the travelogue (hope I still remember how to update my Travelogue webpage...)


The country is studded with medieval castles and buildings. The atmospheric Prague is exceptionally beautiful at night, but the tourist crowds are too dense, hardly found any good shot without single tourist decorated the backdrop. After many "woo-and-wah"s, I found myself get lost in the maze of old quarter... and ended up at the famous Charles Bridge... (Remember the scene where Tom Cruise was framed in Mission Impossible?)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Laying Off

We employed a driver last week, a 19 year old young guy who has just accomplished his national service duty. Due to some reasons we have denied his driving capability, he was laid off just now.

This morning I handed over a pair of brand new safety shoes to him, I could see his happiness blossomed. But the moment we announced our decision, a glimpse of upset surfaced. Personally I feel sorry for him, he is lacking of self confidence and fresh to the society. I understand everyone must be given chance to learn and experience new things, somehow working environment is uncompromising. Who would like to be fired? Hope this won't shake his confidence.

He regained his composure, and we shook hands, exchanged a few formal sentences. The feeling was unpleasant for both of us. Good luck boy!

杂菜饭

Just a movie preview!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Transformers

Longing and carrying big hope to recall my childhood's biggest idol, but something has gone wrong somehow. Possibly my expectation was too high, the movie does not satisfy me. The computer graphic is no doubt exciting, but the screenplay is weak. Too much unnecessary comedic touch but not humorous; the relative size of the transformers are varying from one scene to another; civilians were running wild in the midst of battling scenes; the sound effect was not "roaring" or forcefully compact; and and and……

Internet Radio

Well… this is nothing new indeed. But I just come across the idea of searching internet radio recently. Am really excited to tune in listening to the familiar voices. During the university era (1989-1994), the Singapore radio stations accompanied most of us for 5 years (only because Malaysia radio stations were so suck then).

Tuning in to the internet radio is the first thing I do after booting up my computer lately… and of course I occupy the bandwidth… feel a little bit guilty, hehe,… a good example of technology abuse…

The link below displays lists of available radio stations in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.

http://live-radio.blogspot.com/

Friday, September 28, 2007

Inventor of Corruption

"China invented civilization in the East, but as well it invented corruption for all of human civilization," commented by Sen. Miriam Santiago, head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the overpriced broadband network contract with China.

Sorry for this lady for giving such irresponsible cum unprofessional statement in the public. Being a reputable senator, her statement only shows that she is ignorant and unqualified to be a leader. Absolutely groundless and non-sensible. She is trying to put China as the scapegoat to the deep rooted corruption culture in Philippines. Her bet is destined to fail (she will apologize to the Embassy of PR China on this issue), but for sure it has bought her some fanatic support from the grass root level.

Years ago, a Filipino friend gave me the same comment. I thought it was only his personal foolish opinion. Guess I'm wrong, some of them do have this idea in mind.

Just want to say… we couldn't force someone to do something against his will.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum

This movie is marvellous! The action packed scenes keep me holding breath throughout. The close combat and car chasing stunt are pleasing. The screenplay has been slightly modified from the original novel of Robert Ludlum. The trilogy of Bourne ("The Bourne Identity", "The Bourne Supremacy" and "The Bourne Ultimatum") are the best stories he has written. Rest of his books are not really remarkable.

Matt Demon, one of my favourite actors, stylish as usual. But I prefer his other drama like "The Talented Mr.Ripley" and "Good Will Hunting".

Friday, September 21, 2007

James Blunt – All The Lost Souls

Getting fed up with the bombardment of hip-hop and rap, the new album of James Blunt – All The Lost Souls is so refreshing. The songs are less the charm of his previous success "You Are Beautiful"… but the overall quality is good!

Veliko Tarnovo

Forgot to mention this spectacular city in Bulgaria. On the way back from Varna, we drove pass this city, and made last minute decision to visit the fortress as recommended by my local colleague.


Goshhh… beautiful! The city is based along a ridge above Yantra River, which winds in a horseshoe bend between 4 hills. The old quarter is neat, packed with shops and alfresco café. Felt kind of simmering in medieval atmosphere.


At the end of old quarter, over the corner, a magnificent view of Tsarevets Fortress display in front of us. The size is not big, it was destroyed when fell to the Turks in 1393. Mostly ruins remain nowadays, while the Royal Palace is under renovation.


Patriarch's Church (extensively restored) is standing on top of the complex. The exterior of this small church is nothing attractive, but the interior is truly impressive. The walls are fully decorated with modern arts murals, which outline Bulgarian history in the 14th and 15th centuries (of course I couldn't understand it). Such painting is very uncommon in any church, was deeply obsessed.

We didn't stay long because there was another 5 hr drive back to Kyustendil. Definitely I would like to visit again during winter to see this once capital (3rd in history) of Bulgaria in snow coating.

Veliko Tarnovo is my #1 pick in Bulgaria, till now.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Black Sea Trip

Varna's Scenes and Sins

Grabbed the opportunity of having 4 straight days off, 2 colleagues and I made a trip to Black Sea – Varna. The climate didn't turn out sunny, windy chill instead. Anyway our program was simply too packed to relax ourselves on the beach.

