Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Leon Thum

I want to introduce you to this young man from Penang. Leon Thum is his name and he runs a small and thriving enterprise in Penang. But his talent goes beyond managing the family business. Just watch this video and you'll know why. In fact, the organisers of this year's Penang Jazz Festival at the end of the year should invite him to be there!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

LCCT now nearer with KLIA Transit

---- The information in this post is no longer applicable but is retained for archive purpose only ----

Now, this is one piece of interesting news for people like me who sometimes travel by AirAsia or any of the other budget airlines from the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)! Instead of the shuttle buses that ply between KL Sentral and the LCCT, there is a real alternative.

Maybe I should add, with tongue-in-cheek, that it is a rail alternative as well. You see, since 15 Sep 2009, travellers heading to the LCCT have a choice with the KLIA Transit train. The train still doesn't stop at the LCCT but the air terminal is now one step closer.

The KLIA Transit train from KL Sentral, Bandar Tasik Selatan or Putrajaya and Cyberjaya now stops at the Salak Tinggi station and a dedicated air-conditioned shuttle coach will ferry people directly to the LCCT. If you need porter service at the Salak Tinggi station, no problem: they'll be available at no extra charge.

ERL CEO Noormah Mohd Noor said the service was not meant to compete with bus services to LCCT but to provide an alternative for passengers. “It is the right time for this service. There is a demand for better, safer and more comfortable modes of travel and passengers are willing to pay for that.”

With 73 daily trips between KL Sentral and LCCT, a one-way ticket from KL Sentral to the LCCT costs RM12.50 for adults and RM6 for children. Two-way tickets cost RM22 (adult) and RM11 (child). Shuttle bus services from the Salak Tinggi station to the LCCT are free during the promotion period but at this time, there's no indication when this promotion will last. Note: This is still a half-an-hour journey by the shuttle bus.

From Bandar Tasik Selatan station to the LCCT, tickets are priced at RM8.30 (adult) and RM4 (child). The shuttle bus service is charged at RM2.50 per person. And from Putrajaya and Cyberjaya station, tickets are priced at RM3 (adult) and RM1.50 (child) while shuttle bus services are also at RM2.50 per person.

Archived post: KLIA-LCCT shuttle bus

---- The information in this post (first written on 22 Nov 2007) is no longer applicable but is retained for archive purpose only ----
[A special note to readers. This post refers only to the shuttle bus service plying between the KLIA's Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) and the Main Terminal Building (MTB). This bus service is especially useful if you arrive on a budget airline at the LCCT and need to catch a connecting full service flight from the MTB, or vice-versa.

If you want to know more about the shuttle bus services plying between the LCCT and the KL Sentral transportation hub in the Kuala Lumpur city centre, click here for my subsequent post.

LATEST (29 Sep 2009): And if you want to know whether it's possible to travel by the high-speed train between the LCCT and the KL Sentral, yes, it is. Click here to read.

Thank you for visiting my blog. If you feel the information is helpful, please leave a message.]
When you look out from an AirAsia aircraft at the KLIA-LCCT, chances are that you will see the Main Terminal Building (MTB) of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The MTB is just a relatively short hop across from the LCCT. In fact, they are located within the same grounds of the whole KLIA complex, only at different buildings. If you are permitted to cut across the tarmac from one building to another, which you cannot do, it will probably take you no more than 30 minutes of walking time.
But of course, you can't. If you want to go to the MTB from the LCCT, you'll have to travel in a long, circuitous route instead of in a straight line.
Not many people realise that there is actually a shuttle bus that plies between the LCCT and the MTB, departing every 20 minutes or so. The shuttle bus service costs RM1.50 per passenger. And because of the long, circuitous route which it must take, the journey takes about 20 minutes to complete.
Recently, I had the occasion to take this bus from the LCCT to the MTB. The station is just outside the LCCT building. As you exit, immediately turn left and walk maybe 10 to 20 metres. There'll be several buses, most will take you to KL Sentral in Kuala Lumpur, but be patient and wait for a green bus to come around.
I didn't have long to wait before boarding the vehicle. But be forewarned. Some of the vehicles may not be in impressive condition, and that's a shame because the shuttle bus may possibly be the first exposure that some foreign tourists will get of our country.
Okay, maybe this was just one of the many buses. There may be worse and then, there may be better ones too. But I imagine what some tourists will think of them. Maybe, the authorities believe that people who travel the low-budget way and use the LCCT will not mind and have no grounds to compare and complain even if an old junk is used to ferry passengers between the LCCT and the MTB. Well, it is time for the authorities to clean up their act. They'd better do something fast.

