Friday, December 18, 2009

Maninjau Chalet, Janda Baik Pahang


Hanya 40 minit daripada kesibukan bandaraya Kuala Lumpur, anda boleh menikmati kehijauan hutan belantara dan kesejukan air sungai. Destinasi kami kali ini ialah maninjau camp di Janda Baik, Pahang. Tidak tahu pula asal usul nama 'Janda Baik' ni. Mungkin...i don't know, baik jangan buat apa-apa andaian ha ha ha ha.

Camp Maninjau ni diuruskan oleh Pak Latif. Pak Latif juga memiliki kedai runcit berhampiran dengan camp ni. Ada Chalet, tapak khemah, dewan aktiviti, surau, tandas, tempat latihan bina semanagat, tempat BBQ dan yang paling penting...sungai!

Sungai disini tidak lah dalam sangat jadi amat sesuai untuk family yang ada anak kecil.

Kali ini, kami memilih chalet untuk wanita dan yang lelaki tidur didalam khemah. selepas mandi sungai, kami mula menghidupkan api untuk BBQ. By 8pm kami dah mula makan ayam panggang, kentang, sosej dan apa saja makanan yang boleh dipanggang. Makanan dan air macam bottomless..all u can eat. Ada yang menikmati keindahan bintang dan ada yang menghabiskan masa jadi real property guru dengan bermain monopoly. Semakin malam suasana semakin sejuk...by 1am mata semakin mengantuk, basuh muka gosok gigi dan boommmhit the sleeping bag in the tent dan light off.

Bukak mata, masih gelap. basuh muka dan lepak di kerusi melayan perasaan. bila hari semakin terang, aku cuma duduk ditepi sungai sambil membaca buku. Suasana memang tenang dan aku dah lama tak membaca buku dalam keadaan yang cukup tenang. Terasa seperti masa terhenti, hanya aku sungai dan alam semula jadi.

Selepas breakfast, jam menunjukkan pukul 9 pagi. Masih sejuk dan aku pasti air sungai pun lebih sejuk lagi. Tanpa buang masa, aku bertukar ke pakaina mandi dan terus bedebush ke dalam sungai. tak payah pikir panjang tentang betapa sejuknya air sungai ni....just do it.

Tepat jam 12, kami mula packing balik. Terasa berat juga nak meninggalkan ketenangan di hutan rimba ni. Tapi, aku akan kembali lagi, mungkin tidak ditempat yang sama, tapi di tempat yang menjanjikan ketenangan yang sama.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Natrah


Malam semalam (8 Disember 2009), kumpulan RoadRunnerz telah menukar sedikit aktivitinya. Jika sebelum ini, banyak aktiviti jalan-jalan cari makan (rujuk blog http://kakimakanz.blogspot.com kali ini RoadRunnerz telah bertukar kepada culture vulture dengan menonton teater Natrah di Istana Budaya, Jalan Tun Razak Kuala Lumpur. Pertunjukan bermula pada pukul 8.30 malam. Kami tiba awal dan sempat makan malam di cafe Istana Budaya dan solat maghrib di surau. Kami juga sempat bergambar di hadapan poster pertunjukan.

Pertunjukan teater Natrah boleh dikatakan berjaya dengan persembahan mantap pelakon-pelakonmya dan juga prop yang briliiant.

Namun, dalam keasyikkan melayan lakonan, tidak dapat tidak kita memikirkan isu disebalik kisah Natrah ini. Cerita ini berlatarkan selepas perang dunia kedua di Malaya. Ia bermula dengan pendudukan jepun di Indonesia. Ibu kandung Natrah yang merupakan keturunan Belanda beragama katholik menyerahkan anaknya Maria (Natrah) yang masih kecil kepada Aminah seorang wanita tempatan beragama islam untuk dijaga sementara menunggu perang tamat. Ibu kandung Natrah telah lari pulang ke Belanda apabila jepun berjaya menawan indonesia.

Aminah kemudiannya membawa Natrah ke Kemaman Terengganu, Malaya. Natrah dijaga seperti anaknya sendir dan telah diajar budaya melayu dan agama islam. Maksudnya, Natrah dijadikan seorang beragama islam.

8 tahun kemudian, ibu bapa Natrah berjaya menjejaki Natrah. Aminah telah diperdaya untuk membawa Natrah ke Singapura yang dibawah kekuasaan Inggeris.

Di dalam pergolakan tersebut, Aminah telah sempat mengahwinkan Natrah dengan seorang pemuda, Mansor Adabi di Singapura. Setelah melalui pelbagai peringkat prosiding undang-undang, mahkamah telah memutuskan bahawa Natrah harus dikembalikan kepada ibu bapa kandungnya.

Isu Natrah ini bukan sahaja melibatkan perebutan antara aminah dan keluarga kandung beliau, tapi ia telah dieksploitasi oleh pihak Inggeris/belanda dan nasionalis pada masa tersebut. Perebutan hak penjagaan kini bertukar kepada isu agama dan kemerdekaan dari penjajahan.

Aminah tidak mahu menyerahkan Natrah kerana ingin menjaga akidah Natrah. Nasionalis menjadikan Natrah sebagai simbol kesombongan penjajah yang dimanifestasi di dalam keputusan mahkamah yang dikatakan tidak adil.

Persoalannya, apakah yang memberikan hak kepada Aminah untuk menukar agama Natrah daripada katholik kepada Islam. Dia memegang janji dan amanah untuk menjaga Natrah semasa perang. Adakah alasan menjaga akidah Natrah adalah satu justifikasi apabila dia sendiri telah memecah amanah yang diberikan kepadanya?