The beaches on Varna are disappointedly narrow and far from first class standard. Sunbathers moved further out of the city to find better beach and cleaner sand. After all we came here for fun, foods and entertainments were important to us.

The food and beverage prices are irrationally high in my local colleague's opinion (beer €1.50, meal €5-10). I gave no comment. To most foreign tourists, this price level is still much cheaper in their own countries.


Varna is lacking of attractions. The most impressive landmark "Cathedral of The Assumption of The Virgin" is worth for a visit. It is 2nd in size only to the "Aleksander Nevski Cathedral" in Sofia. The internal mural and design are very similar to the latter.


Rest of the tourist spots like Roman Thermae does not catch my interest.


Striptease show is legal business in Bulgaria. We took the chance to explore a bar named Playboy. The beverage expenses are not high indeed, say double the charges of disco plus entrance fees of €2.50. Atmosphere was sexy, with hip-hop music background, the performers staged and danced seductively but not lusty. The strippers didn't remove the last piece of cloth around their hips.

Without invitation, one fairly stocky lady (compared to my body size) sat beside me. She offered to dance with me, or dance for us. Hey, I know well each dance will charge additional on our bill. Politely I turned down her offer and said, "I just want to stay here and watch nice ladies."

"This club does not offer only for watching," she answered and left us alone. Did she imply that we must be more initiative and give more orders, or she meant we are not generous? I didn't care. ½ hr later, another real good looking lady approached us and offered the same. Again, we turned down her offer.

Out of curiosity, while checking the bill, we inquired the "service charge" of the lady. The manager gave us their rate of €100 per hour!!! Goodness! This is equivalent to the monthly salary of a local labour in Bulgaria.


Balchik



Approx. 30km north of Varna. Jokingly I refer it as the short form of "Bulgarian Chic". I endow a new meaning to this name but it doesn't convince me to return for 2nd visit. This town is much quieter than Varna. It has no good beach either, but packed with tourists seeking relaxing atmosphere, no short of good hotels and restaurants. The Summer Palace of Queen Marie and Botanical Gardens are the main attractions, but they are small and not exceptionally beautiful.


Albena

Claimed to be the most organized resorts in Bulgaria, the beaches here are clean, dotted with hotels constructed during the communism era, and in similar design. Plenty of retirees join cheap tour packages from western Europe. The nightlife is less lively compared to Varna, not my cup of tea.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Job Offer

Ex-employer contacted me 2 days ago offering me a job in Tanzania for better employment conditions. Frankly I long to visit this country mainly because of safari and the culture. I brought up this issue to my immediate superior and friends, detailing the situation. Their common advice is "decide yourself". I reckon my resignation would disappoint my colleagues, and may tarnish my reputation being a freelancer. On the other hand there is no negative internal factor from my present employer that I could excuse myself. As yet I'm still insisting on "personal loyalty" to my present employer, but a friend warned / advised me otherwise.

After Work

Lingering at bar with a colleague has become my routine lately. It is relaxing to stay away from my computer and e-mails. Used to have a couple of beer each time, with a plate of snack, a few nonsense chat exchange with the bartender…and smoking cigarillo, simply for fun.

2nd Letter From My Sponsored Kid

It has been quite some time since I received the first letter from my sponsored kid on 05-Jul-07. Instead I'm too lazy to reply message to him. Unexpectedly I received 2nd letter from him yesterday. Immediately I spared my time to compose a letter. He said he will study English this semester, I would like to send him some books but I couldn't find any in this small town. Will try to ask some friends around…

Busy

My brain was in the state of mess in the past weeks. The hectic work has drained out my energy largely, coupled with family's problem, just do not have time and mood to think about posting article to this blog. Hope I could clean up the pile of doc on my desk within the next 2 weeks

Thursday, August 02, 2007

连续五个晚上与同一位同事流连於同一家酒吧喝酒。自己健康不好,也只能奉陪喝上两瓶。喜欢露天酒吧的宁静、侍应生的礼貌(以及美貌)。看着休闲来回的人潮,体会懒散的生活节奏,有感我何必把自己忙得绷紧。

昨晚上喝得比较晚,特意绕了一个圈才回家,借冷风醒醒微醉的脑袋。原来这朴素的小镇午夜过后有另一番景象。有人徘徊在昏暗的公园仿佛在寻找猎物(或等待被猎)、有热恋的少男少女忘情地热吻、有不想回家的孩子三五成群地在街上溜达。突然很怀念国内的大排挡,很想吃一碗皮蛋瘦肉粥。

Monday, July 23, 2007

Islamic State / Secular State

Malaysia society has developed into unprecedented chaotic lately, due to some power eager barking politicians. These bastards intentionally provoke sensitive racial issue to unearth and intensify the fragile relationship in this multi racial society.

The recent announcement of the Deputy PM cited that Malaysia indeed is an Islamic state. What is his intention to bring up this issue while Malaysia is going to celebrate the coming 50th independence anniversary? Being one of the most respectful politicians in Malaysia, his statement for sure receive resonant echo from the fanatic voices. Meanwhile, our PM, as of his common practice, does not interfere to silence the dispute, guess he would let this issue boiling for a longer period. In case of the protest is mild, Malaysia would be crowned as Islamic state officially. Otherwise the present status being recognized as secular state would be remained for a slightly longer term and does no harm to the majority Malay ethnic.