Passed my medical

"Uncle, you're okay." Reassuring words from a ... doctor. Mmm...since when do doctors start calling their clients uncles or aunties? But it's true, that was how a doctor addressed me last Saturday when she went through the results of my medical check-up.

I had gone for the medical about a month ago - the whole works: blood test, ECG, street test, spirometer test, ultrasound to check my internal organs, bone density test, hearing test - but only bothered to collect my report last Saturday. Whew, what a relief! A whole lot removed from my mind. By and large, the pieces I call my body parts still click in unison. Cholesterol level is well within the normal limit without medication and stress test showed that the old muscle in the chest is still thumping away okay. There may be a little continuing concern with uric acid level, a problem dating back some 20 years, but it's also well within control with my unorthodox prophylactic medication. Anyway, I know that I must continue to watch my diet, especially intake of carbohydrates. Oh yes, the tests also showed a little wear-and-tear in my left heel. Osteopinea, the report said. No wonder I was feeling stiffer than normal for quite some time already.

Monday, 28 September 2009

New old glasses or old new glasses

I really hope this will not be an unlucky third time for me. Twice already, I have had to replace the lenses on my spectacles because twice, I broke them. Put it down to clumsiness on my part. The first time I broke my glasses, I had perched it precariously on the edge of the bathroom sink. The second time, my hands went wild and I accidentally hit my glasses. Naturally, it flew off my face. So this is the fourth pair of lenses on the same spectacles frame. Wish me luck; I need it for my spectacles!

Sunday, 27 September 2009

English mauled

This post is dedicated to my dear wife who is about to experience the warm hospitality of the Korean people.

But first .... here is a lesson in the English language from one of them!

But there's one redeeming factor...I admire his courage.


I know that you bean waiting for me, I’m weighing too
In ma inaiinasin I be a lump on you
I know you cop dat fever for me hundrentu
Bo I know dat fir sem my temperentthru

If there’s a camel up a hill then it’s Gong Li with me when I do Ido
If there’s a camel up a hill then its asbestos flaygon you too you too
Coz if you run your mother break a bottle sicker run day boo
I will hunt chu down
Coz baby I’m up in my beegees like a windy interview
But dis is prry vee bit two in eye

tuts my barreh
pull me on the flow
wrestle me around
play it wit some more
tuts my barreh
throw me on the bay
i juss wanna mek yu fill like yu never dee
tuts my barreh
rape me in the thighs
uh around your ways
just a little taze
tuts my barreh
know you love my cock
come on a give me water dessert

bo you can poo ne on yolakka branoo eye-tee
i'll honk you berra tara den my favorite cheese
i want you to caress me like a tropical priest
a flororo with you in the caribbean sea

tuts my barreh
pull me on the flow
wrestle me around
play it wit some more
tuts my barreh
throw me on the bay
i juss wanna mek yu fill like yu never dee
tuts my barreh
rape me in the thighs
uh around your ways
just a little taze
tuts my barreh
know you love my cock
come on a give me water dessert

don't you like a teddybear
you won, wanna go Norway?
in the labor luxury
boys just turn to me
you wanna run for nothing bo
i will give you plankton

Tuts my barREH!
Pull me on the flow
Lesson me around
Play it wit some more
Tuts my barreh
Throw me on the bay
I juss wanna mek yu fill like yu never dee
Tuts my barreh
Rape me in my thighs
Araranyo way
Just a little Tay
Tuts my barreh
Know you love my cock
Come on a give me water dessert

And toss me

oyEe oyEe oyEe oyEe oyEe a a a a a
ohyEe ohyEe ohyEe ohyEe ohyEe ohyEe
a A a A a
hoOOOooOOoo hoo hoo babeh
oooooOOOOOooOOo oo oo tuts my
aaaaAAaaaAaa aah aahh uhaughh

Come on and give me water dessERT!

hooooooohohoOho ohooho ahuh

A spider's lesson

We just returned from a morning at the Buddhist Hermitage in Lunas. Nothing extraordinary happened, except that we saw this huge spider. Is it a golden orb weaver? No matter, it's one big mean specimen, a true wonder of nature. I would estimate that its body length alone - excluding the legs - would measure some 1.5 inches long. However, a closer examination would reveal that it is missing a leg. Sad to see that in such a beautiful creature. But this is a lesson in survival. Despite obstacles that life puts in our paths, we will still find a way to live, grow and be successful.