Friday, December 4, 2009

ayat-ayat cinta

Desir pasir di padang tandus
Segersang pemikiran hati
Terkisah ku di antara cinta yang rumit

Bila keyakinanku datang
Kasih bukan sekadar cinta
Pengorbanan cinta yang agung
Ku pertaruhkan

Maafkan bila ku tak sempurna
Cinta ini tak mungkin ku cegah
Ayat-ayat cinta bercerita
Cintaku padamu
Bila bahagia mulai menyentuh
Seakan ku bisa hidup lebih lama
Namun harus ku tinggalkan cinta
Ketika ku bersujud

Bila keyakinanku datang
Kasih bukan sekedar cinta
Pengorbanan cinta yang agung
Ku pertaruhkan

Ketika ku bersujud

Lirik ayat ayat cinta
penyanyi: Rossa

Monday, November 30, 2009

Empangan air sungai kuning


Who would have thought that next to the urban life of Shah Alam, lies a pocket of beautiful collection of flora and fauna? Taman Pertanian Malaysia Bukit Cahaya Shah Alam or better known by the name Bukit Cerakah (Cerakah hill) promise to excite any avid nature lovers. At a nominal cost (RM1 for parking and RM3 for entrance fee), you can enjoy the serenity of the park. You can charter a bicycle so can you cover most of the garden within shorter time. The park opens at 9am. It is advisable to come early while the air is still fresh and cool.

This vast pocket of green lungs was created to expose the public on agriculture products. There are botanical gardens like herb garden, mushroom, paddy field and animal garden such as deer, fish ponds and peacock. I supposed there are agricultural researches conducted here but the research activity may not be open to the public like me. Just hope there is so this vast amount of lands will be fully utilized.

From the look of it, this park comprises of virgin and secondary forest. People can do a lot of activities like visiting various gardens, jogging, play paintball, and stay at the chalet, camping, fishing and host of other activities. For me, I just want to enjoy my weekly brisk walking while enjoying the view and the fresh air. Last Saturday I decided to explore Empangan Sungai Air Kuning (literally means Yellow River Dam). Around 9.15 am, I took the easy way to the dam using the tarred road. It is quite easy to find the dam as there a lot of map and signage along the way.

I reached the dam around 10am. The air is still quite cool at the time; it was cloudy and drizzling at the same time. I took a breather at a hut while enjoying the view. At RM18, you can catch all the fish that you want. However, fishing here is strictly catch-and-release. You may catch but you need to release the fish back to the water.

Please keep track of the time as the serenity of this place is intoxicating. You can easily lose track of time. Watching the fishes swam freely in the water gave me the feeling of peace and tranquility. The time can easily pass you by; it is just you and nature. One thing that I like about nature is that it is so pure and honest. How I wish our life can be that simple.

After 30 minutes I took a jungle track to Sungai Dua Dam. It was raining the night before and it makes the track very wet and slippery. The track is not that hard and it is suitable for beginners who want to have a feel of what jungle tracking is all about. The first part of the track is along the dam before it turns to the jungle. Just look up and follow the sign and you will be able to keep on track. My journey took longer time as I made various stops to take photos. If only I have a better camera…the camera fitted in my blackberry is not suitable for this occasion. However, I make do with whatever resources I have. The scenery is too precious to let go…I must immortalize it in my album. You can find lot of beautiful species of flora and fauna as well as stream of river along the track. Just hearing the sound of the running water makes all the sweat worth it. The track can be quite fun but can be quite lonely as well. The best thing is you have the track all for yourself. The downside is that it is very remote and if anything happen to you, nobody will be able to help you.


You will know that you are near the main road when you reach cemented track. By this time, the sun already begins to flex its muscle. The road that leads to exit the park is relatively easy. It is just that with tired legs and scorching sun makes it a bit difficult to walk.

Always remember to bring a bottle of water. It keeps you hydrated. My personal choice is a bottle of Ribena or Evian. Ribena is good for the refreshing taste and sugar for instant energy. Evian is for the mineral. It may also helps if you bring some chocolate bars for instant energy. Better bring your small backpack to put all your water, chocolates, wallet, mobile and car keys. You do not want to accidently drop your car keys in the jungle and have to double back to find it. You may find that with proper shoes, it is easier to walk in the jungle. My timberland shoes never fail me in ‘hard’ or easy tracks. Always wear proper attire such as long sleeves t-shirt and long pants (for example the one that you use for jogging). Long sleeves t-shirts and pants will act as a cover from leaves and thorns. Most important thing is, please respect the environment. Do not bring home any species like flowers as souvenirs. You can snap a photo and put it in your album. Let the flora and fauna dies in their natural habitat and not in your personal album.

Friday, November 20, 2009

To one in paradise by Edgar Allan Poe

Thou was all that to me, love
For which my soul did pine -
A green isle in the sea, love
A fountain and a shrine,
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
and the flowers were mine.

Ah, dream too bright to last!
Ah, starry hope! that didst arise
but to be overcast!
A future from out the future cries.

Freidman's quote

"We don't know how many millions of barrels of oil or kilowatts of energy we could save just by thinking more about how we live rather than shrinking more of how we live"

Thursday, November 5, 2009

How to Compare Power Generation Choices - Renewable Energy World

How to Compare Power Generation Choices - Renewable Energy World

We always complain that renewable energy is not 'cheap', and that is why we always put our faith in fossil energy such as the petroleum. I guess, it is just a matter of convenience. 'Fuel energy saving' advertisement is a contradiction in term, well...at least for me.

