Sunday, 25 January 2009


Dear World,
Happy Chinese New Year. Have your noisy reunions, pineapple tarts, mandarin oranges and greasy feasts. Visit your nosy relatives and give/get not-bad-ang-pows, because everyone's expecting the worse after this, and you really don't need to be reminded right now.

Sigh, I have a feeling this bull is going to bring in a lot of shit.


Friday, 23 January 2009


Yesterday I headed to my fave booksellers to use some book vouchers and came back with quite a stash. I was pretty happy about that, being a book lover.

Today, unfortunately, I found out that the blog's previous template, which I had searched so hard for, had some serious flaws with regards to the post footer items. If I were an XML/HTML whiz I could probably have fixed it, but I'm not so I had to abandon the old template after trying very hard to fix it. I suppose this normally shouldn't be a big deal (especially if you're the type that changes templates every other week—I'm not), but this is bloody frustrating because I spent hours looking for that template. I suppose I should have scrutinised it more thoroughly before using it. At least I didn't spend too much time tweaking the color scheme, which I had planned to do, otherwise I'd be even more exasperated.

For now, it's a plain old Blogger template but at least I'm still using the old header image. As much I'd like to, after this ordeal, I don't think I will be looking for a spiffy new template for a while. After all, it's supposed to be all about the posts, right? :s

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Wow! I Mean...Like...Wow!

I just heard the Inaugural Address of #44. My God, that man can give a speech.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

He's Just Misunderestimated, Really!

He's going everywhere on American TV defending his administration's past 8 years, saying he doesn't care about popularity, and ohmygosh, he's calling not finding WMDs and Abu-Gharib 'disappointments'. Wow, this guy needs English lessons, amongst other things.

At this point there isn't much he can say to change people's minds, because his words sound ridiculously ironic when you compare them to his record of actions. In his farewell address, he said, "Around the world, America is promoting human liberty, human rights and human dignity" and "Murdering innocents to advance an ideology is wrong every time, everywhere" and "America needs to maintain its moral clarity." Huh? What? I'm sorry, I think I missed the plot.

I was shocked when I heard that he took more holidays than he gave press conferences. I mean, anyone in a high ranking public office would be embarrassed of that statistic, but then I remind myself that this is arguably the worst president America has every had, it may not be such a big deal. I wouldn't know, I wasn't around during Nixon's time, let alone the earlier ones, so I can't conclude if he's the absolute worse.

Well, I shall miss his Bushisms. Here are some vintage lines, on the BBC News website. The world will miss nothing else.

Goodbye, W. I hope your wing that humans and fish will coexist peacefully will take dream. You can now do what you do best: take a holiday. Forever.

Good luck, #44.

Monday, 19 January 2009

I Lost It!

I am proud to say I am no longer a KLPAC virgin. I went to the centre's open day yesterday and boy was it festive. There were events, displays, markets, performances, screenings, workshops and activities packed into every space that could be used, about 10 things were happening every minute. The centre was brimming with people: families, art lovers, volunteers and even a few token celebrities. There were also, I noticed, a disproportionately large number of amateur photographers and expats.

Of course, Datuk Faridah Merican and hubby Joe Hasham were there (in fact they were everywhere) and were very down to earth for 2 people who have contributed so much to Malaysian theatre and artistic culture. Highlights for me included a backstage tour of the main stage, Pentas 1, and a talk by K. Azril Ismail, the driving force behind the Iron Dragons of Malaya exhibition at Pentas 2, a photographic showcase of some of the shots he took at the Sentul train workshop right next to KLPAC, which is about to be phased out and closed within a year (the new facility will be in Perak).

