Sunday, 31 August 2008

Celebrating Merdeka

I am appalled by the lack of civic-consciousness among the youth.

A group of them - in their late teens or early twenties - were seen camping at the foot of the Bukit Mertajam Hill at Cherok To'Kun during the weekend and this was the mess they left behind:

What's even sadder was that I had noticed some adult leaders and organisers among the litterbugs. Were they expecting their grandfathers to clear this after them?

Millipedes: creepy crawlies

Well, it has been an interesting weekend up the BM Hill. My fascination with millipedes continues. I've seen so many of those monster millipedes now but have been quite hesitant to hold any of them. I know they cannot bite and are harmless but their defence mechanism is a body secretion that can supposedly irritate the hell out of predators.

But on Friday while hiking up the trail alone and coming across one of these millipedes again, something caught hold of me as I thought to myself: what the heck, here's a good time as any to get it out of the way. So I gingerly picked up the millipede at its mid-length section. At first I was surprised by its resistance as it tried to struggle free but I held it firmly. This is about the best shot that I could get with my mobile phone's camera.

It turned back to look at my hand. I was rather positive that it wanted to crawl up my hand. Anyway, you can see that my fingers were stained orange. Luckily, I was able to wash it off in the stream nearby.

And yesterday while going up the same trail with my wife, we came across our first sighting of a flat-backed millipede. It was about three inches long. This one proved to be less aggressive; in fact, it froze up when I tried to disturb it. You can see how it measured against the 50 cent coin.

Later, it apparently had enough of me and decided to curl up tightly with its head buried among its legs.

Merdeka spirit is still bottled up

What d'ya know? Today is Merdeka Day, the 51st anniversary of the day that Malaya obtained our independence from the British.

Last year's 50th anniversary was celebrated with great excitement everywhere and the Merdeka spirit really filled the air. But I don't feel the same this year. Do you? Have you really felt like celebrating this year? Where's the Merdeka mood? Somehow, it's way too quiet. When I drove around town, yes, I did see establishments flying the Malaysian flag. But it's kinda muted, if you know what I mean. It's as if the businesses here have been forced to fly the flag out of some obligation.

Of course, I'm glad that tomorrow is an off day, a replacement for Merdeka Day which falls on a Sunday. It's an extended weekend which I'm using to visit the Buddhist Hermitage in Lunas later this morning and perhaps take the family to the new shopping mall in Perda tomorrow. But that's about all that I'm going to do!

Saturday, 30 August 2008


I've given up on using Deluge, the bit-torrent client. I thought I could get away from the run-time error messages after I had reformatted my computer and reinstalled everything. Apparently not. The annoying run-time error message kept coming back and back.

So last night, I decided to uninstal this problematic, "chay kai" program and go back to uTorrent. One good advantage of uTorrent is, of course, its size. Only 263Kb compared with Deluge's over-bloated 40Mb-plus. Who wouldn't want to use a nifty program like uTorrent if you can save so much disk space? The only downside I could see was the hassle to set up port forwarding but once it's completed, the program works fine.

P.S. On my MacBook, I'm using Transmission.

Re-education through labour

I'll be very sad if these two old ladies are sent to a "re-education through labour" camp. That's what they have been threatened with by the Chinese authorities. Reason? During the Beijing Olympics, they applied for a permit to protest against eviction from their homes due to construction work for the Olympics.

Before the Games began, the Chinese authorities said they would allow demonstrations in accordance with Chinese law. They opened "a demonstration area" in three Beijing parks for people to speak freely but none of the 149 applicants for a demonstration permit were given approval.

Among them were 79-year-old Wu Dianyuan and her neighbour, Wang Xuiying, 77. Instead of the approval, the authorities told them that they would be sent to a labour camp for a year. Sad.

Friday, 29 August 2008

World cyber games Malaysia championship 2008

When I was at the MidValley in KL recently for the Malaysian Chess Festival, the World Cyber Games Malaysia championship was taking place in the hall directly opposite from us.

Out of curiosity, I did pop over occasionally to see the WCG2008. The main hall wasn't as gloomy as it seemed from the photo above but the stage was darkened because some cybergame demonstrations were being displayed on two large screens beside it. Next to this hall, there were a few hundred computers all lined up for participants. Unfortunately, every time I crossed over to look, the games had either not started yet or they had finished. Trust my luck!

The highlight of the WCG2008 was the Samsung booth. There were three or four of these sweet girls moving around to cajole visitors to play games. I was one of several people who were trying to take photos of them on the sly.