To produce a quantum leap from the old paradigm need courage and creativity. We intend to ignore the real problem, hoping that the problem will go away. Perhaps, it is easier to just look at the other way. The bad news is that the problem will not go away. It stays and will pass on to the next generation.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hot debate over technology issues

Hot debate over technology issues

I am of the view that there should be a balance between the IP owner and the developing countries.

Developing countries needs climate friendly technology to develop a greener economy. Something that we hope for in fight agaisnt global warming and other environmental issues. High cost always a hindrance in adopting greener economic practice.

However, to deny economic incentive to the 'inventor' will negative production of new inventions in the long run. Without economic carrot, the number of invention will decrease and this will be an antithesis to the development of green technology.

The solution lies in the balance of trade off between the two parties. The owner of green technology should offer the green technology at an affordable price. In fact, this will harness the creativity of inventors to come up with cheaper and affordable technology to cater for these markets. Developing countries offers a huge market for affordable green technology. As what been suggested by C. K Prahalad, fortune lies at the bottom of the pyramid.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

over hazel hot chocs


I met one of best friend yesterday for a drink. Zam and I were friends since high school. We shared a lot of stories, good and bad experience. Our friendship had its 'interval' when he left for UIA to further his studies. I finished my form 6 and went to UM to study law. We never had a 'solid' conversation since then...until yesterday.


Yesterday, we resumed our friendship...over a cup of hazel hot chocolate

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Universiti Malaya climbs 50 spots to No. 180 in THE-QS rankings


Saya tertarik dengan artikel ini bukan disebabkan saya menghabiskan 4 tahun di fakulti undang-undang UM. Bukan juga disebabkan saya sedang melanjutkan pelajaran diperingkat sarjana undang-undang di universiti yang sama...bukan...

Rasa bangga...adalah sedikit. Tidak dapat tidak saya berkongsi tradisi kecemerlangan ilmu di UM. Um bukan sahaja menuntut pelajar-pelajarnya komited dalam pembelajaran, ia juga merupakan satu inkubator dalam mendidik cara bermasyarakat di dalam kepelbagaian etnik di Malaysia ini.

Saya berpendapat bahawa UM merupakan satu tempat yang terbaik di Malaysia untuk melanjutkan pelajaran. Sebaik sahaja anda melangkah masuk ke dalam UM, anda dapat merasakan satu kelainan daripada universiti-universiti yang lain. Jika anda mampu ke luar negara...silakan. Tetapi, bagi sesiapa yang terpaksa menggunakan sendiri, UM is 'second to none'.

UM mempunyai satu budaya dan tradisi ilmu yang telah berjaya melahirkan ramai pemimpin-pemimpin negara.
Apabila UM tidak diumumkan sebagai 'apex university', saya adalah diantara ribuan orang yang tertanya-tanya; dimanakah silapnya? Tetapi, saya tidaklah begitu teruja dengan label 'apex university'. "it's all forms rather than substance". Kita sendiri maklum dengan nasib dan kedudukan apex university di Malaysia ini...biarlah fakta 'speak for itself".
Namun begitu, masih banyak yang perlu dilakukan oleh pihak UM. Para pensyarah memang tidak dinafikan kepakaran mereka. Tetapi, dari segi pentadbiran, masih banyak yang perlu diperbaik. Sehingga kini, satu-satu masa yang saya tidak gemar adalah dipermulaan semester. Urusan pemilihan subjek dapat dibuat 'online'. Pembayaran juga boleh dibuat secara online. tetapi bila saya mahu membuat pengeluaran penididkan di KWSP, saya masih perlu mengemukakan resit pembayaran. Surat daripada UM kepada KWSP juga mengambil masa hampir satu minggu untuk disiapkan. Saya pernah mengambil ijazah sarjana pentadbiran perniagaan di UiTM, dan urusan KWSP ini dapat diselesaikan dalam masa setengah hari! Saya juga tidak pasti sama ada rekod pembayaran yuran saya juga 'dikongsi' bersama oleh pihak perpustakaan...

Walaupun begitu, saya menerima hakikat bahawa setiap institusi mempunyai kelemahan masing-masing. UM tidak terkecuali dari hakikat ini. Namun, jika kelemahan ini dapat diperelok, saya yakin, UM akan dapat pergi lebih maju lagi di masa hadapan.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Mia



To Mia,




"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest;
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee

by William Shakespear
Ps: after all that has been said and done, tested by storm and time; friendship remains... because your heart so kind.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

From trash to treasure

This is another example of how innovative idea can turn trash to cash. To some, the very word 'recycle' is only for school children. If that's the case, all of us need to return to 'school' then.

From trash to treasure

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

7 tips menjimatkan tenaga elektrik di rumah

1. Padamkan lampu dan kipas bila meninggalkan bilik

2. Tutup elektrik pada 'plug point' untuk perkakasan elektrik.

3. Cuba gunakan 'natural ventilation'.

4. Gunakan tanaman hiasan di dalam rumah. Ini boleh menyejukkan rumah secara semulajadi.

5. Gunakan elektrik secara efisien, cth: penggunaan mesin basuh, gunakan 'full loads'.

6. Gunakan cahaya 'semulajadi' untuk menerangi rumah.

7. Gunakan sumber tenaga yg sesuai; cth, masak air guna gas berbanding elektrik

sumber: www.cetdem.org.my

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Something fishy going on at wetlands

I hope the Perak Government will not just 'look' into this matter. Despite the rendang and lemang, effort to conserve the environment must go on.