Probably this is another dirty trick of politics to divert the concentration of non ruling parties from the more desperate crucial topics like NEP (New Economy Plan).

2 week ago former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan publicly praised Malaysian government for their efficient effort in managing the multi racial society, which should be consider as a successful model to other countries. He must be blind(folded) and did not see the real event. What should we expect to hear from this Diplomat? If he doesn’t know the background, pls shut up!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Professional

I think I'm working with a bunch of idiots around. Everyone claims to be expert, professional, specialist, but none of them has any hands-on experience. Their fantastic comments stretch my nerves to breaking point. The 12 year experience I had on the job seems to be total shitty… Fxxk!

Friday, July 06, 2007

1st Reply

Glad to receive the 1st reply from my sponsored Thai kid today. Letter was written in Thai language with English translation (probably done by WorldVision). A blue roofing small purple wall house is drawn at the corner, with the orange windows over size the yellow door. He briefly introduced himself in the letter - typical essay structure I used to learn in school. Well, what should I expect from a 10 yr old kid to write something thoughtful to a person he has never met? Hope to meet him someday.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

挫折

妹最近学做生意,经过几个月的筹备上个星期终于开张了。正满怀信心开始大展拳脚之际,却收到新业主逼迁的通告,原来妹没签署有效的租约,无处投诉只能自责粗心。他给我通了电话,说了缘由,还被我批了数句。我不是落井下石,只是出于关切。只能劝他 take it easy 别屈于这小小挫折。罗文曾唱过“小小苦楚等于激励。。。”

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Irresistible


This album cover is simply irresistible… J Lo's first ever Spanish language album Como Ama Una Mujer is an instant #1 storms the Billboard Latin chart. The album is very Spanish, a good change after getting fed up with her previous hotchpotch hip-hop albums.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Survey

Went with my colleague to learn site survey today (probably this is the first time in my career). This work is fundamental in our project, of course it is easy to describe theoretically, but the site work is tiring. In fact I did feel a little boring. Walking and transporting equipment and material consumed most of our time. Not to mention the summer heat was enhancing lactic acid production causing muscle fatigue.

The main idea I planned this trip was to experience and understand the site works, would be useful to manage the project.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Satanic Verses

British author Salman Rushdie was awarded knighthood on Sunday in Queen Elizabeth's birthday honours list for his service of literature. The Islamic world immediately recalls a death warrant on him with lucrative award.

I read the controversial novel "The Satanic Verses", frankly I have stopped flipping the pages after going through 1/3 of the book. The story was so dull (do not expect any commercial element). A simple topic occupied pages to describe the details. Secondly my English level is simply too poor to understand his powerful vocabularies, causing me losing interest on it.

P/S: I do not know which part of the novel has committed blasphemy against Islam…

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Minimum Wages

An article on the newspaper today has listed the minimum wages among the EU countries.

Highest : Luxembourg (€1570), Ireland (€1403), UK (€1361)
Lowest : Bulgaria (€92), Romania (€114), Latvia (€172)

I do admit the life in Bulgaria is cheap (comparatively), therefore it is advisable to travel to the east bloc countries before the living standard soaring high.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

粤剧

孩时妈总在做饭时扭开收音机听粤剧,偶尔哼上两句。当时觉得这戏曲就是嘈,千篇一律。时代转移,现时空气播送的尽是流行曲,皆因粤剧捧场者越是见少。

今天上网看到了这熟悉的名字-
唐涤生,察看了他的资料。原来他对粤剧影响重大,可惜在四十三岁就逝世了。我只对两段粤剧有兴趣-《帝女花之香夭》以及《紫钗记之剑合钗圆》。曲词皆佳不落俗套。

《帝女花之香夭》


女:落花滿天蔽月光 借一杯附薦鳳台上
帝女花帶淚上香 願喪生回謝爹娘
偷偷看 偷偷望 佢帶淚帶淚暗悲傷
我半帶驚惶 怕駙馬惜鸞鳳配
不甘殉愛伴我臨泉壤
男:寸心盼望能同合葬 鴛鴦侶相偎傍
泉台上再設新房
地府陰司裡再覓那平陽門巷
女:唉惜花者甘殉葬
花燭夜 難為駙馬飲砒霜
男:江山悲災劫 感先帝恩千丈
與妻雙雙叩問帝安
女:唉盼得花燭共諧白髮
誰個願看花燭翻血浪
唉我誤君累你同埋蒘網
好應盡禮揖花燭深深拜
再合巹交杯墓穴作新房
待千秋歌讚註駙馬在靈牌上
男:將柳蔭當做芙蓉帳 
明朝駙馬看新娘
夜半挑燈有心作窺妝
女:地老天荒情鳳永配痴凰
願與夫婿共拜相交杯舉案
男:遞過金杯慢咽輕嘗
將砒霜帶淚放落葡萄上
女:合歡與君醉夢鄉
男:碰杯共到夜台上
女:百花冠替代殮裝
男:駙馬珈墳墓收藏
女:相擁抱
男:相偎傍
合:雙枝有樹透露帝女香
男:帝女花
女:長伴有心郎
合:夫妻死去与樹也同模樣

