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    Friday, December 31, 2004

    We were discussing our sudden urge for charity last night. Some of my friends were buy food and water and giving it to this temple. And the temple, with the assistance of Sri Lanka Air was going to air this cargo to Sri Lanka. When I say food, I mean instant noodles by the boxes and industrial-sized bottled water. Then we have lines of people at the temple with their boxes of instant noodles and industrial-sized bottled water. In other words, we are talking about a whole lot of instant noodles and industrial-sized bottled water.

    Then it got me thinking as instant noodles and industrial-sized bottled water do. As well intended as we are, wouldn't it make more sense to give money to an organised charity; preferably a reputable one and non-government related?

    I am no United Nations official but think about it. It would take a whole lot of plane to ferry all this low-value cargo to Sri Lanka. And it would be very difficult for people on the ground to distribute rations which are not standardised. Who gets the big bottle of water? Who gets the small ones? Who gets the can of tuna and who get the instant noodles?

    And why instant noodles? I am thinking food that does not require cooking like high-nutrient crackers, chocolate, bread. You know, the sort of thing soldiers eat at war.

    It would make more economic sense to send food from India. Sri Lanka Air and the other airlines should use the planes to ferry high-value water treatment or medical equipment or people. Not cheap food.

    I think, in haste, we want to satisfy our own personal need to give. Just so we know that we have done our part. And because we think we are being smart when we say "I don't give her money. I give her food" because that was how we dealt with our last Indonesian maid when she asked for a loan, we think this reasoning will work in this scale. We are contributing to a distribution hassle.

    Or perhaps if we give money, we think it will go into the pockets of some corrupt government official. Perhaps. But more unlikely. Or we giving money doesn't have the same kind of visual satisfaction of backing up a car filled with instant noodles and bottled water to a temple with people watching. What I think people on the ground need there is money and coordination in using this money. I think that's what the Red Cross is for.

    Thursday, December 30, 2004

    Not that I'll have to cancel my evening plans tomorrow, but I am surprised and disappointed that the Prime Minister has called the country to cancel new year's eve celebrations tomorrow.

    I can hear all the event organisers in the country getting a heart attack right now.

    This move says a lot about the man as a leader of a country. And it worries me a little. Because it shows Badawi as a man of response rather than of forward action. (All those years in business school taught me who to write crap like that!)

    For me, the best thing to do is for the country to move on. It has happened. Let the healing begin. Go on and celebrate the new year. Be mindful and respectful. Don't get pissed drunk and then start humping a goat. Don't kid yourself. (Hah!) Do it as a celebration of life. Whatever people do to greet the new year, do it with a purpose to help those in need. Donate portions of your business takings to charity. Spread the message at the concerts. Show some love. Just shelve the strippers and techno music.

    People in India are playing cricket to raise money for charity. And here we are, praying.

    I am reminded of the former mayor of New York City, Rudolph Giuliani. After the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, he regrouped, and told the city of New York to return to normalcy. Again, let the healing begin. For me, it shows sign of positive leadership and courage to say that.

    Sitting around and praying is not going to do anything for the country except to bum everyone out. Don't get me wrong. Pray, by all means. But there is no need to make it a national agenda. And seriously, do you think people are going to stop partying tomorrow? Hell no! The loser here is really the Malaysian economy.

    I guess tomorrow I will just have to limit my wild night of counting backwards, excessive drinking and wanton sex with anonymous strangers within the boundaries of my apartment walls instead of the park at KLCC or Bangsar. What a bummer.

    Tuesday, December 28, 2004

    Kuala Lumpur: A 22-year-old Malaysian electronic engineer has claimed a national record for running backwards. S Moganasundar ran backwards for 30 kilometres taking three hours, 30 minutes and 35 seconds to compete the feat at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh.

    "I am happy I did this. I always wanted to do something meaningful in life," he said.

    AFP - 28 December 2004

    Sunday, December 26, 2004

    That Learning Channel package on Astro is truly a channel for learning. I already feel so much smarter and geekier. I now know how the CIA train their spies. I also know how the built a super liner. I can't believe that women in Africa do freaky shit to their lips to attract men. And it's confirmed that the only man that looks good in sandals is Jesus.

    But here's one that really floated my boat. Some guy was looking for Noah's flood in the Black Sea. Yes, that Noah. The one with the ark and his animals walking in twos in to a boat he built because God was pissed and he was going to flood the world and destroy mankind.

    Anyway, this archeologist found traces of civilisation on the bed of the Black Sea. I find that very fascinating. But what made me ponder was why didn't I read any of this in the newspapers or hear it on CNN first? This is an amazing discovery that could change history and have an impact on the mind-controlling substance called religion.

    Then it hit me. Maybe this is not real. Maybe its entertainment. Perhaps "The National Geographic Channel" is like the "World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment" of the news world. On the flip side, maybe this is really news but the mainstream news media do not want to carry this news.

    Oh the humanity.

    Friday, December 24, 2004

    Several of my, evidently, good friends have gotten me very lovely Holiday presents this year. (They don't qualify as Christmas presents since I am not Christian, although I do know some of the songs.) And I got the presents early this year since many of them were also going away for the Christmas holidays. Skiing perhaps.