If the land is under the supervision of Perhilitan, they should have realise any new activities in that area. Luckily for us, MNS is doing a good job for us. Perhaps the job should be go to MNS instead of Perhilitan...as part of privatisation exercise. This may free up the government fund from paying salary for those government agencies.


Something fishy going on at wetlands

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Creating Digital Alexandria

The library of Alexandra in Egypt was the largest library in ancient world. It was established in the 3rd BC during the reign of ptolemy. Admired by many but was destroyed by Julius Ceasar (and why I am not surprise).

Today, Google an internet giant want to emulate the Great Alexandria. It intends to convert millions of hardcopy book to digital form. The goal is to make it easier for 'books lover' to find books; new as well as out-of-print books. Ulltimately, Google will work with publishers and libraries to create a comprehensive, searchable, virtual card catalog of all books in all languages that helps users discover new books and publishers discover new readers.

However, this is effort (business effort) had attracted criticisms and oppositions. On Oct 7 2009, the Honorable Denny Chin J, a district judge in New York will decide on the fairness of the deal between the internet giant and US Publishers.

Should we leave the knowledge of mankind in the hands of corporations?

For new literature works, I will not have any qualm. It is a good way for author/publisher to reach out to the market.

However, for out-of-print and orphan works (literature works which is still enjoy copyright protection but the author cannot be traced), what Google intend to do, will indirectly giving them 'copyright' over the works.

By controlling the access to the works, Google may dictate who, how, when and at what price can the consumer access the copyright works.

The fight to control copyright since Statute of Anne 1709, now enter new level. Now, it is not enough to determine who control the copyright; the 'power' is on who 'control' the copyright owner.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bakun dam may begin to supply power in 2010

By the end of 2011, we are supposed to be proud that Bakun will be the South east asia's largest power project. The dam can generate 2400MW to virtually the whole of peninsula Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and kalimantan. Talk about 'wow factor'!

Analyst began calculating that it is cheaper to use hydropower as the water is 'free' compared to coal and gas. Perhaps, the calculation is correct. However, is it true that the water is really 'free'? How about the cost to the environment? Is there any one factor in the cost to environment? One may ask whether cheaper electricity is a justification to brutalised our rainforest?

The search for energy will not end as long as holistic energy policy is not in place. The energy consumption will increase because of our habit on energy consumption.

For example, there is no law to force developer to build environmental friendly building; one that use less energy. That is one of many gaps within the country energy policy. Until we have that, we might as well plan to build another bakun and destroy hundreds of acres of rainforest in the process.

"We don't know how many millions of barrels of oil or kilowatts of energy we could save just by thinking more about how we live rather than shrinking more of how we live"
- Thomas Friedman-

Bakun dam may begin to supply power in 2010

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Rural folk in interior Sarawak claim many pledges not made good

If this is true, it will bean example of bad governance. To give a promise 5 years ago and still unable to deliver, one may say that it is better not to promise at all.

In corporate world, if you can't deliver your target, the shareholder may want to change the management. Bring in a dynamic management to turn around the company.

Perhaps there are some development in the area. However, if we want to change the way they live, by being less dependant on the forest, we need to create jobs...amplitude of jobs to support the growing needs.

The development must be holistic or else it will be a hollow development. I recalled an except in the Hollowman by TS Elliot, 'shape without form, shade without color, paralysed force, gesture without motion'.

Rural folk in interior Sarawak claim many pledges not made good

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

petrol hike

The price of petrol increase to another 5 sen and Malaysian reacted as if it is the end of the world.

The government should seriously start to find a way to be less dependent on fossil fuels. Lowering the import tax for hybrid car is a good step. Better still, attract the main player in motor industry to set up the plant in Malaysia.

...and to national car makers, please be more innovative. It is time to change to more environmentally friendly products!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

thank you...

Unfortunately, the concept of happiness is such an indeterminate one that even though everyone wishes to attain happiness, yet he can never say definitely and consistently what is that he really wishes and wills. No one can compel me to be happy in accordance with his conception of the welfare of others, for each may seek happiness in whatever way he sees fit” Emmanuel Kant

Today is the last day at my current job. If I take a menu as an analogy, my experience here is akin to ‘sweet and sour’. A combination of sweet and sour produced a mixture of feelings; good and bad, happy and despairs, proud and regrets that add on to the rubric of my life. I have been struggling to write this ‘mini memoir’ for some time. I had to overcome a monolith of restrains (sometime it’s my own) to finish this writing. The difficulty of this ‘mini memoir’ lies in part in the fact that I tries to achieve so much in so little space. I will try (with difficulties) to be concise (and you know it is impossible). Victor Hugo once said “An Invasion of an army can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come”.

I remember my first day at this office. It was on the first day of March 2007. For a billion times, I look at the letter of offer. It says that I was offered a place at the Legal Department and I am supposed to report for duty that day. I went to the HR office and was asked to wait in a room together with other ‘freshies’. We exchanged pleasantry but I guess everybody is deep in their own thought.

I can feel the rush of adrenalin in my body. I tried to talk to the person sitting next to me but I can’t seem to think of any topic. Jokes are dry and we maintained a minimum decorum. Then all the ‘freshies’ are escorted to their respective departments. I was escorted to mine.