《紫钗记之剑合钗圆》

李益:雾月夜抱泣落红,险些破碎了灯钗梦。唤魂句,频频唤句卿须记取再重逢。叹病染芳躯不禁摇动,重似望夫山半崎带病容。千般话犹在未语中,心惊燕好皆变空。
(喊白)小玉妻。
小玉:处处仙音飘飘送,暗惊夜台露冻。雠共怨待向阴司控。听风吹翠竹,昏灯照影印廉拢。
(序白)雾夜少东风,是谁个扶飞柳絮,
李益:是十郎扶你,
小玉:生不如死,何用李君关注。
李益:愿天折李十郎,休使爱妻多病痛。
(序白)剑合钗圆,有生一日都望一日呀,
(续唱)并头莲亦有根基种,权势尽看轻只知爱情重,与你做过夫妻胜梁鸿。
小玉:坟墓里可尽失相思痛,憎哭声,喊声将霍小玉叫回俗世中。
(序白)生生生,我虽生何所用呢,
(续唱)你再配了丹山凤。把白玉箫再弄。则怕你红啼绿怨,由来旧爱新欢两边也难容。祝君再结鸳鸯梦。我愿乞半穴坟,珊珊瘦骨归墓冢。
李益:云罩月更迷濛,是谁个误泄风声播送,瑶台未有奇逢。
小玉:你既非负心,胜业坊与太尉府只是一街之隔,你胡不归来。
李益:泪穷力竭严如落网归鸦困身有玉笼,一朝翅折了怎生飞动。
小玉:谁信你,想你见我变卖头上紫钗,已知我今非昔比,我想那卢家小姐,
(接唱)佢在你乘龙日半绕盘龙髻,插玉燕钗腰肢款摆上画阁中,投怀向君弄髻描容,佢斜泛眼波,微露笑窝,将君轻轻碰。指玉燕珠钗不惜金买来耀吓威风。
(白)你又可知新人髻上钗,会向旧人心上刺。
李益:郎未变爱,针锋相迫刺郎未免阴功。
小玉:我典珠卖钗,以身待君,盼君望君,醉君梦君,你到今竟再婚折害侬。
李益:盟誓永珍重。我未负你恩义隆。枕边爱有千斤重。大丈夫处世做人,应知爱妻兼尽忠。
小玉:真既,(接唱)既尽爱何以未洁身自重。
李益:咪再错翻醋雨酸风,当知衷心隐痛。
小玉:侯氏报消息那有不忠。
李益:经拒婚摧恶梦。
小玉:未信君你入赘绣阁,敢拒附凤与攀龙。
李益:十郎未惯同床异梦,更忆小玉恩深重。
小玉:柳底问有摺摺薰风,且听君将在颂。
李益:日挂中天格外红,月缺终须有弥缝。
(序白)千差万错,错在我吹台赋诗,有不上望京楼之句,
(续唱)佢便借诗中意谣言惑众,有心逼我乘龙。玉燕钗又再相逢,我誓死不向遣贵附从,吞钗拒婚拚命送。
小玉: 十郎十郎, 你可曾為我吞釵拒婚, 不慕權貴.十郎, 若是真情以釵還我, 自釵燕失春風, 憔悴不出眾,我再將紫釵弄漸露笑容, 玉潔冰清那許有裂縫, 今宵壓髻有紫釵用.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Italian


An Italian couples came to Russia to meet their chosen child for adoption has stirred the orphanage. 6 year-old Vanya was chosen and was nicknamed "Italian" by other mates. He was deemed having blessed and would escape from the unpromising fate in his homeland. While everyone else envies Vanya having this good opportunity, a thought to find his maternal mother sprouted. With assistance from the elder mates, he escaped from the orphanage and started his journey.

The little actor is truly adorable, but the director has endowed the character a far matured thinking. This Russian movie is not bad.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

WiTricity

Among colleagues we used to joke if electricity power could be transmitted wireless like the electronic signals, everyone has to be cautious not to be electrocuted.

Yesterday the newspapers worldwide reported that the scientist at MIT has successfully demonstrated this significant breakthrough based on the concept of magnetically coupled resonance instead of electromagnet radiation. They have dubbed it "
WiTricity".

When this technology turns matured and commercialized, that's the time I have to look for new job.

美丽时光


昨天看了这一部台湾旧电影《美丽时光》,在没有期待下反而被深深吸引。平实的故事、平凡的人物,描述两位生活在低下层年轻人的故事。相对于高盟杰的‘放’,我较欣赏范植伟的‘内敛’。

电影笼罩着一股压迫感,让人体会到生活的累与无助。导演诚恳地说戏,可能是要提醒我们去追寻和享受美丽时光。

Thursday, June 07, 2007

放逐

心情很不舒畅。尝试压抑情绪但不得要领,越觉烦闷!工作、家庭事宜都有些但不是重点,只想放逐自己一段日子而之后再投入工作。

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Renouncing Religion

An article on the newspaper reported that about 2000 Hindus renouncing their religion and converted to Buddhism in a mass ceremony in Mumbai last Sunday. The fact is that these people are categorized as low-caste Hindus according to the traditional biased social system.