Until .... I received a dare from a friend who challenged me to ask the girls to pose for a photograph. I couldn't pass up the challenge that easily, could I? So, after mustering all my courage, this is the result. All you got to do is ask. Open your mouth and ask. Chances are, you will get it. Like this photo. Nice, right? Blue hair, right? The sweetest smile, right?

How to swat a fly

Solved: the mystery of why flies are so hard to swat.

Researchers in the united State think it's all due to the fly's fast-acting brain and an ability to plan ahead. They made some high-speed, high-resolution video recordings that showed the insects quickly working out where a threat was coming from and preparing an escape route.

So what's the best way of swatting a fly? According to California Institute of Technology Professor Michael Dickinson, just creep up very slowly behind the critter and aim ahead of its location. "When it comes to striking the blow, it's not a good idea to aim at the fly's starting position. It's best to aim a bit forward of its location and try to anticipate where the fly will jump when it first sees your swatter."

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Permatang Pauh: Puzzle in Seberang Jaya results

It's interesting to note that Seberang Jaya is not only the main urban town centre in the Permatang Pauh constituency but it also lends its name to my polling station, the Sek Keb Seberang Jaya (SKSJ). The Taman Siakap area is the oldest part of Seberang Jaya (the town) and while the Seberang Jaya mosque, the Seberang Jaya public swimming pool and the Sony-sponsored sport recreational centre are just a stone's throw away, the biggest landmark here is the SKSJ where both my daughter and son had their primary school education.

The People's Parliament revealed Tuesday the details of the voting pattern in Seberang Jaya (the polling station). I was surprised:

Box 1 : Anwar 158 / Arif 97
Box 2 : Anwar 258 / Arif 7
Box 3 : Anwar 335 / Arif 201
Box 4 : Anwar 369 / Arif 141
Box 5 : Anwar 356 / Arif 161

Box 2 was where I cast my vote. Remember, I did observe in an earlier post that my queue was especially long that morning. Everyone was complaining about it. Also, when I was waiting in the line, I could see that there was a good mix of voters of all races, both in front and behind me. So this type of result comes as a big surprise. Was the BN candidate so overwhelmingly abandoned by the very people he was supposed to champion or was this figure simply a misreport or a mistype? I cannot believe that there were only 265 voters registered for this line the whole day through whereas Boxes 3 to 5 contained at least 500 ballot papers each. It is also unbelievable that he had the support of only three percent of the Box 2 voters when in all the other boxes, he was consistently the choice of some 30 percent of the voters. In the interest of fair reporting, I think Haris Ibrahim (The People's Parliament blogger) should try to verify this result.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Permatang Pauh: Three wise monkeys

This cartoon is too good to ignore!
But tell me ... who can these monkeys portray?

Putrajaya Today

This is PUTRAJAYA calling!

Malaysia Today

Raja Petra's Malaysia Today website has been blocked by local ISPs on orders from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). However, you don't have to fret. Malaysia Today is still accessible from or its IP address, They'll still take you here:

Permatang Pauh: what's right, what's wrong?

It had to happen, don't you think so? Just think very hard. What's this month all about, according to the Chinese lunar calendar? Why, the Month of the Hungry Ghosts, that's what! So it wasn't all completely surprising to learn that late yesterday afternoon:

Police arrest for MP and sons who helped to detain two empty buses suspected of ferrying phantoms to polling stations

Good morning Permatang Pauh

I always thought that this song by Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) was self-composed but I was mistaken. The words came from a poem by a lady named Eleanor Farjeon. Here is the poem. I think you will know it so well that you can sing it along with me (and let the chords on the piano resound loudly in your head):

A Morning Song (For the First Day of Spring)
by Eleanor Farjeon

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the world

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Permatang Pauh: Anwar confirmed as landslide winner

There doesn't seem to be any official announcement yet but unofficially, Pakatan Rakyat's Anwar Ibrahim is the decisive winner of the by-election. Seems that he has obtained 69 percent of the total votes cast compared to Barisan Nasional's Ariff Shah who got 31 percent. I still don't know who the third candidate was, but his share of the votes was almost zero. So now, Anwar Ibrahim has been returned to Parliament and he is set to become the new Opposition Leader. His trials haven't ended yet but the journey continues....

UPDATE: Seems that the official announcement from the Elections Commission put Anwar with 31,195 votes, Ariff Shah with 15,524 votes and Hanafi with 92. Anwar won with a majority of 15,671 which is even higher than the margin secured by his wife earlier this year.

