Monday, 26 September 2011

Defining Time


1. Having calluses; toughened: callous skin on the elbow.
2. Emotionally hardened; "a callous indifference to suffering"; "cold-blooded and indurate to public opinion"

Synonyms: indurate, pachydermatous, insensitive - deficient in human sensibility; not mentally or morally sensitive


Meanwhile, urmm, unrelated, this news:

Mis-Adventure, Confirms Coroner.

Okay. Whatever.

Kedahans will know these words: Dah Mangli

Pix from The Malaysian Insider

Friday, 23 September 2011

Abasing Exaltations

It seems that being Prime Minister – in this country at least - is not as cut out as its grandiose and exalted nomenclature suggests.

No sooner than the PM announced intentions to make Malaysia the best democracy in the world , his subordinates (ummm, allegedly?) do just the opposite.

It was reported that a video promoting the right to vote has been taken off the air by local broadcasters because it contains opposition figures and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s speech talking about Malaysia having problems.

Mind you, Ku Li – as Tengku Razaleigh is fondly known as – is, despite sometimes going against the thoughts-flow of the powers-that-be, a Barisan man. Part of the gang la.

What’s this about then? Insubordination? Miscommunication? ATNO? SOTDA?* Flippy floppy talky no walkie? What exactly?

This sort of wayang kulit sometimes justifies the prevailing general sense of cynicism whenever such grand proclamations are made towards reformation, transformation, whatever else tion there is supposedly planned.

Whatever is bloody wrong with talking out loud about the country’s problems anyway? Afraid that the FDIs would suddenly take flight? That the masses would sit up, think (for once!) and go, “hmmm…”?

Some in the Government seemed stuck in a time warp. An age where information is whatever RTM or the MSNs tell you over the airwaves and in print.

An age where people are unquestioning over what the authorities are doing and accepting things done as being for the greater good, whatever that means.

Either that or someone is being plain sneaky.

Baling batu sembunyi tangan kind of sneaky.

* In the spirit of the ETP's penchant for acroynms.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Slinky Slickness

So I’m afraid I think the whole thing is an absolute scam and a shocking and indefensible waste of taxpayers’ money,“ said Simon Anholt.

If you look at the countries that have spent the most money on ambitious PR campaigns, they’re the places that are most despised and it hasn’t done anything to fix their image at all.

Shocking. Simply shocking in that a Mat Salleh having the nerve to call our PM’s PR effort aka rebranding of himself in order to appeal to the masses allegedly using taxpayers fund with a yet to be called General Election ever looming as “shocking.”

As we all are wont of saying: Where got shock one?

It’s probably a latest fad for leaders all over the world to go for a makeover. Blame it on all those cable-network TV programmes that is always expounding the need to change this, to change that.

And the fact remains that in Malaysia wastage of public fund is no more shocking or indefensible as, urm… I digress: is there anything that fits such category, really?

Year in, year out the Auditor General will without fail lists all those leakages in funding for everyone to see so much so that the ”shock” value has gone quite limp.

At most is that the masses get some syiok in reading the shenanigans (some) or neglect (criminal? Ho hum) of such exercise in the procurement using public funding.

Look at it this way, Mr Simon Sir.

At least OUR PM (to go with THAT SONG by ND LALA) is doing something to improve his external image even if his core remains the same.

Looks like him, talks like him, sounds like him, it’s him all right.

Same ole, same ole.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Personified Coolness

TV9 has this new programme called “Mahir Jawi” featuring one Ustaz Safwan Syafiq which my daughter would catch every other day since her friends make up part of the participants.

Yesterday’s show however was quite a bummer. Right before the ending, all the children (three boys and girls respectively) as well as the Ustaz - looking fairly awkward - launch into a rendition of the “Satu Malaysia” song, complete with scrolling Jawi inscription, karaoke-style.

I have to admit that I love the song. It has a contagious tune and the sung principle in the oneness of Malaysian is quite sound.

But this shoving it in a kiddie programme is crass, American-styled hype complete with the “Oohhh”, "Aahhh", “Sighhh” cue cards. Not proper, I think.

Worse was to come though, as a few minutes later and just before the 8 pm news bulletin, on comes a local artist – ND (he sings?) Lala – and a song with lyrics saying this PM is the PM for everyone or something to that effect.

My wife and I were stunned into silence for a short while before reaching for the remote and changing channel.

To quote an oft repeated phrase in the country these days: watdehe?!

I realized that this song (the second one) may have well (ahem!) top the charts in the mainstream TV channels for quite a fair bit of time*, but really, has the office of the most exalted administrator of the country sunk this low that this “fact” has to be announced over the airwaves?

I read today that there is a branding (re?) drive of PMNTR by some consultant(s) who also did Tony Blair.

Something to do with a “cool” PMNTR.

THAT explains the whole recording of PMNTR videotaping TV9 veejays in the studio. I wondered watdehe was that about when I first saw it.

Come to think of it; sink low doesn’t quite describe it. What’s lower than low?

I suppose if PMNTR does really win the hearts of all Malaysian with this cool new him, that it’s all well and fine vis-a-vis all this rebranding thingy, but in my mind, what this country needs is a leader who listens to his conscience.

To do what’s right for THIS country.

Can we get that from PMNTR?

BTW, last I heard conscience comes FOC. No consultancy fees whatsoever.

* Have since discovered that it’s an Information Ministry-driven thingy from June. Cringeworthy.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Chombee Days

Upon returning home from England, I stayed with my uncle for some time in a place called Bukit Chombee in Penang. It used to house the Malayan Teachers’ College where my uncle worked in as a Lab technician.

His house was a nice, colonial (gasp!*) style bungalow atop a small hill overlooking the Straits of Penang. Very quaint place. Part brick and mortar and part wood, the house is rectangular in shape and had a long open air portion which links the stairs to the two other rooms and a huge bathroom right at the end; all of which is in the first floor of the two-storey house.

Sure do have some nice memories of the place especially a hair raising one where I answered a “Salam” uttered when there was no one around. Shudder!!!

Google the name today and you’ll get not much. I think in its place is the Minden Heights or something.

The word Minden is also familiar which I think refers to the portion where you drive in from the main road into MTC. It has been years since I visited the place ever since my uncle moved backed to Alor Setar.

Any developer worth his ilk in gold would surely salivate at the prospect of gaining hold of the location in fact. Ready infrastructure, green landscaping with serene cul-de-sac for open concept luxury bungalows, scenic views and, best yet, the right location for some good sales to be garnered.

Not so sure if this was exactly what happened to Bukit Chombee. This is something I need to get back to my uncle for more information.

The rush for good, prime location is not however something restricted to the Penang property market, but also that in the Klang Valley and to a lesser extent, Johor Bahru. Developers just continue building and building even when the strip of land is barely bigger than a kangkang King Kong (heh…always wanted to write that one!)

Alas, all this building seems to however target the rich and mighty. Scan through any advertisement of the three location these days and I dare say none is the so-termed “mampu milik” category.

I believe the pricing range of this to be in the +/-RM300K in the Klang Valley and Penang. Can’t get any landed properties at this range though so you have to settle for a high rise. Plenty of these in both areas, but at such price, they would be further away from the city centre.

Bukit Chombee. Fans of P Ramlee will recall the name to be the character played by the classically beautiful Zaiton in Ibu Mertuaku.

And just like the film, the name is now history.

PS:* Can I use this word nowadays with all the polemics about whether or not Tanah Melayu was a British colony? Sigh... Nasty Polemics when there are far serious things to discuss and focus on.