Apparently the main idea of this conversion does not imply that Buddhism teaching is more convincing but it has been used to abandon their "low-caste" status in Hindu society, of which being an obstacle in their living – education, job application, marriage etc. Pathetically
religion has been abused / wrongly used to fight for human rights.

On 14-Jan-07, I have posted an article concerning a case of a Muslim renouncing Islam in Malaysia. Today the Federal Court dismissed her appeal to remove the wording "Islam" on her identity card. The Judge cited that this case should be handled and approved by Syariah Court instead.

Malaysia's constitution stated freedom of belief to the citizens, obviously this clause does not apply to Muslims. Should I be pleased to be granted this priceless spiritual "freedom"?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Dance With My Father

Came across this song of Luther Vandross… brought back too many memories…


Back when I was a child
Before life removed all the innocence
My father would lift me high
And dance with my mother and me and then
Spin me around till I fell asleep
Then up the stairs he would carry me
And I knew for sure I was loved

If I could get
Another chance
Another walk
Another dance with him
I'd play a song that would never ever end
How I'd love love love, to dance with my father again

When I and my mother would disagree
To get my way I would run from her to him
He'd make me laugh just to comfort me (yeah, yeah)
Then finally make me do just what my momma said
Later that night, when I was asleep
He left a dollar under my sheet
Never dreamed that he would be gone from me

If I could steal
One final glance
One final step
One final dance with him
I'd play a song that would never ever end
Cause I'd love love love to dance with my father again

Sometimes I'd listen outside her door
I'd hear how my mother cried for him
(x2) I'd pray for her even more than me

I know I'm praying for much too much
But could you send back the only man she loved
I know you don't do it usually
But dear Lord she's dying to dance with my father again

Every night I fall asleep
And this is all I ever dream

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell


I must admit that this American TV series "Prison Break" obsess me greatly. It is one of the most wonderful series ever made.

I went shopping today in Sofia with 2 colleagues of mine. Unexpectedly I recognized this familiar face and voice of Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell (played by Robert Knepper). I couldn't be absolutely sure of him, and followed him walking into Nike outlet. He speaks American accent English, wearing a cap and carrying a little blond curly hair girl. My colleague suggested to approach and takes a photo with him. C'mon, we are already in our late 30's and it would be awkward to behave like little fans asking for autograph. We waited till he left the outlet and passed us by. Well, at last still we didn't confirm if he is really T-Bag. I think it couldn't be mistaken unless he has a twin brother looks identical to him.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Dean Koontz's Frankenstein – Book 1 Prodigal Son


Finally I finished reading this book after lying beside my bed for 2 months. The story is not exciting and the way how the author tells the story is dull. Not one character is lively. This is the book 1 of the author's trilogy. Guess I won't look for the next 2.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sandstorm




Friends from Khartoum sent these photos of sandstorm alleged to be the strongest since decade. The fine sand/ dust is being carried along when the wind crossing Sahara Desert. The view of the storm approaching was extravagant, like the surreal movie scenes constructed by computer graphics. The dust enveloped the space, everything… air quality is seriously worsening and the visibility is adversely affected (click to enlarge the photos to sense the power of nature).

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Weird Chat

Newly met a staff from Client today, had the following weird chat.
-----
Guy : Where are you from?
Me : Malaysia.
Guy : Why are you working here? There is no job in Malaysia?
-----
Me : (Pointing to my boss) We have been working together for 10 years for different projects.
Guy : You mean you cannot work without each other?
-----

Friday, May 11, 2007

Melting

Today's temperature is soaring high. Everyone predicts this coming summer would be very warm. The snow clad mountain in front of my window is melting much earlier this year… hmm… melting… just thinking of cheese Fondue. Colleague introduced this Swiss communal dish to me lately. Simple but delicious!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

不适

上司近日身体非常不适,很担心。劝他回国做彻底检查再休养一段日子。他始终放不下工作,坚持在项目上了轨道之后再作安排。与他一起工作近十年了,很了解他的脾性,亦师亦友。与他一起工作是愉快的。

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Black Sea

Travelled to the Black Sea with 2 colleagues last Saturday. The city, Burgas is not really attractive, though it is among the famous beaches during summer season. The chilly breeze is quite uncomfortable for sunbathing and swimming yet.


The scenic small old town Nesebar, built on an outcrop island, is located 40km northeast of Burgas. It's designated by Unesco as a World Heritage Site. The historical value of the Byzantine church ruins is the key attraction, but most of them are really small, empty or close for public. The influx of tourists makes this town expensive, over commercialized.


The adjacent Slanchev Bryag (Sunny Beach) is said among the best beaches in Bulgaria. In fact, I have been to some much better beaches. Small amount of rubbish dotted on the beach, and the water is partially choked with seaweed. The stretch of a few km beach is fully packed with hotels, bars and facilities catered to the summer tourists.


Sozopol is relatively much less quieter than Nesebar. The small town is serene, and as expected, most of the bars on the beaches are rushing for final touch up to welcome the summer tourists.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Movies

Watched these movies recently, though not exceptionally excellent but all worth the movie ticket.