Now, the questions are these: Will Anwar make a beeline to Parliament House tomorrow to insist that the Speaker swear him in immediately? What if the Speaker refuses to do that? What action can Anwar invoke next? Dear me....the next few days leading to our 51st Merdeka celebrations are fraught with a lot of political uncertainties....

Malaysiakini's disservice to Permatang Pauh by-election

Note to self: Great disservice by Malaysiakini. They are missing out on goodwill and history by not providing more access to their Permatang Pauh stories today. They allowed it for a limited time during the General Elections in March; they could have allowed it again for one or two days during this very important by-election period.

If you need some on-the-ground instant gratification and updates, try these sites: The Malaysian Insider, The People's Parliament, Anil Netto and Susan Loone.

UPDATE: Both Anil Netto and The Malaysian Insider sites seem to have crashed as at 7.40pm today.

UPDATE 2: Both sites are now up again at about 11pm.

UPDATE 3: The Malaysian Insider is down now (27 Aug, 10am)

Some Permatang Pauh observations (1)

Did anybody ever mention that this is the Chinese seventh month? The Month of the Hungry Ghosts? Yes, it is, indeed! However, celebration this year seems to be so muted. I've seen stages being erected in various parts of Bukit Mertajam and on the island, but that's about all. Anyone unobservant could be excused if he forgot all about the Chinese seventh month.

Maybe it's because of the by-election in Permatang Pauh. The Pakatan and Barisan flags and buntings are everywhere and have overshadowed everything else.

Anyway, I was quite amused a few days ago to come across these small flags by the roadside. Suddenly, my mind was jolted. Say, I thought to myself, isn't this so reminiscent of the little triangular flags that we Chinese would display by the roadside during the Month of the Hungry Ghosts?

You know, the battle for Permatang Pauh is primarily a battle for the Malay votes. They make up about 75 percent of the registered voters in this constituency. The rest are the Chinese, Indians and other minorities. Maybe that's why there are so few banners in Chinese. Here's one of the half-hearted attempts at persuading the masses.

But a disturbing sight is this billboard in Permatang Pauh town itself. I saw it this morning as I was driving back from casting my vote. I don't have to know Mandarin to guess what this caricature is all about. Why must our politicians still be playing the racial trick? Why can't be we talking about UNITY instead of DISUNITY? When can they ever learn that Enough is Enough?

Permatang Pauh: voting in Seberang Jaya

Absolutely good weather this morning when I left the house. Bright and shiny. Had to park quite a distance away and walk to my polling station, the Sekolah Kebangsaan Seberang Jaya in Taman Siakap. There's one observation I must make about Taman Siakap. The Chinese population here is probably higher than other areas in this town and I met a number of old familiar faces among the voters.

The roads outside the school was a hive of activity. Nothing rowdy, everybody very civilised. The policemen on duty here have an easy job. Maybe a boring job. Nevertheless, an envious job. The Pakatan party members who were still urging people to vote for their candidate (Barisan party members were hardly in sight although there was plenty of their banners and buntings) were going about their businesses with such politeness. Such an air of confidence.

Voters felt extremely bored waiting in line. Of the five lines at the polling station, one couldn't help wondering why the first line was almost devoid of a queue while the other four lines were maybe 20 to 50 people deep. Anyway, I waited almost an hour to do my duty. Who did this person (right) vote for? He was one of the lucky few that had the chance to go into the first line.

At about 9.30am today, who did I see rolling into the polling station? None other than roly-poly himself, the blardy Peh Moh in his songkok and trying to shake hands with the voters. There's no enthusiasm anywhere. Maybe, one or two people shook his hands but definitely, I didn't see anyone greet him happily or called out to him. People just smiled politely. But really! Is a candidate allowed to do that? Walk into the polling stations on polling day and greet the voters? Isn't this an extension of campaigning? I thought all personal campaigning was supposed to have ended last midnight.

My job was done at about 10 o'clock. Outside the school, past the police line, PKR members were still politely approaching me to say their Thank Yous for coming to vote. Still an air of quiet confidence.

Permatang Pauh crunch day

So today's what you call the Day of Reckoning
Arise! 6.20am. Be done with my wakening
Donning my clothes, it's RED that I'm wearing
Breakfast's done by seven, now I'm driving

To Seberang Jaya where I'll be voting
As a responsible citizen, my duty I'll be doing
My children's future, I'll be deciding
A new direction for the country, I'll be contributing

This afternoon will be very long in waiting

Maybe up BM Hill, I will be going
Then by dinner time, we'll hope to be hearing
That comes 51 years later, the times they will be a-changing

Monday, 25 August 2008

Double take: Pak Lah, Pak Jimmy Page

In the left corner, from Kepala Batas, Pak Lah. In the right corner, from London, Pak Jimmy Page (performing at the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics on 24 Aug 2008).