The building, as anyone who's been there would know, is set next to a beautiful man-made lake amidst rolling grenery, and the architecture of the centre is respectful of the area's century old past. It was actually used as a saw mill for Keretapi Tanah Melayu, and the green area around it used to a 9 hole golf course owned by KTM. I was told that Pentas 1 is where the clubhouse used to be. In fact KTMB land used to take up huge parts of Sentul and its workshop staff ran up to a thousand people, now only a small number still work there, and much of the land in Sentul is now owned by the YTL group, which is renewing the area but thankfully keeping the greenery intact.

I'm glad that Mr. Azril took the effort (and trust me, it's no small feat) to document not only the adjacent Sentul train workshop visually, but also record the stories of the lives of the workshop's past and present staff, the train families, a story which may have been lost in time if not for him.Of course it would be nice if they were preserved or converted, it would be a shame if such historic buildings had to be demolished. But I am aware of how expensive conservation is, it would take many millions to preserve all the buildings, and much cheaper to just bulldoze. I suppose we just have to make way sometimes, and at least we have the photos to remind us.

On another note, Gaza sees fragile peace after 3 weeks of mayhem and destruction. I am glad that at least civilians are not dying at such a ghastly rate as they did during the offensive. I just hope the truce will last. There is so, so much to do, so much to overcome.

Friday, 16 January 2009


Words cannot express my anger and sadness. Enough is enough. STOP THE WAR NOW!!!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

When Will It End?

I have not posted for a while—longer than I had wished, for various reasons; fatiguing classes, mundane errands and being harassed by a line of unwanted disturbances, from (among others) blown out lightbulbs to a tooth problem, which, while all relatively minor, put a damper on my spirits.

Perhaps the most distressing event of all, which no doubt set me into a deliberately negative mood till today, was when I found out last week that the death-toll in Gaza topped 800 people (it's now topped 900) and that UNRWA was to stop aid work in Gaza due to one of its staff members being shot at (it has now resumed aid). Even as we speak more tanks and troops are entering Gaza.

The Malaysian Parliament has passed a motion condemning Israeli action (surprise, surprise) but I wonder, what's it all for? While I am glad my country takes a firm stand, realistically, this isn't going to change anything. The OIC, which Malaysia is secretary general to, has already unequivocally condemned the attacks from day one, and Malaysia has never had diplomatic ties with, and has always been critical of Israel, so it's not as if we need to trumpet our stance or offer more moral support—neither will make any difference on the ground for the Gazans who are dying and suffering as our parliamentarians put on a good show.

And while I laud the pledging of money in aid of the Gazans, how much of that money is going to actually reach Gaza in time after bureaucracy, 'discounts' and 'administrative fees'? There seems to be little detail on how the money is to be used or chanelled, it seems like nothing but an empty promise. Even if the money does reach the borders of Gaza in kind, will it get it? Aid organisations are making it clear that even if the so called '3 hour lulls' are respected (they are not), there is no physical way they can enter Gaza, give aid, and then leave in 3 hours.

I ask: when will anything make a difference? The UNSC's resolution was ignored by Israel and Hamas (I suppose it was just wishful thinking that the resolution would be followed) and the deathtoll has reached a epic level as the offensive. The humanitarian situation in Gaza is not even a situation anymore, it's basically disastrous. Even the Red Cross is crying foul and claiming that the IDF is not following international codes of conduct. How many dead and injured people will it take to end this? 1000? 2000? 10,000?

The Israeli authorities are claiming they are using precision rockets to hit only Hamas targets. Then why the 'accidental' deaths of 40 civilians at a UN school? Why so many women and children dead? Why is Hamas still fighting back if Israel authorities claim they are close to reaching their aim? When will Hamas stop fighting back? When half the population is wiped out?

Despite all this, I did get to write a few lines for the 'About' section, which I shall put up when they're done.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Peace NOW!

I gather information from the net, the tv news channels, the press on the current Gaza conflict. And yet the more I know, the more helpless I feel. The more I feel that this conflict, while it unnerves me and saddens me and scares me, is simply beyond my hands, my control. I feel I can do little if anything to end the conflict.