The Pursuit of Happyness – A dramatized true story of Chris Gardner's struggle (Will Smith) before becoming a successful broker. The predictable storyline is no excitement. Will Smith and the kid actor deserve the credit, no overacting. The last scene when he deemed having pursued the happiness was contagious.


300 – A movie composed mainly by computer graphics. Naturally I tried to relate it with LOTR, but the latter is grander and the story is more solid. The comic-like movie is deviating far from sense and reality, largely served for visual entertainment, I could hardly recall it after 1 hr.


Blood Diamond – A piece of pink raw diamond triggered the greediness of everyone. Though I'm not a fan of Leonardo, I have to admit that he is a good actor. His African-English accent sounds familiar to me. The movie is trying to convince us the existence and brutality of children soldier in Africa. Curious if this is the real event, or just common dramatic exaggeration for "movie" sake.



Perfume: The Story of A Murderer – Another non-sensible story. Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a guy with extraordinary sense of smell and magical ability to produce best perfumes ever. To him, the natural body scent of the virgin young lady seems to be the best fragrance. The ultimate perfume possessed power to provoke love (and losing mind…) The ending was unpredictable.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Blogs Registration

The following article is extracted from Reporters Without Borders.

…… in order to prevent the spread of “negative or malicious content,” bloggers will soon have to register with the government.

While claiming they do not intend to censor bloggers, they have warned that bloggers are not above the law when they “disturb peace and harmony” in Malaysia.

“This measure could jeopardise online free expression,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It could push many bloggers to opt for anonymity or censor themselves out of fear of reprisals. The deputy minister’s statement once again demonstrates the government’s desire to exercise improper control over the online flow of information inside Malaysia. The obligatory registering of blogs is a measure that so far has only been adopted by countries such as China that violate Internet users’ rights.”

---

The government has expressed their worry over the freedom of public info distribution on the internet, citing that the irresponsible rumours on the net have caused unnecessary chaos aiming to shatter the social integrity / stability. Considering the major multimedia channels are controlled by the politicians, only the filtered info in favour to the concerned is published. Ordinary citizens were fed with decorated news and are discouraged to pursue the facts.

The progressive IT enables the information distributed efficiently and widely bypassing the conventional censorship board. I believe some accusations are not groundless. The bloggers are acting as watchdog to force greater transparency of the governmental operations. Sadly this term has been abused by our law enforcers (politicians) traditionally.

The recent governmental high level corruption issues are among the investigations triggered by the bloggers. The official response is ambiguous and intentionally noncommittal. How much do we expect our government would do to unearth the deep rooted issue, since the head of the Anti Corruption Agency is being accused of corrupted??!!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I M POSSIBLE

Received this message from someone today...
"Nothing in this world is IMPOSSIBLE... coz' the word IMPOSSIBLE itself says I M POSSIBLE."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sirimongkon Maisuk


Under the Child Sponsorship Program, World Vision sent me the photo of my sponsored Thai kid – Sirimongkon Maisuk (age 10). The money donated is not given directly to him, but to be pooled with other sponsors for long term community project instead. Hope this trivial amount would help those people who wants to live their life bravely with vision.

返老还童

常听说长者的情绪会返老还童,如小孩般需要别人的关注与呵护。最近察觉到有此现象。是否长者生活不够充实感觉无聊而胡思乱想?

Friday, March 23, 2007

South Thailand Insurgency

Murder cases in south Thailand's three Muslim dominant provinces - Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani (close to Malaysia border) are reported almost daily on local newspapers. Statistic shows more than 2000 people were killed in the past 3 years, mostly civilians, monks were not exempted. The Muslim insurgents blamed discrimination by the country's Buddhist majority. Thai government has no control over the escalating unrest to date. This insurgency has gradually transformed into religious conflict. The longer it drags, it would turn out to be another Gaza Strip. Probably this is the conspiracy of the separatists to attract attentions and aids from fanatic Islamic terrorist organizations, to achieve their independence goal eventually.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

World Vision – Administrative Costs

World Vision Malaysia has pledged not to use more than 20% of all donated funds on administrative and overhead costs. In considering of this rather small organization and donation received (compared to UN campaigns), this percentage is acceptable.

Previously I used to have a misperception that UN related organizations are kind of voluntary parties to help those in needs and the workers are just collecting minimal wages. I’m utterly wrong. In fact the UN staffs are flying in and out in business class, accommodating in stars rated hotels, collecting above average income, enjoying various allowances and tax free status etc. I don’t see any reason to donate money to these so-called UN organizations who squandering tax payers’ money as such!

UN said they must pay lucrative wages to attract “highly qualified” people to execute the works / projects. I'd love to work with UN family too!

World Vision - Child Sponsorship

I raised the issue of sponsoring a child under World Vision with friends lately. Monthly contribution of MYR50 (Euro11) is all asked to be donated. Simon suggested adopting an orphan instead, but I’m afraid of excessive commitment in the future and it would do greater harm to the child if the sponsorship is terminated for whatever reason. Guess I’m too selfish (???)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease

My twin nephews caught “Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease” a few days ago. The elder was crying for days and lost his appetite due to the painful blisters inside the mouth. Other symptoms of the infection are short-lived fever and red spots/ blisters on the palms and on the soles of the feet.

