Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Happy Birthday Jessica

At The Pinnacles Desert, Western Australia.        

Happy Birthday to my dearest friend Jessica aka Little Ben! It is a joy to be celebrating your birthday together in the midst of Australia's outback desert over a meal of lobster. I wish you all the best and your everyday are as sunny as the sun that shine on us today. 

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Tea and travel

Having a brew of Tie Lou Han in Dunsborough, Australia. 

One of my best traveling companion - Sky Dike Brand's Tie Luo Han tea that comes in nice small box and pre packaged with 12 little packets of 5gram each. 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

When Breath Becomes Air – a must read

Despite reading more than 10 books and countless of other publications per month, it is not a norm for me to recommend a book that to my opinion is a must to read for everyone except when asked to do so.  However, after reading When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, I would like to recommend it to be included in your reading list.

Reading this half completed book is a humbling experience for God took him to a better place much sooner than expected. Each page reminds me of our mortality, our constant encounters with life and death of our dear ones and why we must not cease to have empathy for others. Certainly, this book is also a reminder for us to treasure each living day and to complete our “to do” list before we realised how much wasted time and opportunities had gone.

This book is selling for SGD 25.95 in Singapore and RM 87.90 in Malaysia. It is worth the paper that it was printed on and every single cent. Get your copy today! 

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Tun Dr Mahathir is the drug resistant illness of Malaysia

What is honored in a country will be cultivated there - Plato.

Early this morning, I received an email from a close friend from New Zealand. We used to be active in the New Zealand Labour Party Chinese Branch and a close observer of South East Asia Politics. In the email, he asked if I agree that if Bill and Hillary Clinton are the penicillin-resistant syphilis of the American body politic, then Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is Malaysia’s.

Yes, I agree that Dr Mahathir is the penicillin-resistant syphilis of the Malaysian body politic. Why? Let me answer the “why” by asking:

Which illness in Malaysia’s political system and society is not spread or created or made worse by this untouchable, drug resistant above the law Dr Mahathir during his 22 years as Prime Minister and after his retirement? Just take a look at the short list below:

Rampant corruption – check

Abuse of power – check

Arbitrary arrest – check

Mismanagement of public fund – check

Clampdown on freedom of Speech, Press and Assembly – check

Cronyism – check

Nepotism – check

Mass brain drain out of Malaysia – check

Racial divide – check

Rich / poor divide - check

Created a nation of moochers – check

Suppression of NGOs – check

Hijacking of a democratic election with government’s 3M (money, machine and media) – check

Manipulation of the judiciary - check

Which of the item above that you can say I checked wrongly? There is an even longer list if one is care to read all the books and press statements published by the DAP’s Lim Kit Siang who is now working with this drug resistant illness of Malaysia to save Malaysia. With all due respect, Uncle Kit, it is an illness by the name of “Mahathirism” that Malaysia need be saved from.

Plato wrote that what is honored in a country will be cultivated there and Mahathir had allowed corruption, abuse of power and etc etc to be honored in Malaysia and be cultivated ala-Mahathir style.

If you think it is unfair for not giving Dr Mahathir a chance to correct the mistake, then, dare I ask, why didn’t Mahathir use his enormous power back then to work for and set the right path for a democratic prosperous corruption free Malaysia?

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Malaysia’s political frogs

Captured with iPhone 6 on 12th March 2016

Which Malaysian politicians, current or retired or resurrected or awoken will come across your mind when you bump into a few frogs at the park or in your garden?

I instantly thought of some "beloved" Malaysian politicians that signed the Citizen's Declaration that it said to be for the betterment of Malaysia, to save Malaysia but to which I think is for the betterment of certain individuals and to save their cronies. 

Friday, 11 March 2016

Where is safe to walk in Kuala Lumpur at night?

I took this picture during the walk. 
Taking a stroll after dinner is one of my favourite developed since my Auckland days where it is safe to walk anywhere without the worry of snatch thieves, car break-in and robbery. It is also my body’s exercise as well as a way for me to wind down before heading home for a pot of tea and book.

In Singapore, there are few places that I can safely take a walk no matter how late. I can choose to stroll by the Singapore River, Gardens by the Bay, East Coast Park or Changi Beach Park. In Melbourne, my favourite place is the stretch by the Yarra River between Flinders Street Station and Crown Casino. Beijing’s Avenue of Eternal Peace and Shanghai’s Bund are among my favourite. They are also the safest place for these two spots are the most policed public real estate on earth.  