Roast rats, anyone?

Talking about rats running around free and naked at the Campbell Street wet market in George Town, someone pointed out to me that in Thailand, roast rats make a great delicacy. That was very intriguing information; intriguing enough for me to look it up on the Internet.

But first, I thought that roast rats are only sold in southern China but obviously, my news is rather out-of-date. They are more widespread than I thought: there are roast rats sold all the way from India, through the whole Indo-Chine region and into China. That's one huge region! And according to a Reuters report, Cambodia exports about 50 tons of rats to Vietnam every day:

The rains in the Mekong Delta area have helped boost the Cambodian trappers' catch, as more rats rush out from their flooded holes and into waiting cages.

"There were so many rodents we just can't eat them all, so we need to export lots more to Vietnam," Cambodian rat trader Kang Chanthan told Reuters. "It's good business."

"If you prepare them well and fry the meat with garlic and put some mint on it, they're tastier than chickens," he added.

The rat hunters (or, rat farmers??) are making good profits from their huge bounty, especially since the price of a rat is many times higher than an equivalent piece of chicken meat or pork. Man, if rats are such delicacies in this region, why hasn't any enterprising person turn this into a business in Malaysia yet? I'm confident there will be lots of enthusiastic people who can't wait to pick at the pieces of roast rat meat with their dainty little fingers, dip the meat into some tangy chilly sauce and slurp it all down with a glass of local kopi-oh. Or maybe, we should see whether our local vermin can be exported too. I'm sure that if Cambodia can export rats to their more advanced Vietnamese neighbours, Malaysia can also send our quality rats to, let's say, our more affluent Singaporean neighbours.

Note: This is a picture from the Internet. I haven't been so unlucky to have come across them any where in Malaysia!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Going country with Doye O'Dell

This is one of the very few 10-inch record in my collection and it turns out to be quite a gem: possibly Doye O'Dell's very first album. When I was listening to his music as a kid, I used to imagine myself being one of the cowboys sitting around the crackling fire at night and listening to cowboy songs. Well, listening to this album today left me with exactly that same imagination and warm feeling inside.

Allen Doye O'Dell (22 Nov 1912 - 2001) was an American singer and songwriter of cowboy songs, and also an actor. He grew up on a Texas cotton spread and went on to raise his own crop of country hits.

Side 1: It Makes No Difference Now, According To The Evidence, San Antonio Rose, You're The Only Star In My Blue Heaven, Pretty Woman For The Boss
Side 2: Bow Your Head And Pray, Oklahoma Hills, Old Shep, It Won't Be Texas To You, Red River Valley


Huh! So it turns out that there really was a challenge from Gerakan Youth to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to debate the Kampung Buah Pala land scam issue.

However, Gerakan president Koh Tsu Koon looks like he wants to dodge the issue himself and has sent some underlings to represent him, which is really an insult.

It begs the question why he doesn't dare to face Lim Guan Eng directly. This will always raise the question of whether there is really something to hide. It would've been interesting to see the two square up again.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Debate over Kampung Buah Pala?

Remember this Big Debate on 20 Aug 2008 on the land scam issues affecting Penang? Will there be another one soon between Lim Guan Eng and Koh Tsu Koon over the Kampung Buah Pala land title transfer scam?

I think this matter needs to be sorted out once and for all so that we know for sure who were the parties responsible for creating all this big mess in Kampung Buah Pala - the present state government or the previous state government - and this Big Debate, Part Two if it ever gets organised, should be the forum to let everything out into the open. Let the facts speak for themselves!

Penang Heritage: George Town's Campbell Street wet market

This is the Campbell Street wet market. It is probably the oldest existing market in George Town, built around 1900 or so at a then princely cost of $21,000. It sits at the junction of Carnarvon Street, Buckingham Street and Campbell Street, next to a police station and diagonally across from the wakaf land belonging to the Kapitan Kling mosque.

This is the interior of the market's main building that houses the fish and vegetable sections. The building itself has ornate cast iron columns and brackets reminiscent of late Victorian markets but I hadn't the time to explore the building properly as my attention was soon diverted to the poultry section at a side building.

The main building was empty but at least here, there was still some activity going on in the late afternoon. Time was about 5pm. People - obviously the poultry sellers - relaxing and bumming around with cigarettes in their mouths.