    Let me spare them the suspense. I am not getting anyone any gifts this year. In fact, I don't think I've gotten anyone anything at any Christmas. There are prerequisites you see.

    The only person getting a gift from me this year is Vince, since he is Christian. I was going to get something for his sister too but I couldn't find a box large enough to put myself in.

    But please, don't let the gifts stop coming my way. Please.

    (Taken from "256 Ways To Guarantee A Gift-Free Christmas: Mommy...Santa Doesn't Like Me." p 123.)

    Thursday, December 23, 2004

    It has been almost a month now since I’ve had Astro installed. Frankly, it has been a lot of pressure having all those channels that need to be watched. I’ve never been one to consistently watch a lot of TV. I have not even caught up on my downloaded TV episodes of “Enterprise”, “Joey”, and “Will & Grace” yet and now I have “Matrix Reloaded” calling out to me on HBO.

    First, I have an open question to Astro: Why the subtitles on screen which takes up 30% of the screen? The translate jokes in Malay isn’t any funnier. Shouldn’t the subtitles only be there WHEN I WANT IT? Isn’t that what the SUBTITLE button on my Astro remote is for?

    And I have eight other observations which you may or may not care for.

    1. You can always watch an episode of “Friends” even though you have seen it 72 times.

    2. The longest three seconds of your life is when you are scanning the channels and you hit the Astro Box Office channels and you have to wait for it to “do its thing” before you can move on.

    3. A person is 85% more likely to watch a movie he has seen on one of the movie channels instead of the other movies on the other channels that he hasn’t seen but did want to.

    4. Men are 78% more likely to watch a movie they did not want to watch in the first place because it was a romantic comedy or they thought it was crap.

    5. If a person watches Astro one hour before an appointment, there is a 68.8% chance that this person will be late for the appointment and a 45.2% chance that this person will cancel the appointment.

    6. I now know Malaysia is in the same time zone as Hong Kong and the Philippines and one hour ahead of Thailand.

    7. All those channels and still nothing to watch.

    8. Thanks to Astro, I now know how to speak with a British accent.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2004

    We Malaysians are a strange lot. About seven percent of the Malaysian population are Christians. Yet we embrace and talk about Christmas as if Mary gave birth to Jesus in Pahang and Santa Claus set up a distribution hub next to KLIA.

    Once again, I attribute this phenomenon to this inferiority complex that we Asians have to want to embrace and assimilate cultures that are irrelevant to us because it's the white thing to do. Christmas is a big thing on TV. I wanna be part of it too because Deepavali or Hari Raya ain't too cool. Besides, I can't really sing along to the songs.

    In other words, we are suckers. I am pretty sure that there is some American tourist in Malaysia wondering why there are a bunch of non-Christian's celebrating the birth of Christ.

    And you know we want to make it a big deal about Christmas because we go around asking people what their Christmas plans are. As if we expect the other person to say "Oh, I'm going skiing up in the mountains."

    December 25 is a Saturday. It's already a holiday for most of us. We go back to work on Monday.

    Sure, we all say it's all too commercial but yet we fall for it and go around wishing “Merry Christmas”.

    Guy: Merry Christmas.
    Me: I'm not Christian.
    Guy: You know...it's sad. What happened to the spirit of Christmas? Christmas has become so commercial.
    Me: I don't know. I'm not Christian.

    Having said what I said, I'll admit that I do love the presents I'm getting from those who feel the need to buy gifts just so they can say, "I have to do some Christmas shopping." To which I say,...why only at Christmas? Make it a weekly event.

    Guy: Merry Christmas.
    Me: I'm not Christian.
    Guy: I have a present for you.
    Me: Thanks. It's also Hanukkah. I'm not Jewish but do I get a present for Hanukkah too?
    Guy: Err...OK. Here's your present. Happy Hanukkah.
    Me: Thanks. It's also Kwanza. Do I get a present for Kwanza?
    Guy: Err...I think you are missing the point here. You not getting the spirit of Christmas.
    Me: Maybe because I am not Christian.
    Guy: Then I want my presents back.
    Me: Go away.

    And I get the biggest kick from the snow thing. We are so hard up for that white Christmas that we are willing to fake it. I was at One Utama last weekend and they made fake snow from soap suds. Well, paint my nose red and call me Rudolph! First of all, soap suds? Secondly…soap suds?

    If we go on like this, I am afraid things will get worse and we become more pretentious. We will become like…..gasp….Singaporeans. More fake snow.

    By the way, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, and Happy Las Posadas.

    Monday, December 06, 2004

    There are a few things I do not understand in life. One that keeps me up some nights is Kylie Minogue's ass. What is the big deal with Kylie Minogue's ass? You read it everywhere about her ass being the nicest in the world. I don't get it. Sure, I'd do her but it doesn't change the fact that I think she has the body of a seven-year-old under-nourished albino Ethiopian.

    To put it another way: Kylie Minogue has no ass.

    Of course, this is just my opinion.

    Therefore I am left to conclude that it's all marketing. There is nothing creatively compelling or of creative substance when it comes to Kylie Minogue. Clearly, they couldn't highlight her voice. And damn, I've seen more breast on a snack plate at KFC which means they certainly couldn't highlight her chest either. So we're left with her boney white ass.

    Maybe all that black booty in rap videos have warped my sensibilities.