The doctor said this particular type of
Coxsackie virus is mild, unlike the lethal plague erupted years ago which cause instant pass-out.

Back To Work

This vacation was too short, quite reluctant to pack my luggage and fly back to Bulgaria again. Feeling tired and bored with the working environment, have been thinking over to settle down in Malaysia, but too many aspects need to be considered before making decision.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Phuket - 易装歌舞秀

看了一场免费的人妖歌舞表演,表演者卖力地呈现歌舞,对台下观众异样的眼光不知有何感想?我不喜欢‘人妖’这词,总觉得带有贬义与歧视。我们不了解他们的背景与辛酸,可知道当中有多少人身不由己?短暂的演艺生命不能赋予长期稳定的收入。他们专业的投入应报以热烈掌声,只有没文化的人才会给于嘲笑。

欣赏之际,我忽然想起程蝶衣唱过‘我本是男儿郎,又不是女娇娥’。。。又想起张国荣英年早逝。。。

Phuket - Diving

Just returned from 4-day trip to Phuket. The island once seriously rampaged by tsunami has recovered fully and the jubilant life is back to track again, at least from the eyes of tourists. The beaches are packed by sunbathers, and the bars are crowded with tourists.

I made a trip to Racha Yai for diving, I insisted for fun dives instead of having a refreshing course since I had no dive record in the past 3 years. The 1st dive was fairly good, but the 2nd dive was not satisfactory. The strong current drifted me away and I was acting like a fool to fight against it. I lost my control, I spent most of my time controlling buoyancy instead of appreciating the marine life.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Corruption

Had a casual chat with friend K, we talked about the politics and corruptions that commonly exist in the works. Unexpectedly he commented that I should take the chance if someone offers me “gift” for some favours, provided that it doesn’t hurt anyone else. Principally I despise such deal.

An ex-colleague once said, “Everyone has a price.” Would I lose my conscience if someone offers me a very attractive amount that permits me retiring soon? I couldn’t give the answer right now… I think this probably would not happen as those bosses in higher management are more enthusiastic to handle the deal themselves.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

As Usual…

As usual, all the good news and bad news happened in the past year were pouring in, to keep me informed of the life changed in my family and relatives. I’m trying to avoid the bad news, because it won’t make me feel good and I’m helpless sometimes…

As usual, money seems to be a crucial element in life. Sisters are working hard to strive for higher earning for family sake. Glad to know that their babies give them more pleasure than anything else. This commitment will be too stressful to me…

As usual, mom and sis again plan to introduce girlfriends to me, the “target” is a Japanese lady this time.

As usual, I feel bored to stay at home… start planning where to escape for a couple of days… Beach? Diving? National park?...

14-Feb-07 Scenes at Skopje’s Alexander The Great Airport

- A small boy was screaming loud when the airport security instructed the mother to remove the toy pistol from his baby knapsack.

- A mother with 3 young kids came to the waiting hall. She broke down and wept, barely caught anyone else attention. From her muddy PVC shoes, simple hairdo and inexpensive clothing, I could figure out her living background. The eldest daughter has a bunch of beautiful curly long blond hair and the 2 younger sons are wearing energetic handsome boyish look with big blue eyes. Their shirts are clean and the nails are tidy. They behaved well and never upset other passengers. I stared at the blue eyes, was thinking possibly my kids would have the same if I marry a Caucasian?

p/s: It’s Valentine’s Day but found no one on the plane to flirt with.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hectic

Hectic work occupied the full past week, tried the utmost to clear off some pending issues and handed over some tasks to my colleagues. I should have delegated the assignments earlier for them to have more hands-on practice with my supervision. Quite doubtful if they could handle the assignments well.

The secretary would probably lose my support during my coming 3-week vacation, hope this pressure would give her good experience to be more independent.

Going Home Soon

Will be travelling back home next Wednesday for Chinese New Year. It has been almost a year since last playing with my chubby twin-nephews. To my family and friends, I’m just like a tourist visiting them routinely, tops 3 weeks a year. While I see the baby faces metamorphose yearly, probably they would in return observe more grey hair is growing wild on my skull. I’m grateful to my brother sisters for taking care of the family, so to lift my worry while working abroad.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

落叶归根


一套不该错过的影片。虽然欠缺一些逻辑性,人情味有点儿泛滥但不煽情。特喜欢赵本山与宋丹丹和午马这两段戏。

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Oral Surgical Plan

Had another sleepless night, the pain was torturing. I almost couldn’t recognize me in the mirror, the upper lip was heavily swollen (the moral of this case is that if I will ever consider performing plastic surgery, lips thickening definitely won’t make me looking good).