The department is still ‘empty’ at that time. I guess it is still early although my watch shows it is 8.45am. Later I found out that the department will only come to ‘life’ around 9am. Some will not start their work before reading the newspaper (no matter at what time they ‘checked in’ the office), as if their lives are depending on yesterday’s event. Some choose to be late or even take an MC (or under the pretext of attending a meeting outside, whatever that is).

Eunice is the first person I saw in the department. She brought me to my cubicle. If I am not mistaken, I only had the opportunity to see the Manager, Seow Si on my second day. Later, I was introduced to Datin Norhayati, Head for Consumer Bank & Litigation, one of the units under the Legal Department. She is a very erudite lady with sharp observation and very quick in pointing up my mistakes. For the next 1 week, I struggled to keep up with Datin’s and Seow Si’s expectations. By the second week, I began to feel at home.

Seow Si and Datin gave me the freedom to complete any task my way. There is no need for constant reporting, unless of course if I screw up (and that can be a handful). In return, I have to be accountable and own up my mistake. That is how you treat a knowledge worker. Mind you, we are not a bunch of school children who need to be told what to do.

Like any other good things in life, it wouldn’t last. Seow Si left the department in 2008. I guess that it is a normal life cycle. A vicious cycle that dark age will succeed the golden era. The same goes in management.

However, I am fortunate and blessed for having the opportunity to meet several great people like….

“Strict but understanding Seow Si”: she will always greet you with a smile. She loves using marriage as an analogy to explain contractual terms. It is a simple logic, but sticks to my mind like UHU.

“Care bears Eunice”; you can always expect her accommodating to your needs…pencils, pens, calculators, foods… and a very good organizer. Never like to beat around the bush, just straight to business.

“Charismatic and stylish Datin”; I never heard she ever raise her voice. Datin has this unique style in sending her message across. She is very creative in answering queries and if she is angry, the creativity will increase ten fold! (believe me, you do not want to be the opposing side when that happen!!!)

“Enigmatic Maznah”; she is very conservative in some issues but very radical in some. Her favorite remark (whenever I made stupid jokes) is.... “you idiot!!!!”

She is a very good listener but do not test her patient.

No nonsense Shikin; do not be surprise that she can dance (err…what happened in Bandung stays in Bandung)

Li T’san; the girl with the ‘exotic’ name. I never see her without that 100 megawatt smiles.

Food station Kak Ana; she will feed you until you cannot take anymore. The foods are ‘bottomless’ limited only to what your stomach can take.

Ever-ready-to-help Julie; ask her any favor and she will do it for you…with a smile!

Melancholic Grace; The name fit the person. I hope that she has the strength to deal with all sorts of idiosyncrasies in the office.

Ever-smiling Caryln: Initially, I found that she quite hard to approach. I am partly to blame. However, once you know her, she can be quite chatty. I really hope that she will figure out how to transfer the photos inside her phone to the computer by now.

Tough-acting Mastura; is a young girl with lot of potential. To stay where she is right now is a waste of her own potential.

Abang Jacket….: I will really miss his jokes at the pantry.

Last but not least, my two ‘big sisters’; Lisa and Shu Shin. They never hesitate to ‘smack’ me back to my senses. I can talk with them on any issues and I can expect an honest feedback. Shu Shin will supply a ‘quote’ on daily basis for us to ponder. However, I turned that into a ‘debate’. There will be a series of emails ‘debating’ the validity of those ‘quotations’. I am amaze on the amount of emails for these sessions. Seriously, where do we find the time for that?

There are others whom I had fond memories but restrictions of time and space is always a stumbling block.

Although from today onwards, I’ll be ire ad largum (at least from this department), I really wish the ‘survivors’ good luck.

The reason I left trample more on the push factors rather than the pull factors. I guess that I’ll remain where I am if Seow Si is still there. Perhaps I can never accept the fact that time had changed. Bosses changed and some people change (like a chameleon), and my self-denial of these changes works against me. My mistake!

My self-denial had turned my presence into an anachronism of the present and the future of the department; an antithesis to the changed circumstances.

My Friends,

“Style is packaging, the only substance is performance”.

When I say ‘performance’, I am not referring to the ‘performing art’ of some drama kings and queens. In working life there will be those who will shed tears, put up a drama, and backstab their friends (even the term friends is a misnomer in this context). Some people succeed and some people don’t. Some who do not succeed, all those bootlicking will not worth a single dime. On the contrary, those who succeed will not build up character.

Cuilibet in sua arte perito est credendum; Credit must be earned and must be based on merit.

There will be servile acolytes which I find very pathetic. I found the servility of some very embarrassing. We should uphold our dignity. There is no need to degrade ourselves.

Let this honest observation to be ephemeral in nature. I was told that my life will be happier if I give my friends a piece of my heart and not piece of my mind. However, the periphery between the heart and the mind is so often blurred, if not because of my own weakness, it is because of the prejudice of the recipient. Sic utere tuo alienum non ledas.

I am passionate about my work and I do not have time for trifle issues. However, I forgot that it is a very subjective concept. I forgot that I do not have to win every argument. I forgot that words can cut deeper than steel. I forgot that I can be misunderstood. The most important lesson; apart from being a colleague, I forgot to be a friend.

Ahh…I feel so cold right now. It is raining at Damansara.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Are you stubborn?

It is amazing how powerful to play with terminology. For example, what is the different between stubborn and istiqamah?

