Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Yaking Yaks

I have discovered another reason why we are stuck in the land of the middle-incomers.

We YAK a whole lot but do too little.

The Star had this headline on Tuesday March 23 shouting: “Apply online for Year One” and I thought to myself: "Finally."

I however rejoiced too soon without taking into account the “We YAK a lot but do too little” syndrome.

As I try to log on this morning, a blank, thoroughly white, page stared back at me with the teeniest bits of alphabets spelling: “The service is unavailable.”

Browser-sensitive apps, perhaps? Nope, it was the same on Explorer.

I mean, what gives Edu hombres? (I shall restrain myself from saying WTF here).

The report had all the right (ahem) hypes – “more efficient”, “reduce cost”, “check online”, “appeal online” - BLA BLA BLA. See: We do YAK a whole lot.

Bloody Naif Malaysian Malay Chap; that’s who I am.

Our PM, NTR yesterday announced quite a whole lot of things a whole lot of Malaysians have come to know for quite some time now. At least I think so.

Still, they do make good reading because these are finally in print.

Especially resounding is the bit about “the Government would no longer tolerate practices that support the behaviours of rent-seeking and patronage”.

We are talking about those who thrive through a combination of charm, some perceived (or actual) connections with the who’s who and a whole lot of “butt-kipas’ing” talents without having to put in the actual work, aren’t we?

(Yes, I do think that butt kipas’ing is talent based. Either you have it or you don’t.)

A query, though: Is the government frowning on the practices that support the behaviours, the act of rent seeking and patronage or the rent seekers and patronage(rs)?

Furthering the advancement of something removes the responsibility of actually advancing the something, mind you.

The Sun report has another weird bit.

In its “Planning for a high-income economy” under the Inclusive sub-heading is the following: “No Malaysian lives in poverty. Our first priority must be to eradicate poverty, irrespective of race.

Exactly whose poverty are we talking about here, eh if “No Malaysian lives in poverty”?

A way too literal translation, perhaps?

I am not going to nitpick the NEM (love all these acronyms!) as the whole plan is quite positive in its objectives and visions.

Just like the so-called “Apply online for Year One” thingy: All great stuff for us.

Alas, as the highly clichéd saying goes: “The proof is in the pudding.”

Or in our context: the kuih lapis, bingka, et cetera.

C’est la vie.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Legsy Palate

If collected at late maturation stages, the truffles will likely carry eggs and larvae — adding proteins and aroma to the truffle.

The article by Nicholas Wade in NYT really did have a load of “new discoveries … reveal(ing) more than you really wanted to know”. (My emphasis, TQVM!)

Just like the sushi-lover horror story floating in the internet gravepine which has since put me off the Japanese delicacy forever.

Anyway, I have never tasted the so-called fungi named truffle especially due to the Pacific Ocean-trench deepness of the pocket that partakes in its consumption would require.

It is one of those delicacies – foie gras being another example – which seemed far too bourgeoisie in palate to dream and/or salivate about.

Just last night I (re) read the delightful short story by (Sir) Jeffrey Archer on Bob and Fiona – the two main characters in “The Wisdom of Solomon”.

In an early description of the lady with 30 inches of legs and a diet perfected on lettuce leaves and water, Archer wrote:

“… she read the wine list from the bottom upwards, ordered caviar as a starter and asked, with a sweet smile, for her pasta to be covered in truffles.”

Truffles and caviar; seemed to go hand in hand the two.

Both non too subtle hints of the fine dining, jet setting. luxury-filled lifestyle of the rich, the famous and all their hangers-on.

I wonder if Fiona would still want truffles had she read the article before the “get-to-know-my-best-mate” dinner.

A twist perhaps - the kind you don’t however usually find in Archer’s tales - would be her asking to have the more exotic kinds instead.

Those preferring to be visually sated with this warped sense of the foodie macabre can tune in to Andrew Zimmern’s Bizzare Food on Astro’s Discovery Travel and Living for some good retching views.

Then again, who am I kidding? Just like vegetarians might eye meat eaters with disdain, some people do seem to see creepy crawlies perfectly suited as protein sources.