Well, at least my country speaks up. The Star reports: "Malaysia issues ultimatum to UN Security Council".

Hopefully the Egyptian-French initiative will come through. Israel claims that it has a third and fourth stage planned, which it will enter if necessary. I do not even want to phantom that possibility. For a quick update, read this article at the Guardian (UK).

This has to end NOW.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Template Up

The new template and header image is finally up, but I have yet to tweak the colour scheme.

Meanwhile, the people of Gaza face a humanitarian catastrophe of unimaginable proportions, yet so many world leaders seem merely to be saying to Israel: "Tut, tut. Now, now. Behave, now". Except for the Bush administration, of course, which seems to be saying "It's ok boys, go on and play rough!" And this just days before Obama's inauguration. You wonder whether this goading on is a bit of a deliberate attempt to make things difficult for the man who won a lot of support because he openly criticised Bush #43.

I cry and pray for the people of Gaza. This has to end now. NOW.

Monday, 5 January 2009


Today I came pretty close to become a vegetable—well, it seems like the only justified thing to do to my body after my weekend is recuperate, not from the endless partying but the taxing work. Don't worry,I won't do it as often, it's just that going back to class after the break makes me feel more than a little shity.

I found out on the radio that before Christmas three submarine cables under the Mediterranean were cut and this has disrupted or slowed down telco services around the Middle East and Asia, including here. The cables are still being fixed so some sites may still be slow due to re-routing via the U.S to Europe. I have actually noticed that some sights have been particularly slow, but then again, with my TMNet as my ISP, broadband is so slow even without problems like these that you wonder if it really makes a difference.

On another note, the header image has been pretty much finished, so a new template should be up and running by tomorrow.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

So soon?

I wanted to post yesterday but was too tired after a day out and helping out at home. I went (by public transport, mind) to town with the Sister to my favourite bookstore to get a book, and was surprised to have Yasmin Ahmad in her signature pastel baju kurung sitting in the next table at Starbucks.

Today I am even more tired, so I will not type much; classes made me want to die. I guess the year-end holiday, short as it was, made going back difficult, not that it was ever easy to stay.

Hah, not even a few posts and the busy/tired excuses come pouring in. World domination plan might not work after all.

P.S. Have been working on the template and header image.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year

Hello World,
I figured today would be a pretty good time to start blogging again.
Of course with any new blog, there are some preliminary issues to sort out: the template/layout/colour scheme/fonts, the which obligatory 'About' words and some introductory posts.

Of course in a perfect world, I'd fall in love with the first template I google for, and it'd be so ideal a template that I needn't change a
I'd then immediately find the perfect words to describe the blog and myself—concise sentences and apt phrases which are accurate but still mysterious enough to keep readers curiously coming back. Then I'd hit the ground running, posting wonderfully insightful, profound, thought-provoking, funny and/or creative posts on a daily basis, slowly garnering a faithful following of readers before eventually discovering thatI have reached the status of a demi-god in the blogosphere. Ah, if only world domination were that easy.

No, the truth is finding the right template was difficult, very difficult, and finding the right words can sometimes be even more so. We do not live in perfect world; if we did there'd not be much to blog about.

In fact, if anything, the world right now is extremely flawed and broken, divided and demoralised. Many of the events of the past year have only heightened our realisation of the complicated, difficult and massive problems we face and will come face. I have never remembered so much negativity at the start of a new year; it seems everyone is truly toning down their expectations and bracing themselves for the worse. Perhaps this year will be a sobering one for all of us, to not live as wastefully, ostentatiously, selfishly or destructively as we have in times past.

Perhaps if we all pulled our load and also lend out a helping hand, then maybe it won't be as bad as we expect. And even if it will be, we can definitely learn to re-evaluate the way we do things, be it on an economic, societal, national or even spiritual and moral basis.

And while it may be foolish or misplaced, we need a little optimism right now. I wish you all the best for the coming year...