Beijing Bird's Nest rocks to Jimmy Page's whole lotta love

I returned home last night at just the right time to hear the opening riffs of Whole Lotta Love. What did I see when I walked through the door? Old Man Jimmy Page himself! How cool to see him performing live at the Beijing Olympics' closing ceremony atop a London bus.

My only disappointment: no Robert Plant. Instead, it was Leona Lewis. Moreover, some of the lyrics had to be changed or dropped. For instance, the line "I'm gonna give you every inch of my love" became "I'm gonna give you every bit of my love". Also, the third verse, which includes similar sexual innuendoes, was dropped. But was was sorely missed most of all must have been Plant's pantings, oohs and ahhs and the final blood-curdling scream. How I would have loved to hear it rip across the stadium. Instead, Leona gave the most innocuous version of the song that I've ever heard.

BTW, one of my friends took a look at Page and promptly texted me: "was it Pak Lah playing the guitar?" Pak Page sure looked a lot like Pak Lah from near!

Reject this, reject that

Interesting news summary that I saw this morning on Malaysiakini. A call by no less a person than our deputy prime minister to reject Anwar Ibrahim in the Permatang Pauh parliamentary by-election. This message was obviously aimed at the Malay population who make up about 75 percent of the voters in the constituency.

But i was thinking: surely he must give more credit to the people? In the age of ICT, especially as we approach the country's 51st Merdeka, surely people's mindset would have changed for the better? Let's not under-estimate the mentality of our friends. Rject Najib for insulting Malay dignity.

Hungry enough?

It's Manchester United versus Portsmouth today and the team's under pressure to score their first win of the season. Question is, are they hungry enough?

"Chelsea did not win the Premier League last year. I have been in that position. You are hungry and determined, and you want to win it, simple as that. We have got to match their determination, their hunger and their desire. But we have players at the club who have tasted success over the last couple of years and want more."

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Permatang Pauh traffic jams and public holiday

Well, I had to go out to George Town for a meeting today. No problem with going out to the island but I took the time to breeze through Permatang Pauh and then Seberang Jaya. Easy traffic at about noon. Not too many cars on the roads. Pockets of enthusiastic supporters of Pakatan Rakyat were enjoying themselves by the roadsides and distributing leaflets to motorists who cared to wind down their windows. (I did.)

But coming back to the mainland was terrible. I had expected Jalan Baru to be jam-packed so I diverted to the Butterworth-Kulim highway. Well, traffic was heavy along Jalan Permatang Pauh and it wasn't helped by the Police who had set up a road block to check the identity cards of motor-cyclists. But at least, traffic was moving.

I diverted through Perda when it became apparent that traffic was not moving at the Bukit Tengah roundabout. But I wasn't able to turn into Jalan Padang Lalang and had to proceed straight through Jalan Muthu Palaniappan. Also jam-packed. A police car attempted the near impossible: it squeezed through the centre of the road inbetween two rows of cars. Dunno what's the rush. Impatience? Join the queue, lah....

Anyway, I arrived home to learn that Tuesday's been declared a special state public holiday by the Penang government. In case you haven't heard about it, it's been reported by thestar online, Malaysiakini and The Malaysian Insider. Actually, a little bird asked me yesterday whether I would prefer a half day off or a full day, and I chirped back that the government shouldn't do things by half measures. Either a full-day public holiday be declared or none at all. Anyway, while it's good news for civil servants, I doubt many businesses and companies in Penang will observe the holiday. Most probably, anyone in the private sector that will be voting in Permatang Pauh will be given time off. Me? My one-day's leave has already been approved by my bosses. If my wife has the day off, most probably we'll go climb the BM Hill in the afternoon and then wait for the results to come in later in the night.

14000th visit

Gee .... unexpectedly, I noticed the 14,000th visit to this blog (since 7 Feb 2008) at exactly 11am today. Nothing great, of course, but worth a documentation for my own satisfaction:

Sumatran rhino rescue mission

This is a wonderful picture of the endangered male Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis harrissoni) which was located in an oil palm plantation in an eastern part of Sabah. On 5 Aug 2008 after a 10-day operation, the rhino was finally rescued from the plantation and transported to the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Lahad Datu which is the new Bornean Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary.

