Monday, 26 July 2010

Kang Kodos

Query over aliens using credit cards to buy petrol.”

Not only are they here in Malaysia Truly Asia aka 1Malaysia, they are also apparently buying OUR subsidised RON95 using credit cards.

Must be a common sight too – these aliens pumping subsidized fuel – as there is hardly any picture of them anywhere in either our MSM or NMSM newspapers, MSM or NMSM news portals, et cetera et cetera.

Shame of these aliens for tapping our subsidies, isn’t it?

Here we are slogging hard to fork out enough moollah for the government to be able to give back some in the form of subsidies and these ALIENS zooms in, used their credit cards, pump our RON95 subsidised fuel and zooms off again.

At least that is what the HEADLINE implies, that is.

As I don’t usually read NST these days, am not sure whether the same headline is used in the print issues. It is a weird slip unless the word Alien and Foreign is understandably interchangeable, that is.

I.e. Ministry of Alien Affairs, the Alien Student Exchange Programme, Alien Exchange Rates, the need to study Alien Language..

Hmm… That is totally alien language there.

In the meantime, Samuel L. Jackson – whose mugs seems the basis for Marvel’s Ultimate’s Nick Fury – announced the cast of the upcoming Avengers movie.

Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk.

I didn’t see iron Man I and II, will not be going to Cap America, Thor is a maybe NOT, but Avengers? This is a definite, highly possible “Maybe”.

Just hope that it would be along the lines of the super hip Brian Michael Bendis or Geoff Johns’s than Jeff Loeb’s Ultimates/Avengers scripting.

Can’t wait.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Soulful Reminders

I’m on the morning school run of late, sending my daughter and have since been tuning to IKIM’s radio station (91.5FM).

There’s a delightful morning Zikir every 7am, followed soon by a morning motivational talk before the 8am news snippets.

You’re not far off to think Radio IKIM as filled with theology-centric items but you’d be surprised. Just this morning, the motivational speaker (missed his name, shame on me) quoted Donald “You’re fired” Trump in his talk.

His talk centred on what Islam could provide to a nation so advance that everything seems to have been catered for. He was talking of Japan, of punctuality, of advancement in technology, etc.

To great nations and even greater people, he said, Islam provides the sense of purpose: The Why.

I can only regurgitate so much of what was conveyed during the morning talk, but what was running through my mind was this: despite the greatness of Islam, so-called Islamic countries don’t have anything to offer the world.

Nothing at all.

The fact remains that we have to go back centuries for the glory days of Islamic civilization is the sad testament of how we have erred from the path of greatness.

The middle path of moderation, of sincerity, of progress. In total contrast to what is occurring in some countries including our own.

Weird in that Donald Trump came up in all this, isn’t it?

Not really as the good Ustaz quoted the billionaire property magnate saying something along the lines of “Success without happiness is nothing” or something like so.

Yes, I know that it’s easy for those moneyed to say so, but Trump was talking of his own context of being divorced from his former better half.

I believe in Islam, this is the concept of Redha (acceptance?).

Two examples come to mind: extreme ones, really. The first is something I read in New York Times quoted by a mid-level Afghan official in the face of assassinations committed on his colleagues.

Others have either given up their struggle to provide a better future for country, or armed themselves with security personal.

He says this instead: His life and death is God’s, and if God decrees that he should die, he will die. Wherever, whenever, however so.

In other words, he will not shirk from his responsibilities. He accepts what is happening as something decreed by God.

The other example is the Palestinians. Here is a group oppressed in their own land while neighbours – some richer beyond belief – lift not a single finger to help. Being in such a situation would have broken even the strongest-willed.

Unless, that is, they accept their predicament as God’s will.

I used to be cynical about the surplus of attention to the Palestinian cause when there are other oppressed (muslim and non-muslims alike) group all over the world, but not anymore.

Instead there is now only admiration of their strength of resolve and faith.

Especially since it brings forth a question I don’t dare (can’t?) provide an answer.

What do I have to offer?

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Prosal Excuses

Putting pen on paper is a big deal for a writer simply because you don't want to end up writing crap.

Well, crap in bad writing that makes the readers go "Ha Ha".

I chance upon these examples of bad writing and they are really quite good (bad, that is).

In fact right up there with "It was a dark and stormy night".

Have I ever made these similar foibles of my own? I don't doubt it at all.

Guilty as charged.

The "thirsty gerbil and giant water bottle" is probably the author's running away from a more cliched prose. "Compiling dust just like a writer's with the fear of publishing his writings" kind of prose.

(I must say that the thirsty gerbil bit was quite vivid a description though. So point made actually.)

At least these authors - bad opening aside - have their work published unlike some people I (ahem) personally know.

As such, I have resolved to put pen on paper no matter how bad my opening lines are.

I'm rereading Stephen King's On Writing just to get me inspired again and I must say that good writing wil grow on you.

In my personal library, you'll find some books in near-soiled condition while others still minty (this is a comic-related term, for those not familiar, meaning as good as from a book rack).

You know exactly then which are the good ones and what aren't.

Alas, time is so short these days that reading has become a chore.

And you just can't write if you don't read.

Its a fact of life that's simply bummer of an obstacle.

Is it, or is it another one of the those "fearful of bad writing" excuse?

The mentioned Gerbils.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Missed Opportunities

One of the perks of my job is to be attuned to the newer construction projects coming up, especially those in an around the Klang Valley. Not only the mega projects, mind you but also the more niche ones including high end condominiums.

I've always thought - and in most instances, its a well founded one - that condos and the likes are amongst the best property investment you can make and it doesn't even matter where as long as the location is comfortably urban.

Nothings beats KL Properties , though, as this is where you can really watch your investment appreciate in value. I mean, who wouldn't want to experience being able to sell your condo at, say, twice the price you paid for it.

At the very least, the rental alone is worth the initial cash outlay you have to put in. Alas, through sheer neglect of future needs and mostly immaturity on my part, I squandered whatever chances I had in making some good buys.

After all, back in the mid 90's, I was living and working in Kuala Lumpur as a young executive. Of course, being someone which was not the son of a somebody, I was pretty much awashed with awe of the big city lights.

Made pretty much the lousy kind of mistakes many young immature men made, and instead of making the kind of investment that grow, I instead blow my money on items which depreciate in value the moment you step out of the door.

Just the other day, I visited the Hampshire 2 condo - just behind Ampang Park - and impressed as I was with the whole project's execution, I couldn't help but think: "How on earth will ordinary young Malaysians be able to afford any property in KL?"

I mean, it's not like we are looking at the RM38 m, 14,000 square feet suite overlooking the KLCC kind of property, but the starting point of any property in KL would easily be in the half million ringgit threshold.

Are there still the kind of gems that's accessible to Mat, Ah Meng and Raju in not costing several arms and legs from three generations remove? I don't know, but I sure think that someone must have an inkling on the locations where these properties are still available.

I believe this same thinking prevails amongst those staying in the older (more slum-like) areas of KL.

If you happen to own a medium cost apartment in the heart of KL - or even close by - would you sell it off for profit? You could, but I seriously doubt you could get something remotely of similar value after that.

Nope, buying a property in KL is surely either a speculative purchase or a really long term investment. Pity, I didn't realise this early on.

Ah, well.