However, in Kuala Lumpur, just as the same in Jakarta, Manila, Mumbai and New Delhi, I do not feel safe to walk at all. It is best to hop out from a building straight into the car and hop out again at the next building. It is a natural reaction despite the presence of security guards. I will never walk with just a friend after dark at KLCC Park. I guess I am not the only one having this misgiving about Kuala Lumpur. More often than not, friends and colleague will hear me asking: Where is safe to walk in Kuala Lumpur at night?

For years, no one can give me an exact answer. KLCC Park? No. Titiwangsa? Never do that. Lake Garden? Should be alright because Bukit Aman (the national police headquarters) is there but still can’t be sure. However, now I know there is a park that is safe to walk after dark. It is Dataran Merdeka.

A few nights ago when I was in Kuala Lumpur, it was past 10 when I’d wanted to drive through Jalan Raja to get into Jalan Tun Perak but the road was blocked. In front of me is a row of cars parked by the road and further ahead is the brightly lit Dataran Merdeka with scores of people walking around, taking pictures and hawkers peddling drinks and toys. I parked the car and walked towards the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

After observing the place, I took a walk. Along the way, I asked a hawker is the road between the square and Sultan Abdul Samad Building close to traffic every day? Yes, Jalan Raja is close to traffic every day from 8pm till the next morning, giving no chance to snatch thieves on motorbikes. For once, I felt safe walking on a park in Kuala Lumpur with beautiful view of the skyline at night. And if the City Hall can ensure that the public toilets around there can be available for 24 hours, it will be even better.

From now on, I think I can’t say anymore that I cannot find a public park that is safe to take a stroll after dinner in Kuala Lumpur. 

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Why exposing one to the sun rays during solar eclipse can bring bad luck?

Last evening, a close friend WhatsApp-ed an advice to stay indoor between 9.30am to 11.30am on 9th March 2016 during the solar ellipse as advised by renowned feng shui master Joey Yap to prevent bad luck. This is the first time I heard of such advice and I am curious. Why exposing one to the sun rays during solar eclipse can bring bad luck, I asked him. He can’t provide me with an answer but directed me to Google instead.

I spent close to two hours going through articles available online that can help to answer my question. However, all that I’ve got are myths from various religions and cultures that points to solar eclipse as an inauspicious omen but nothing to explain why watching the solar eclipse or being exposed to the sun rays during the eclipse can bring bad luck.

On, renown feng shui master Lilian Too wrote:  Although solar eclipses are rare natural phenomenon, we would like to advise everyone to avoid being out in the sun at all cost as directly seeing the sun being obscured can be very harmful and bring bad luck to those who observe the eclipse or who are exposed to the sun rays. On another blog, I read that Joey Yap mentioned about a minute exposed to the sun rays is equal to one year of bad luck.

Imagine the number of years of bad luck that will befall a person if he/she is going to observe the whole ellipse that is going to take hours? Though I am an extremely superstitious person, I still can’t find the logic in having 100 years of bad luck if I am exposed for 100 minutes. Will this curse be brought forward to the next life if I am indeed being cursed for 100 years of bad luck? This whole notion of “bad luck business” does not hold water to me.

It is reported that starting phase for the ellipse will begin around 7.20 am, reaching maximum phase around 8.20 am before ending around 9.30 am depending on one's location in Malaysia. In Singapore, eclipse will begin at around 7.22am, 10 minutes after sunrise. The point of maximum eclipse will be around 8.23am and the eclipse will end at 9.33am.

However, back my question of how will this thing bring bad luck, I hope that someone who is an expert in this matter can provide an answer that will definitely be beneficial to curious ones like me. Is it due to the negative energy released by the cosmic force during the ellipse? Or because it is said that solar ellipse is harmful to the body? Or…actually no one know the precise reason why exposing one to the sun rays during solar eclipse can bring bad luck?

And, the kiasu me will stay indoor. 

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Racist Dato’ Mohd Noor Abdullah’s unity book is a sham

Do not consider it proof just because it is written in books, for a liar who will deceive with his tongue will not hesitate to do the same with his pen - Maimonides 

This book is a sham! 
I stumbled upon UNPLUGGED - #WillYouStillBeAMalaysianIn10Years? co-authored by controversial and racist retired Court of Appeal Judge Dato’ Mohd Noor Abdullah and his son Datuk Azrin Mohd Noor in MPH Bookstores on Valentine’s Day. The year of the publication stated 2015 but it only hit the shelves earlier this year.

For years, I never hesitate to spend any sum of money to buy any book that I think will widen my knowledge on certain issues and subjects. However, on that day, I hesitated to spend RM49.90 to buy UNPLUGGED - #WillYouStillBeAMalaysianIn10Years?. Yes, it is just RM49.90 or SGD 14. The sum is not even enough to pay for the parking fee at Ngee An City during my monthly book hunt at Kinokuniya Singapore.