According to Sabah Wildlife Department director Laurentius Ambu: “The rescue of this adult male rhino in his prime is timely as the department is addressing the rhino population issue by launching a semi-captive rhino breeding programme based in Tabin. We commend the plantation management for immediately informing and assisting the department in rescuing the rhino. The fact that the rhino was not harmed and that the department was informed immediately tells us two things. First, that people are aware that the rhino is a totally protected species and that if anyone had harmed him, it would be a mandatory jail time for them and secondly they recognise how it is a really unique and special animal that needs to be saved."

Also, the WWF-Malaysia believed that the rescued rhino - estimated at only 30 left in Sabah - was the same animal captured on its camera and video trap in Feb 2007 as part of its rhino tracking efforts in the same area. I had blogged about the animal here.

Wearing two hats?

This is extracted from Wong Chun Wai's blog last Wednesday:
"Kulim Bandar Baru MP Zulkifli Noordin must be a man wearing many hats or many masks. After barging into the Bar Council forum, which he has now denied, and having earned the reputation for being the loudest protestor, he is now telling us that he was there as an exco member of Persatuan Peguam Pembela Islam, and not as an MP."
I've only one comment: does this racist guy take us for fools, does he really expect us to believe this poor example for an excuse? Said the Queen Of Hearts: "Off with his head!"

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Permatang Pauh king-makers

Permatang Pauh is actually the name of a sleepy town in Province Wellesley. A small pocket of Chinese traders amidst a sea of their Malay brothers. Ordinarily, there's nothing going on there but since the past fortnight, Permatang Pauh is in every Malaysian's mind and on every Malaysian's tongue.

Permatang Pauh is also the name of the parliamentary constituency that's in the midst of a by-election. It's a three-cornered fight here but nobody is giving the luckless third chap any notice. So effectively, the fight is between Anwar Ibrahim and Ariff Shah.

Driving through the Permatang Pauh constituency in the morning is no fun. Most of the electioneering activities would have taken place the night before and will take place again nightly until Monday. So it's just like an ordinary day when I drove through Permatang Pauh the town today towards Kubang Semang and back to Bukit Mertajam. The only difference between driving through the area now and, say, two months ago, is the election decoration. Both sides of the roads are lined with posters, buntings and flags of the Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional. The third chap's election machinery is still stillborn so he can safely say Bye Bye to his RM15,000 deposit.

If you want to base this by-election on these decorations alone, I can say that it is a close call between the Pakatan Rakyat and the Barisan Nasional. For one thing, the decorations are horrible, totally lacking in imagination. For another thing, both political parties have lousy models as their poster boys. Yucks! I guess you cannot have everything, right?

So what's the story in Permatang Pauh? Where can you go to read the real stories about what's happening during the campaigning? Answer: not the mainstream Press. Instead, try the alternative Press and the blogs maintained by hordes of politically-minded bloggers.

The mainstream Press, of course, still haven't completely learnt from the lessons of the March elections, are still printing stories to run down Anwar. It's quite amusing to see their pathetic attempts. But then, readers have now learnt to read mainstream papers the right way. If the newspapers say BAD, interpret it as GOOD. If the story says HARSH SIDE, read it as SENSITIVE SIDE. Then you get a more balanced picture.

On the other hand, the alternative Press - The Malaysian Insider, Malaysiakini, The Nut Graph (a new one) - have been serving up mental images that are a complete contrast to the mainstream efforts. And they say that it is going to be a big victory for Anwar. In addition, there are so many other sources of information on the Internet, including pictures, that serve to support the reports by the alternative Press.

One of my friends said that the people in Permatang Pauh are a lucky lot. I think what he meant was, the voters of Permatang Pauh are the lucky ones. They get a chance to exercise their constitutional rights twice this year. Moreover, they are considered as king-makers this time around as they may actually be deciding the next direction which this country will take. On both counts, that's true. Otherwise, why should I be looking forward to the red letter day, 26 Aug 2008, when I'm able to cast my vote again?

Colour dilemma

I'm in a real dilemma. Come this Tuesday, what colour of a T-shirt should I be wearing to the polling station??

Fuel prices drop!!

Barisan Nasional Federal Government offers voters a BIG 45-cent cut in the prices of fuel!!

15 cents for RON97 petrol
22 cents for RON92 petrol
8 cents for diesel
TOTAL 45 cents

No need to wait for the Pakatan Rakyat to take over the Federal Government before fuel prices are decreased. Ha ha ha ha ha .........