The very first thing done in this morning was to rush for x-ray screening, it shows serious infection on my front tooth where root canal was done 25 yrs ago, fractures and spots of pus were seen. The dentist extracted 5ml pus from the gum without anaesthetic - PAIN PAIN PAIN! The pulsing made me weak. He lays out an operation plan for me... quite simple - remove the 2 crowns of both front teeth (because the roots are broken), then root-canal 2 teeth on the left and right side respectively. ONLY 6 teeth are involved. It is hair pricking to hear this plan... cost around Euro 500. Well, money has to be paid anyway, but the procedure would take weeks... imagine the pain to suffer…

Based on the distinct smell, I judged the clinic was well disinfected. But I could see a layer of dust rest on the tray and dental chair. If this basic cleanliness is not taken care of, how could I expect the dentist would look into very fine details of his works?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

North Korea's Dictator

The newspaper reported recently that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il‘s eldest son – Kim Jong Nam has for the past three years lived in Macau. He has been seen staying in the 5-star hotel, gambling in casinos and dining in restaurants. His lifestyle is extremely luxurious compared to the poor economy of the last communist country on earth. Yet we heard the news of famine and starvation occasionally suffered by its people while President Kim thinks nuclear weapon would lead North Korea to achieve better development. Idiot!

His dictatorship is only benefiting himself. He isolates the country from the world. If the public has access to the free info available on the internet, this government will for sure be toppled.

Toothache

The toothache bothered me since yesterday, two at the same time – front tooth and a molar. The pain killer could barely relieve the pain for a couple of hours, and the irritating pain creeping back again and again. It’s persisting though not extreme, but kept me awake throughout the night and distracted my concentration.

The dentist said I’m having gum infection, but he wouldn’t do anything before examining the x-ray film. I have to rush for an x-ray screening early tomorrow. Guess tonight would be another sleepless night.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

John Legend


Though John Legend was 3 Grammy Awards winner, his debut album “Get Lifted” (2004) did not impress me. The influences of the producers – Kanye West and Will.I.Am were easily traced on the album.

His 2nd album “Once Again” lifted my stereotype on him, it’s more matured with his unique music style. If I would describe the voice of
Tunde Baiyewu (Lighthouse Family) is innocent, John Legend’s lightly husky voice is carrying a touch of sadness. I like both voices greatly.

This album is beautiful, especially “Save Room”, “P.D.A. (We Just Don't Care)” & “Where Did My Baby Go”.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Arrogance

I met the consultant of our Client for the first time today after an inspection. I approached and greeted the gentleman. In return, he started introducing (I would rather use “emphasizing”) his massive experiences in this field, without a hint of smile, and walked away without an excuse. Another arrogant chap to work with!
p/s: he couldn’t even express in English.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Treetops Hotel

On 06-Feb-1952, the night King George VI passed away, Princess Elizabeth was at Treetops (Aberdare NP, Kenya). The visitors' log book has these famous lines:

“For the first time in the history of the world, a young girl climbed into a tree one day a Princess and after having what she described as her most thrilling experience she climbed down from the tree next day a Queen — God bless her.”











The original Treetops, built on a 300 year-old fig tree was burned down in
1954, and was rebuilt in 1957. It has become fashionably exotic landmark to tourists. The hotel is well facilitated with hot water supply, library, dining hall… but no TV, no radio, no party. Everyone should talk silently not to frighten the animals, move lightly not to quake the fragile wooden structures.

No one is allowed to stay out of the building without companion of ranger. The hotel is rather small, the main attraction is to stay on the balcony watching wild animals gather at the waterhole for
saltlick. To prevent the waterhole drying up for attracting the animals sake (for tourists eventually), water has to be pumped from other waterholes and salt is sprinkled into it.

It is not exceptionally fun, but the atmosphere is unique.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Queen


Through the accident of Princess Diana in 1997, the movie reveals the response of the private chamber of Royal family. I know very little about the monarchy. How much fact we could believe from this fictional account of real event?

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Queen Elizabeth II was crowned as The Queen of the UK in 1952, age 26, when her father passed away for health sake. It was definitely no easy task for the Princess. The movie defends her sacrifice and love to her people, but it portraits an image of non-decisive and lacking of own firm view.

- Prince Philip seems to be the most selfish guy in the movie, like a parasite to the Royal family.

- Obviously the director is depicting a totally different image of Prince Charles - soft hearted, loving the late Princess Diana… but not our familiar “tasteless” (his choice of Camilla) Prince of Wales.

- Michael Sheen failed to impress / present us the unique charm of PM Tony Blair, and I missed the beautiful British accent.

The movie is not really fascinating but the clips of Diana documentary are mesmerizing. Of course Helen Mirren’s performance is remarkable!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Paradox

If I’m not mistaken, Quran stated that Muslims are not allowed to renounce their religion, the apostasy is punishable by death according to some Muslim scholars. In Malaysia it is often defined Malay ethnic as Muslim, and non Muslim must convert to Islam if they want to marry a Muslim.

There is a case of a female, born a Muslim, has converted her religion. She has been facing tough procedures and critics for years on demanding her new name and new religion to be edited on the identity card. The case is being appealed to the court.

Malaysia’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion, while in parallel the Sharia court is handling personal law such as divorce, child custody and inheritance of Muslims. The decision of the federal court is pivotal to resolve the paradox of religious freedom. It will set up a precedent if she succeeds.

The conservative Muslim groups condemned fiercely while the threats to the lady and her lawyers were circulated by the fanatics. This issue would not echo if it is a case of converting to Islam.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Il Divo – Siempre

Has been enchanted by this fantastic vocal group Il Divo since their self titled debut album in 2004. The quartet aptly integrates classical performance with contemporary style. This new album - Siempre inherits the high standard. It is cozy…