I digress. To each their own, eh?

Anyway, The Sun has been running a few articles about another set of new discoveries; the archaeological kind in Lembah Bujang.

The latest being a sun-dial like construction, aged around 1,900 years old. Add this to the jetties and iron smelting workshops found earlier at the same site.

Deciphering the historical context of these discovery would be wonderful to tell us more about how it was all those years ago.

Wonder whatever happened to that civilization? A local version of the fabled Atlantis, maybe?

Again, for the visually incline look forward to Sam Worthington’s “Clash of the Titans”.

It doesn’t feature Atlantis but it does have the CGI-steroid’up new Kraken wreaking havoc and tearing cities asunder.

Kraken Smash Puny Mortals!
The Old "Puny" Kraken

Me puny? Bah!!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Capricious Caprice

Suhaimy Kamaruddin has some good ideas of “How Lotus F1 can win the Malaysian Grand Prix”.

He is missing one more, I think: Have politicians drive the two racecars.

I have no doubt there will be ample candidates; hell, the more the merrier and they can take turns if ever they decide who gets to go first, second, third and on.

(This might a bummer of a long while though, something like the effort to revamp the ISA…)

And it doesn’t even matter from which faction they are, as all you need is the good old self-interests-preservation-at-all-cost mindset. They are pretty much good to go from this point.

Speaking of preservations, it certainly looks like some people in this good old land of truly Asians have caught too much of this human rights bug thingy preserved for the land of the Mat Sallehs.

How can they (I assume to be parents) go around speaking about things which the Cabinet had already decided as being for the good of the country’s future?

The Cabinet, mind you: not just by a Minister whose words can be forever misinterpreted, misconstrued, misquoted, and a list of other misses by our reporters/journalists/bloggers/twitters.

Shame on them. Shock! Aghast!

What WERE they thinking about raising frivolous matters like the u-turn in the teaching of Math and Science in English during PTA meetings?

Err.. What are exactly PTA meetings for, really?

Been to one where a whole lot of parents raised matters which they think important for the wellbeing of their and their children’s friends and schoolmates. Things like that.

Parents insisting in raising these macro un-manageable-except-by-politicians (aren’t they ever the versatile chameleon?) issues like the Teaching of Maths and Science in English should really realize their place.

Something along the lines of an alleged statement by a former minister: “Stand for Elections” (or something to that effect).

Let’s just leave the bigger picture managing of the country to those worthy, shall we not?


Friday, 19 March 2010


From NYT
At lunchtime the other day at Ninth Avenue and 41st Street, 13 men and women stood on the sidewalk outside 99¢ Fresh, impatiently ordering and impatiently eating slices amid the ambiance of ungentrified Hell’s Kitchen: idling delivery trucks near the rear of the Port Authority Bus Terminal, a barking dog named Leo someone tied up down the block, a prostitute who hurried by saying something about $150 for a half-hour and a bearded homeless man with a cane who spoke loudly to himself about the size of the average bear. He ate two slices.

Vivid, isn’t it?

You can almost smell the sweat, the aroma, and hear the screech, the jibber jabber, the grunts and feel the heat, the restlessness within this lengthy description – believe it or not – of 99 cents/US$1 pizza slices.

At my lunchtime the other day, I too, had a sampling of American Italian dishes at the Avanti. Great ambience, very affable host; sparse and polite patrons, courteous waiters - pity the soothing background music went dead slight before dessert.

The food?

My entrée was tomato clam soup which I later regretted adding black pepper; the main course red snapper fillet with sautéed Zucchini in tomato sauce (if I am not mistaken) and, walnut cheese cake for dessert.

The dish which tastes lingered long after it was finished was the walnut cheese cake which was superb. The portion was spot on – neither too extravagant nor too stingy – and it had enough richness without the fatty aftertaste.

It more than made up for the first two dishes which weren’t too bad. Good, but not lipsmacking great.

The red snapper fillet was fresh, sweet and juicy but – this is probably one down to one’s tastes – I would have loved for the skin to be crispier.