Malaysia Chess Festival 2008 (2)

Now, here's where I was last weekend. Lighting at the MidValley Exhibition Centre was far better than that at the CitiTel hotel. I don't like the artificial hue of the CitiTel ballroom. The colours are just not natural at all. At least, at the exhibition centre, the colours are more natural.

Note: Click here for my chess stories on It's All In The Planning!

Friday, 22 August 2008

Big yawn at Seberang Prai City Shopping Centre

Yes, it was a Big Yawn for me, all right! I made a detour to Province Wellesley's newest shopping complex and I came away with the impression that there's nothing I haven't seen before in the other shopping complexes in Penang. It was One Big Yawn, okay?

The whole complex was about, maybe, 70 percent tenant-occupied with Jaya Jusco being the anchor here. But it's a curiosity that this departmental store is separated into two areas within the building and they are not connected. Maybe that's their strategy because no matter where you turn - left or right - you can hardly avoid seeing the Jusco name. You'd think that the whole building revolves around them (and maybe you're right)!

I bet you've seen the inside of a Jusco store before, right?

But I'm not impressed. How to be impressed when apart from Popular Book Store, there's no other choice? No MPH, no Borders. How to be impressed when there's only one outlet selling DVDs and VCDs? No alternative choice for music lovers. How to be impressed when the other tenants there are just replicates of what's already available at the Sunway Carnival Mall or the Queensbay Mall?

Oh, of course, if you are only thinking about food, you won't be disappointed. There are enough choices for you: KFC, McD (opening soon), Starbucks, Old Town, Gloria Jeans, Nando's, Baskin Robbins, Pizza Hut, Secret Recipe, Laksa Shack, to name a few of them. Plus a food court too.

There's nothing really new. No excitement in the building's layout, in the shops, in the eateries. One walk around the block is enough for me to say that yes, my curiosity's satisfied. I've seen the inside of the Seberang Prai City Shopping Centre and there's nothing to shout about. Disappointed....

Confiscating a ... scanner?

Gosh, I've been reading from The Malaysian Insider website that the Police raided Raja Petra Kamarudin's house this morning and took away his notebook computer, some documents and .... a scanner!

Gosh again, I think that I am missing something here. I wonder what electronic forensic evidence or information will the Police extract from the scanner. What are the parts of a scanner anyway? Does it include a memory chip to retain images of items scanned?

Andrew's WiFry antenna

You may be wondering what is this Chinese cookware that has an electronic device stuck in its middle. That electronic device, by the way, is a USB wifi adapter. A hole had been cut in the cookware so that the wifi adapter could poke through. Together, this is a homemade wifi booster and it's usually called a WiFry antenna.

I've heard of it before but never actually seen one. Now I have. Andrew was showing it to me when I was in KL last week for the Malaysian Chess Festival. We were at the far end of one of the halls at the MidValley Exhibition Centre. There was no direct wifi connectivity and his laptop could detect only two very weak signals from his work desk. But the moment he connected the Wifry to his laptop, the number of signals jumped to five. So the darn contraption actually worked! The signals were still very poor but at least, it detected signals that his laptop alone couldn't detect. I captured this second picture of Andrew hard at work without his WiFry turned on.

But there is a third photo as well. As I said, the signals were poor at the far end of the hall. Here's Andrew trying his best to capture some signals so that he could blog about the Festival. No luck!

You may think that the WiFry is funny or nerdy but there are people all over the world who swear by it. There have been claims that signals as far away as three to five kilometres could be received under ideal conditions.

Opening today: Province Wellesley's newest mall

After months of anticipation, this Seberang Prai City Shopping Centre is opening today. I'm sure there'll be lots of curious window shoppers that'll be thronging the place for the next few weeks. Questions abound. Will this place continue to draw in the crowd after the euphoria is over? Will this place succumb to the Malaysian malady and turn eventually into a third-rate pasar malam centre like the Midland One-Stop Centre or the Bukit Jambul Complex?

I think I'll take a recce around the block when I go home today and take a look at the crowd...if i remember, of course!

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Datukship for Lee Chong Wei?

Is the Penang state government dead set on heaping a Datuk title on Lee Chong Wei? My advice is:

Please don't do it because you are setting a very dangerous precedence. A bigger worry is that you may be destroying his career. He'll be put under immense pressure to perform and live up to the award. Chong Wei is not Nicol David. She is strong enough to handle it but can he too? So I say, let him be. Please let him be. Find other ways to recognise his achievement but don't give him this title.