Well, a Menteri Besar in one of the Malaysian state may offer an explanation;

“Stubborn means defending what is wrong. When we know something is wrong, but will not back down, that is stubborn. But when we know what is true, what is right, that is istiqamah”

It is a very good explanation, but there is one tiny problem. How do we differentiate between right and wrong? Even if we feel that something is right, how do we know that we are right? If others says that we are wrong but we say that we are right, does it mean that I am ‘more right’ and the others are ‘more wrong’? Is it (the determination of right and wrong) a subjective or objective test?

It seems that it more questions than answers…

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Democracy; lost in transition.

‘Death to the dictator’! ... ‘Death to dictatorship’!

A group of 3000 protestors chanting these slogans amidst the tear gas, water cannon and guns intended to disperse the protestors. The issue is the alleged fraud in the just concluded presidential election. Mousavi, labeled as reformist presidential candidate lost the said election and his supporters took their case to the street.

America of course reminded the Iranian government not to take stiff action to the protestors. This is not the first time America tried to meddle with democratically elected government. Hamas government in Palestine is good example. We all know that America did a good job in restoring and establishing democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq. The citizens of these two countries having the opportnity to ‘Rest In Peace’ right now.

The allegation of election fraud should be investigated based on evidence in a proper tribunal, and not at the street.

I support freedom of expression and I support the freedom of assembly. However, there is no freedom when a country is in chaos. There is no democracy in chaos. At the end, the democracy will loss, lost in transition.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Peer- to-Peer

The fight against piracy is not limited at the Gulf of Aden but it also extends to the cyber world. Robin Gibb, one of the Gibb brothers from the BeeGees group are considered as best-selling music artistes is lending his voice to the fight against digital piracy. He reckons that the price of album is falling due to illegal download of the songs through the internet.

Like any other technology, P2P proved to be an ideal breeding place of disseminating illegal copies. This issue was given much publicity and scrutiny in the foreign jurisdiction. However, there is not much response or intellectual discourse on P2P in the context of Malaysian copyright law. In pursuing the objective of building an economy based on knowledge, Malaysia cannot deny that the advent of technology especially the P2P will challenge the current concept of copyright law. This new development creates legal uncertainty to the copyright owner, P2P users and providers, and Internet Service Provider.

Just a decade ago, internet users shared their files by placing URL links in their own websites. The demand to share complete albums, video clips and full length movie, the ‘traditional’ method of placing URL had become obsolete. The technology has to play catch up and come up with better file sharing platform called P2P.

The advent of P2P carries with it the same problem of disseminating illegal copies of copyright works. The disseminating of illegal copies of copyright works has a major impact to the economy, jobs, businesses, and consumers that are related to the innovation of the copyright works.

Monday, June 15, 2009

SIS ban issue

It is reported in 'The Sun' today that the PAS Shah Alam MP and division head admitted that he overlooked the resolution to ban SIS.

The resolution as reported by the Star "to call on the National Fatwa (Edict) Council to do research on SIS, which is promoting liberal Islam, and ban the organization if its views are found to be in conflict with Islamic teachings and to rehabilitate its members"

First, I thought Islam is a liberal religion.

Second, even if the view contradict Islamic teachings (and who should be the arbiter?), should the authorities engage an intellectual discourse with SIS rather than banning the organization.

My last posting in my blog touched on Islamiphobia or paranoia. Who can blame the non muslim when the paranoia originates from within.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Islamophobia or paranoia?

When I was in Hong Kong recently, I had the opportunity to visit one of Muslim restaurant in Kowloon. The restaurant serves authentic Beijing style food. The food taste good and it is reasonably priced. The owner showed me a photo of him together with a Malaysian celebrity. It seems that the photo is supposed to allay any fear in me on the ‘halalness’ of the food. After the light of Islam had reached China earlier than the Malay Peninsula, the restaurant seems felt obliged to prove his credibility to me. It is amazing that the restaurant can strive in a ‘non Muslim dominated country’.

Just a few days before, I was ‘detained’ at a foreign immigration station (not Malaysian). There is no serious incident, and I was released few minutes later. It seems that my name is similar to someone. I didn’t bother to ask who. Is the name Muhamad Shahrin bin Hashim is similar to any terrorist suspect? I share the name ‘Muhamad’ with millions others in this planet. I guess if there are 100 Muhamad at that airport that day, all of us will share the same fate.

‘Islamiphobia’ or sheer paranoia?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


On the last day of my trip to Sabah, we had a few more hours before our flight back to Kuala Lumpur. The ladies decided to spend the remaining hours raiding the Philippine market. I am too tired to join them so I spend my time sitting at a bench by the roadside writing my journal. In between, I had to waived away some ‘weird guys’ selling Ray Ban and watches. Few ‘tailors kiosk’ can be seen along the walkways. The sewing machines are from the old model. My mum has a similar sewing machine; now used as a ‘semi interior d├ęcor’.

The ‘weird guys’ selling Ray Ban and watches is not giving up easily until they get their buyers. I wonder whether their merchandises are genuine or fake. I over heard that they are selling a watch at a price as low as RM8. I saw one Kelantanese buying a watch from the seller and I hope he bought it at a good price (I doubt if there is any after sales service)

Few locals are playing chess at the walkways and it became some sort of entertainment. I guess that there are Kasparov hidden even at Kota Kinabalu. Some of the Ray Ban and watchers sellers also spend their lunch time playing chess. They are holding their merchandise at one hand and move their ‘army’ with the other hand; the same hand that holds their cigarettes.