As such there were no crunchy bits in the dish, as even the Zucchini were slightly overcooked.

Back to the 99cents/US$1 pizza slices which the article emphasized as pricing anomalies in expensive New York.

It sort of places a class restriction as to whom should be patronizing the two said stalls/shops.

You can see this is the above excerpt never mind the fact it is perfectly okay – not to mention legal - for anyone to buy a 99cents a slice pizza if they feel like it.

A localized example would be that everyone and anyone can slurp cendol – seated on stools shaded by foliage from the tree that is the cendol seller’s address.

An episode of Lone Wolf and Cub saw the main character – Itto Ogami – confronted by another wandering Samurai – nickname the Headless Sakon - with this particularly philosophical look on the Japanese sake which he says is the great leveler of class.

The 99cents/US$1 pizza would thus be the symbolical modern day, New York equivalent: except that it won’t.

Realistically, being seen with the Hell’s Kitchen (Marvel’s DD not Chef Ramsey’s, please) crowd would not be something so palatable to a working New Yorker.

Back home, we have something similar going on with the Asam Pedas. FOC to the poor, apparently.

Wonder if we can have a RM1 Asam Pedas (simple rice and gravy deal) meal over here, eh?

Would be a great leveler, that.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

GrooGaffe aka Painful Reads

Those wishing for a painful read should look no further than this gem.

It sort of match – if not surpass – that of the Universiti Tun Hussein Onn’s which appeared way back in August 2008.

Could it be that both were written by the same people/team?

The ever affable Citizen Nades took pains (no pun intended, if you so believe) with red markings the many mistakes, but closer reading seems to show that he has held back.

Perhaps he was worried that nobody would be able to read a wholly red-lined advertorial.

It is however poetic justice, really, to parents who have voiced, and voiced and continue voicing their hopes (nay, prayers) that the government review its U-turn on the English for Math and Science policy.

Apt (s)mug shot to adorn the same page as the advertorial, methinks.

Writers share their fair amount of goofups in spelling and/or grammatical errors, hence the reason why there is another layer of editing usually being done, especially for write-ups that appear in print.

Self editing is perhaps only for appropriate for blogs.

The KDSM advertorial is therefore a curious gaffe. Was it not edited before printing?

I’ve done my fair share of advertorials during my journalism days as these give quite decent extra cash and - while we are accorded fairly greater levels of flexibility in producing the articles - the same editorial standards still applies.

Like I said: A very curious gaffe.

You don’t suppose it’s intentional, do you?

Thursday, 4 March 2010

The Oh-Not-So Mighty?

Ultimate Thor
Read this interesting news piece in today’s New Straits Times Online.

A woman stands alone at the top of the commercial crimes police wanted list, after allegedly conning several celebrities and prominent people of a staggering total of RM432 million.

She is 31-year old Rohaniza Aladib who had allegedly “sweet talked” artistes and a wife of a Tan Sri, amongst others, on her way to the millions.

RM432 million is a whole lot of money to transact that you’d have to wonder where this sum is stashed.

Under her pillow (laced, velvety silk cover, of course!) perhaps? One of the super secretive Swiss Banks, maybe?

How long did it take for her to pile up the millions? Didn’t anyone notice?

According to NST, Rohaniza is believed to have absconded to Australia with the money.

She fled WITH the money in tow?

However she did it, Rohaniza has managed to overshadow even the monstrosity that is the PKFZ scandal in the NST news piece in terms of importance. Imagine that, eh?

It’s something like a shared byline of a junior reporter who added one para – but what a captivating paragraph it is! – in a front page news item.

(It’s one bad metaphor, I know…)

Funny how the billion Ringgit PKFZ scandal is now buried under the radar – what’s with the multitude of allegedly small-fry (Madam Phang being the exception) charging in court, civil suits, you-name-it we-have-it Reports et cetera…

So much so that even its mention – it was a mere mention – was stuck inside a Rohaniza’s story para.

Technicalities of viewing in non standard Internet browsers, mayhap (to borrow from good ol Norse mythology phrasal..)?

Ah… I digress, then.