You get to see these caged chicken and geese. I wonder how well they are fed. Looked scrawny to me. Obviously, after market hours, nobody bothers much with them.

We shouldn't forget these bold friends running along the ground and into the drains. I would estimate that from tip to tip, that, is, from the nose to the tail, the critter is probably 12 to 13 inches long. Enough to scare the blardy hell out of me!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

A dash of luck

I was exploring a bit of Campbell Street on Monday afternoon to while away some time while my wife was busily working away her credit card in a fabric shop. The road was almost deserted. Must be due to the Hari Raya holidays. Anyway, most of the shops were shuttered down, including this one:

Nice name for a shop although I don't know whether the business owners are as lucky as they sound.

Note: Luck was with me. Not much of a fiscal damage to the credit card...only about RM200 worth of swipes. Textile shop's boss was away in Japan or otherwise, damage could have been far more worse.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Cute boy

This three-foot high statue was found selling in, of all places, a shop specialising in Chinese worship paraphernalia.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Dealing with noisy neighbours

Sometimes you have a noisy neighbour and have to live with it. You can’t do anything about them if they keep on making noise but what we can do, as we showed today, is you can get on with your life, put your television on and turn it up a bit louder.

Manchester is always RED

It was quite a match, wasn't it? Totally gripping. With its fair share of howlers and bloopers, actually. But nothing could take away the drama and excitement of this derby match in Manchester between Manchester United and .... who were they again?

If anything, it just goes to accentuate two facts: one, Manchester will always be RED, not green or blue, yellow or whatever, and two, Michael Owen is PRICELESS!

Although the score was a flattering 4-3 for the visitors, it was always the Red Devils that were always ahead in the game. Wayne Rooney opened accounts after only two minutes into the game, then Darren Fletcher soared high in the air to give ManU two precious goals. But it was Michael Owen who scored the most valuable goal in the dying seconds of the game.

Critics will always be questioning why the referee had allowed the game to continue beyond the four minutes of allotted added time and it's true that Owen's goal came in the fifth minute and 25th second of added time but hey, that's football. I'd be equally upset if this had happened against Manchester United too.

I saw this explanation in The Independent, though:
Owen scored on 95 minutes, 25 seconds. However, under Premier League rules, the referee is entitled to go 59 seconds over the added-on time displayed on the fourth official's board. Add that 59 seconds to the requisite one minute extra for a goal, plus 30 seconds extra for a substitution – Michael Carrick came on for Luis Anderson – and Atkinson was within his rights to play past the time Owen scored.
So there you have it!

Unusual fungus

Came across this unusually coloured fungus while climbing the Bukit Mertajam Hill at Ceruk Tokun during the weekend.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Happy, indeed!

Where my orchids are concerned, this is a very happy weekend for me. I've never had five simultaneous blooms from this plant before.

Here 's another view of the orchids:

Lemang for the Eid

Traditionally, the lemang is cooked in a hollowed bamboo stick lined with banana leaf to prevent the rice from sticking to the bamboo. The delicacy originated with the Iban people on Borneo island and prepared for festivities like Hari Gawai, but now embraced by the Malay communities and enjoyed by everyone else in Malaysia. The lemang is made of glutinous rice and coconut milk, with salt added for taste. In my opinion, it's best eaten with chicken curry but my family preferred taking it with meat floss. It's really delicious. I've also heard that some people take lemang with durian but it is difficult to find the lemang during the durian season unless they coincide.

For this long weekend holidays, this picture is dedicated to all my Muslim friends, especially my old school pals (Abu Huraira, Abdullah Sani, Mohd Bakke and others), people from the chess community (Hamid, Ibrahim, Mas Hafizul and the rest of the Muslim chess kakis in Kuala Lumpur), Abdul Razak, Johari Low, Azhar Hew, Jasmine and the people at as-Salihin, Rosnita, Zailan, Mazlan and the rest of my Muslim ex-colleagues from Ban Hin Lee Bank (where, oh, where, are all of you now?) who are celebrating the Eid.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Moon cakes

So long, hungry ghosts; welcome, moon lovers!

Hey, it's the Chinese eighth lunar month already! It's time for moon cakes to make the scene. They used to be available only during the first 15 days of the eighth lunar month but now, they are making an appearance earlier and earlier. For instance, I received this box of delicious moon cakes as a present last month. Unfortunately, they couldn't last. They've all been eaten!