I was at the bench long enough to observe the mini buses passing by. The number of passengers is less than a quarter of the available seat. Maybe it is a non peak hours. The traffic is quite heavy though may not as heavy as in Kuala Lumpur. The ‘Kuala Lumpur disease’ had found its way here. I guess Malaysian love to guzzle on petrol. I do not think it is too late to device a good public transportation in KK. Sabah should maintain its tagline as ‘Land below the Wind’ and not “Land within CO2’. Just let the honor goes to KL.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kinabalu Park


7.30am, Saturday16/5/2009 we left our hotel at 1Borneo towards Kinabalu Park. Although we are still fatigue from the previous day’s adventure ay Klias River, every body is in good mood to have a sight on Kinabalu Mountain.

The journey took 2 hours. The scenery is awesome. Even from the distance, Kinabalu Mountain looks so majestic. No wonder it attracts thousands of mountain climbers. We stop at Nabalu town for a break. From Nabalu town, the mountain seems so near and it makes a beautiful backdrop for your photo. If you have the energy, you can walk up the observation tower. You can also find souvenirs sold at a cheap price.

From Nabalu town, we resumed our journey to Kinabalu Park. We arrived at the park around 11am and the temperature is quite cool. If not because of global warming, it should be cooler I guess. According to our guide, there used to be ice on top of the mountain. However, it disappears since 1980s.

We took a guided tour through the forest track. Our guide, Ms Betty, was so helpful and elaborates with her explanation about the flora and fauna found in the forest. We just realized that bamboo is the tallest grass in the world. I don’t even know that bamboo is part of grass family. At the backdrop, the ‘audio entertainment’ of tour is the high volumes of cicadas. You also can find varieties of wild orchid. If you love nature, this is the place to be. If not, the only ‘sexy’ thing here is the ‘naked tree’.

Once in a while, our guide will explain the important of maintaining the biodiversity of the forest. For example, Silau-Silau River starts from the Kinabalu Mountain and will combine with other rivers to form a huge reservoir of clean water resources for the whole of Sabah. The forest surrounding the mountain functions as natural filter to these rivers.

Our guided tour took an hour to complete. Despite the long track, I felt so refreshed. Perhaps it is due to the fresh air and the cool climate. My friend may not share the same sentiments. Our next agenda is our favorite; lunch. When you are hungry, tired and the weather is cool, everything tastes delicious.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Poring Hot Spring


If the temperature in Kundasang is too cool for you, you can warm yourself up at the ‘Poring hot spring’. The hot spring is just another 45 minutes from the Kinabalu Park. There are many things to do/see like the butterfly farm, canopy walk, cool refreshing water falls and of course the hot spring. On our way up, there was a stalled bus that caused slight traffic jam (it takes more than this to cause massive jam at this part of the world). The bus was still at the same spot when we came down. I guess ‘technical support’ is quite slow at this area.

Anyway, back to the main attraction, for those who have lot of spare time, I would suggest that you do the canopy walk, refresh your self at the water falls and then hit the hot spring.

To get to the canopy walk, you need to pay a nominal entrance fee around RM3. You have to do some jungle trekking uphill about 500 meters. The trek is not that difficult but you might want to pace down to enjoy the fresh air. The reward at the end of the 500 meters of jungle trekking is the scenic bird eye view of the tropical forest.

Then you can relax your aching muscle at the hot spring. You can choose to take a bath at the designated area or you can just roll up your trousers and dip your feet inside the hot spring. The hot water soothes my aching and tired feet. I should have brought extra cloths so I can take a hot bath. Well, there is always a next time.

If that is not refreshing enough, you can go to the nearby stalls for a drink, where you can find almost anything from coconut, and sugar cane to canned drinks. I chose to drink 100 plus and to my surprise; I emptied the whole 325ml in 5 seconds. That shows how tired I am.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


About 2 hours drive from Kota Kinabalu, you can find a small town of Kundasang. Mother Nature had blessed this place with fertile soil so you can find fresh vegetables, fruits, honey and other agriculture products. You should try the wild Durian. It tastes a bit bitter than the normal Durian but with slight sweetness in between.


Close proximity with Kinabalu Mountain means that the temperature is low throughout the year; better than Cameron Highlands. However, unlike Cameron Highlands, the vast amount of available lands to grow vegetables means Kundasang can produce more vegetables. I was told that Kundasang ‘exported’ their product to Kota Kinabalu.


One thing that I notice is that the same ‘kiosk’ still selling the fruits when I came here 4 years ago. I just been thinking aloud, what happened (or not happen) for the past 4 years? Well, I am not expecting a quantum leap in these traders economic standing, but at least there should be some improvement. If there are changes in economic activities at this place, it is either it is not visible to me or there is an inequality in wealth distribution.


This is what baffles me; this place has the entire ingredient to be a great place; fertile soil, cool climate, access road and vast amount of lands, just to say a few. This place has the potential to be developed as the main producers of fruits and vegetable, and not just for Kota Kinabalu market. More importantly, the agriculture industry can elevate the economic status of the farmers/traders.


Perhaps the local government should play more active roles in developing and give access to the local farmers in better agriculture technique. Build up the supply chain from the farmers’ land right to the end users.


Noteworthy, to ensure sustainable development, the agriculture activities need to bear in mind the harm to the environment. We should not repeat the past mistake of using pesticides and uncontrolled land clearing.


