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


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?

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


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…

Friday, January 05, 2007

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Watched this movie because the critics rating it hilarious and among the best in 2006. In fact, I found it disappointing. The ideas are unimaginative, derogative and unrealistic. Some clips are available in YouTube, funny but low level. The movie doesn’t lead you to think in depth, comparatively Mr.Bean’s character is more solid.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Budget Airlines Teaming

The present budget airlines mainly focus on regional services, cross-continental flights are rare. News saying that three of the world’s main low-cost airlines – AirAsia, Virgin and EasyJet are teaming up to establish a global network. Once the cooperation proposal is materialized, it would give another hard blow to the conventional operators. A good news to low budget consumers!

Monday, January 01, 2007

War in Somalia

The Horn of Africa is referred to the easternmost projection of the African continent, includes Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. This region is poor, political unstable and the relations between neighboring countries remain tense. Conflicts have never ceased for decades.

Click here to understand the background of
Somalia upheaval since 1991.

The present Transitional Federal Government (TFG), formed in October 2004, is comprised of Somalia warlords and civilian leaders. The so-called rebels - Islamic Courts Union (ICU) is a group of
Sharia Courts vows to build an Islamic country and government, who has gained the confidence from the civilians on their effort in reinforcing laws and re-establishing economy. We couldn’t judge who is decent or otherwise.

The Christian-Orthodox dominant Ethiopia is always staying alert of the threats from Muslim dominant Eritrea and Somalia. It is not difficult to define Ethiopia political stand and intentions on their recent intervention in the on-going war in Somalia.

Worrying that ICU would turn out to be another Taliban and is alleged harbouring Al-Qaeda, the US has supported the secular Somali warlords with the assistance from the region’s strongest military power Ethiopia, because they couldn’t afford to bog down into another war zone like in Iraq. Ethiopia has the following advantages,

- extending diplomatic intimacy to the US in exchange of some favours
- announcing their anti-terrorism effort
- keeping the ruling Somali TFG as strategic partner
- eradicating threats along the Ethiopia – Somali borders
- might make use of Somalia coastal line to compensate the geographical deficiency of the landlocked country

According to the report from UN, a number of countries including Ethiopia’s persevering enemy Eritrea, are contributing equipment and financial aids to this war zone. Hoping that this would not drag the whole Horn of Africa into endless crisis in the name of holy war.