-- written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920s --

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Friday, 18 September 2009 if rehabilitation is possible

So Noordin Md Top is dead in Indonesia. Killed after years of being hunted. And here in Malaysia, we have this bright spark of a Home Minister who is "sad that he's dead" and who says that the fugitive terrorist could have been rehabilitated. "I am sad that we did not get to rehabilitate him."

What the Absolute Fuck (excuse me!) .... as if it is possible to rehabilitate someone that has killed, maimed or injured thousands of people through mindless terrorist attacks on the innocents. Since you missed this chance, please go now and try to find Osama and then rehabilitate him.

Rehabilitate Noordin Top? How? Give him plastic surgery? Give him a new identity? Give him a new life? You think it's possible? You think nobody is going to go after him? Hishammuddin, you are an ASS. Don't make me laugh with your senseless drivel. Rehabilitation, indeed!

Klang Valley Food Hunt 2009

My old pal Siang Jin at, who had been at the forefront of organising the Penang Food Hunt in 2007 and 2008, is now venturing further afield by introducing the first-ever Klang Valley Food Hunt 2009. This first-of-a-kind food hunt in the Klang Valley -- goodness knows where the hunt would take the participants -- will be organised on 3 Oct 2009 while I also hear from him that the third Penang Food Hunt will take place on 13-14 Nov 2009.

I'm taking the opportunity to give his venture some air on my blog because I know that there are treasure hunt/food hunt enthusiasts visiting here. It'll be a grand occasion and I know that the turn-out will be fantastic. But in the meantime, do excuse me while I copy over some extracts from the promotional blurbs of his electronic announcement:

WHAT could be a more exciting way to enjoy Klang Valley’s multi-ethnic food heritage than a hunt that combines culinary delights with a series of thrilling activities? Klang Valley Food Hunt 2009, to be held on 3 Oct 2009, promises to tickle your gastronomic senses and pump up your adrenaline.

This year, we will have a host of new challenges to extend the food-hunting experience. Our theme “Going by Mobile” is supported by a new SMS-based location finder directory service by Maxis. Other attractions include:

  • RM20,000 worth of prizes including cash to the top 20 teams
  • Special discount of RM20 for all Maxis users, who will pay RM70 instead of RM90 as the entry fee
  • Attractive goodie bags for every participant

Registration: 6.30am
Flag off: 8.30am
Date: 3 Oct 2009 (Saturday)
Venue: National Science Centre, Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur

* Limited to 120 teams
** Closing date for registration: 28 Sep 2009

Prize-giving will be held later in the evening. For ENTRY FORMS and more information, please log on to: or or call 03 5621 4818.

Law of the garbage truck

Here is a pearl of wisdom that I read today, and thought that it is worth sharing around with everyone. Have a nice day, and don't spread the garbage around!

One day, I hopped into the taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us.

My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!' This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.'

He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally.

Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so...

Love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don't. Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!

Have a blessed, garbage-free day!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

In the wild

This is a great video about the African safari. Nothing to be shocked about; it's what nature is all about: survival in the wild. Special cameo appearance by a crocodile.

Parasailing horses

Warning sign at the ParkRoyal Hotel in Batu Ferringhi, Penang. I'm sure we all have to be careful of horses flying through the air:

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

New calculator

How cool....I bought a new basic calculator for the home - the old one went kaput and I've got to stop using my fingers and toes to count - and in this day and age, it still comes with an Operation Manual to teach me how to use it! Now, which button should I press to clear the display?!

Get a life, a REAL life!

You start to realise that you don't have a real life when the emails in your Inbox consists mainly of facebook messages from friends and strangers....

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

A darn right "brilliant" idea

Oh dear, oh no, oh dear, oh no.

Have we in Penang also caught the dreadful Malacca virus? Has it become that contagious? Oops, I forgot. Silly me. I mustn't mention that "honorable" name without getting permission first. But who cares? Way back on 5 July 2007, the chief minister of Malacca forbade people from using the name of the state without first seeking permission from their state government. It was a preposterous suggestion without any merit. It's just made the Malacca chief minister a big laughing stock.

But now, I'm very ashamed that Penang has also decreed that nobody - businesses or individuals - can also use this state's name unless permission has been sort from the state government. The excuse? "There had been complaints of the word being used in functions, events and magazines which had nothing to do with the state government."

Let me say it again: IT IS A PREPOSTEROUS SUGGESTION and I'm feeling very indignant over the very idea of it! You cannot prevent anyone from using the state's name. This brilliant idea will be like thousands others that will die a natural death. I assure you.

Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang Penang

There....I've said it many times here and I will continue to mention and use the name of my beloved state. Anyone going to stop me?

American gobbledygook

Some incomprehensible gobbledygook spewing from the mouths of American politicians in recent years...
Former United States president George W Bush (2004): "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (2003): "I think that gay marriage should be between a man and a woman."

Former United States secretary of state Donald Rumsfeld (2002): "Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me because, as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns: The ones we don't know we don't know."

Former United States president Bill Clinton (1998): "It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is. If 'is' means 'is and never has been' that's one thing - if it means 'there is none', that was a completely true statement."

Monday, 14 September 2009

Rediscovering BM Hill

My wife and I took the second alternative route up the Bukit Mertajam Hill at Ceruk To'kun during the weekend. It was unintentional. We were about to park the car when she asked why there were some vehicles emerging from a side road leading to the carpark.

That's the road to the BM Hill dam, I told her. She wanted to visit this dam so I brought her along this dirt track that skirted the right perimeter of the dam. Why not we try going up this way, I suggested to her. The track should lead us to the tarred road halfway between the Wawasan 2020 rest area and the tea house two-thirds up the hill. She was game.

The problem, however, was that this trail was entirely new to us. I had meant to climb it previously but never really gave it much of a thought. We found the path pretty deserted although along the way we did meet with a few other people. But there was nothing that could cause us to stray away. The path was well-trodden, full of indications that it had its fair share of use, and ... of course, littered with empty water bottles at intersections and vague areas that people had (helpfully) left behind to point the way to users.

Now, this is a sure sign that we were on the right track: a broken construction helmet with a welcome greeting to all weary users of the trail.

And sure, soon enough, we reached the end of the trail as it emerged onto the tarred road that leads to the top of the hill.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

My four ladies

Ever since I wrote on facebook that I would spend yesterday morning with four ladies, some people have pricked up their curious ears. Four ladies? Who would they be? Well, here they are: Carly Simon, Carole King, Judy Collins and Joni Mitchell. Four giant singer-songwriter ladies from the 1960s and 1970s...

American singer-songwriter, musician and children's author Carly Simon (born Carly Elisabeth Simon on 25 Jun 1945) rose to fame in the 1970s with a string of hit records and has since been the recipient of a Grammy Award, an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for her work. She is the former wife of James Taylor with whom she has two children: Sarah "Sally" Maria Taylor and Ben Taylor, who are also musicians.

Side 1: The Right Thing to Do, The Carter Family, You're So Vain, His Friends Are More Than Fond of Robin, We Have No Secrets
Side 2: Embrace Me You Child, Waited So Long, It Was So Easy, Night Owl, When You Close Your Eyes

American singer, songwriter and pianist Carole King (born Carole Klein on 9 Feb 1942) has been a successful songwriter for decades, her singing career and fame peaked during the first half of the 1970s. She has won four Grammy Awards and was inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her songwriting along with Gerry Goffin, with whom she penned several great hits for other singers.

Side 1: Brother Brother, It's Going to Take Some Time, Sweet Seasons, Some Kind of Wonderful, Surely, Carry Your Load
Side 2: Music, Song of Long Ago, Brighter, Growing Away from Me, Too Much Rain, Back to California

American folk and standards singer and songwriter Judy Collins (born Judith Marjorie Collins on 1 May 1939) is known for her eclectic tastes in the material she records which has included folk, showtunes, pop, and rock and roll, and for her social activism.

Side 1: Someday Soon, Since You Asked, Both Sides Now, Sons Of, Suzanne, Farewell to Tarwathie
Side 2: Who Knows Where the Time Goes, Sunny Goodge Street, My Father, Albatross, In My Life, Amazing Grace

Canadian musician, songwriter and painter Joni Mitchell (born Roberta Joan Anderson on 7 Nov 1943) began singing in small nightclubs in Canada and then busked on the streets of Toronto. In the mid-1960s she left for New York City and its rich folk music scene, recording her debut album in 1968 and achieving fame first as a songwriter and then as a singer in her own right. Finally settling in Southern California, Mitchell played a key part in the folk rock movement then sweeping the musical landscape.

Side 1: Banquet, Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire, Barangrill, Lesson in Survival, Let the Wind Carry Me, For the Roses
Side 2: See You Sometime, Electricity, You Turn Me On I'm a Radio, Blonde in the Bleachers, Woman of Heart and Mind, Judgement of the Moon and Stars (Ludwig's Tune)