I hesitated because part of me insists that I must not support a book by a racist but the other half said that I can’t deny another person the chance to turn over a new leaf. For good or bad, I must read what Dato’ Mohd Noor Abdullah and his son Datuk Azrin Mohd Noor wrote before deciding if UNPLUGGED - #WillYouStillBeAMalaysianIn10Years? is a genuine call for unity or it is not worth the paper it is printed on.

I am disappointed after reading the book and I would say that the book is a sham. A hypocrisy. A lousy attempt to be a moderate by Dato’ Mohd Noor Abdullah after making successions of hurtful remarks towards the Chinese and Indian communities in Malaysia. 

Dato’ Mohd Noor Abdullah had in 2014 said that the the “huge” statues at a Hindu temple in Batu Caves and Buddhist temple in Penang are an affront to Islam as the religion forbids idolatry and that such sculptures of non-Muslim deities should not be built in the open, but should be placed within an enclosed building instead. He is referring to the 42.7-metre high statue of Lord Murugan and the 30.2-metre high statue of Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy at Kek Lok Si Temple. Prior to that, he said that Chinese and Tamil schools should not be allowed in Malaysia and the list goes on. In UNPLUGGED #WillYouStillBeAMalaysianIn10Years?, behind the call for unity, there are racism innuendos inserted in between pages.

On page 76 of UNPLUGGED #WillYouStillBeAMalaysianIn10Years?, Datuk Azrin Mohd Noor wrote that “All of us know that for every action there’s a reaction. So, act responsibly. Let’s think through a situation before we act, and always consider getting a positive outcome instead of the opposite.” Very well said and written, but do you think that calling for the Chinese and Tamil schools not to be allowed in a multi-racial Malaysia is a responsible act? 

Leo Tolstoy in 1897 wrote that the most difficult subject can be explained to the most-slow wilted man if he has not formed any idea of them already but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt. If Tolstoy is right, how can one expect a racist to be a champion of multiracial unity in a short span of time?

After reading what he and his son wrote in In UNPLUGGED #WillYouStillBeAMalaysianIn10Years?, I would like to ask both of them to stop asking fellow Malaysians whether will we still be a Malaysian in 10 years. In return, we would like to ask whether you will head the call of Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to get lost from Malaysia if you do not like the system in Malaysia. I’ve issued the challenge to Dato’ Mohd Noor Abdullah in 2014 to migrate from Malaysia (read here) and today, I am still asking the same – when are you leaving?

Malaysia is a big and beautiful but this place have no room for nation building destroyer and racist from Perkasa, an ultra-Malay organisation that Dato’ Mohd Noor Abdullah and Tun Dr. Mahathir serve as patron. 

Friday, 4 March 2016

Revisiting Hong Kong Disneyland

Memory... is the diary that we all carry about with us. – Oscar Wilde 

In mid-February I flew into Hong Kong for work which includes visit to the Disneyland as part of the itinerary. The weather was gloomy, so is  the projection for Hong Kong’s economy in 2016 which see multiple headwinds ahead, especially from China. Though it is still Chinese New Year, the celebratory mood is nowhere to be seen except at the Wong Tai Sin Temple. 

Circa 2016
Circa 2007
On my second day in Hong Kong, we hailed a cab to the Disneyland. It was a down the memory lane visit for me. My first visit to Hong Kong Disneyland was in December 2007 which coincide with my birthday. To this day, I still rate the birthday cake from Maxim’s as the best that I’ve tasted all around the world. The title for the worst goes to Istanbul’s Miramar Hotel. Since that first visit, I’ve never thought that I will be back to Hong Kong Disneyland again. However, God always have surprising arrangements for us.

The same show times then..
....and now.
Hong Kong Disneyland celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2015 but there aren’t much changes in the park despite its ferocious bid to attract the crowd and stay profitable. The rides are old. The shows and their show times remain more or less the same. In conclusion, there aren’t much pull that can attract a second visit. With Shanghai’s Disneyland poised to open later this year, it will be even harder for Hong Kong Disneyland. More than half of its visitors are from mainland China. 

The younger me....
....versus now.
Amidst the cold and drizzle, I took my meandering walk, stopping at certain spots for some mementos, comparing the place with how it was 9 years ago when I was there with daddy, mummy, Yong and my younger cousins. As I am writing this, I doubt I will visit Hong Kong Disneyland again on my own accord. The land of Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Snow White, Aladdin need more than magic to lure the crowd. Otherwise it is hard to imagine this park celebrating its silver anniversary and far away from happily ever after. 

Nevertheless, I am thankful to my companion for that day; for your warm hand that helped to defrost mine, for offering your jacket when it rained and of all, for the happy moments together despite the many challenges that we encounter.