The introduction of development corridor in Sabah should take the above into account. It is a pity if we ignore the future of these farmers/traders as well as the environment from the previously announced economic corridor.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Proboscis Monkey


Klias River is two hour’s drive from Kota Kinabalu. The star attraction of Klias River is the Proboscis monkey. I am quite amaze to see a lot of people come to this part of the world just to see the monkey. The scenery along the journey to the river is quite spectacular. However, you need to be careful as buffaloes may suddenly cross the road and because of they are buffaloes, they will not use the zebra crossing


The monkey did not actually do anything amazing. The Monkey just sits lazily on top of the trees doing their own thing. However, the mere sight of the monkey stirs a lot of excitement to the spectators. Our boat stops every time we spotted the monkey. Just imagine if we can fully exploit this monkey to attract more tourists to Sabah. I am thinking of better facilities, extensive promotions, merchandise etc. It is always our weakness...we have the product but we do not how to market our product.


We take a break for delicious dinner at the jetty. The chicken curry and the chicken soup was enough to recharge my battery. At 7pm, it is already dark. We took the same boat to see another wonder of Klias river; the fireflies. Clusters of male ‘light bugs’ trying to attract the females are ‘lighting’ up the trees along the river. I sure hope that these fireflies will not meet the same fate as their ‘brothers’ at Kuala Selangor.


By 8pm, we started our journey back to KK. The journey can be very tiring but it is worth it!

Tomorrow…Kundasang!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

permitted tresspassing

Somebody entered your land without permission and evict you from your land and claim the land as theirs. Under municipal law, it is an illegal act. Assuming that the infringing act was sanctioned by the ruler of the state, we call the ruler as oppressive ruler. The municipal law seems to take care of that circumstance. However, how can International law condone such illegal act?

The question then is whether the creation of Israel state is a legal act under the international law?

The above is the message from Dr. Azzam Tamimi in his public lecture at the Faculty of law University of Malaya. Dr. Azzam is the director of the Institute of Islamic Political Thoughts had delivered a clear message as to the predicament of the Palestine.

Palestine is a land that has been invaded and conquered by numerous powers under the God’s name. The last was the Ottoman Empire. As conquerors come and go the native of Palestine remains to stay at the ‘holy’ land. Looking at the vast amount of blood that had been sacrificed…we begin to ask why?   

Record shows that Muslims rulers never force the Jews to leave Palestine. It was the Romans in 135 AD that had expelled the Jews from Palestine en masse. However, after the World War II, the ‘victors’ decided to create a Jewish state in Palestine.

Another interesting question posed to the audience is the position of Declaration of Human Rights 1948 in the light of Palestine issue. By creating Jewish state at the expense of the ‘native’, are we protecting the human right of one but denying the right of another?

The preamble of the declaration says that;

“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”

Is this declaration a mockery to human race?

The declaration further says

“Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law”   

The declaration aspires to protect human rights; but it depends on the ‘guardians’ or should I say the ‘manipulators’ of international law to determine who should be protected.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

wasted resources!

Malaysian waste management took another twist this week when Alam Flora terminated 40 of its garbage collectors. These 40 contractors have 2000 odd workers under their payroll. The 40 solid waste and cleaning contractors operates under the jurisdiction of MBPJ.

At a time of economic uncertainty, the termination of the contract is like death warrants to the workers. These workers may not have the right education to find other suitable jobs.  Even if there are other jobs available, do these workers will get the priority?

Perhaps the relevant authority has its own reason. However, the livelihood of the workers needs to be the priority. We have the option of merging these 40 contractors into a consortium. The existing workers from the existing contractors can be absorbed into this new entity. The new entity with better financial resources is at a good position to offer a better service.

However, whatever the solution, it boils down to the sincerity of the relevant parties to solve the issue. If any agenda hidden somewhere along the plot, it is a mockery  to the ‘welfare state’ tagline.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thinking inside the box

This is something about thinking outside the box or rather inside the box. Take a look at Kyoto Box, a US$6 cardboard box that uses solar power to cook, sterilize water.

Sound a bit futuristic and outrageous?

This is not a science fiction movie. This cardboard box had won a USD75, 000 prize for ideas to fight global warming. You can pack it flat for easier shipment, reduce indoor smoke, reduces deforestation (it aimed at billions of people who use firewood to cook), reduces fire hazard and purifies water for drinking…and at US$6, green technology can be very cheap.

Economic downturn may also be a blessing in disguise for ‘green economy’. On Thursday, Japan had announced RM537.7 billion stimulus package which most of it go towards environment-friendly project such as cash rebates for hybrid cars and electric car production by 2012. China, not to be outdone, the next day after Japan announced its initiative, announced her plan to be the largest producer of electric cars with RM5.3 billion package for research and development.

Sigh…Malaysia may not have that kind of money (the lame excuse which has been used over and over), but the previous stimulus package seems to avoid the path of building ‘green economy’. If we ask the ‘rakyat’, we rather see the government take over the toll concessions and lower the price of petroleum so we can fill up our lungs with the smoke and pollutions. It seems that we have this addict to inhale polluted air in this country.

On the other note, recycle has become a serious business in London. The local councils also seriously thinking that supermarket should pay for the waste from food packaging created by the latter. In Hong Kong, an entrepreneur ‘transforms’ hardy rice bags into reusable and unique grocery bags, and sells them to eco-friendly shoppers as alternatives of free plastic bags. Talking about ‘transformation’, the Malaysian teenagers may hear more about this word now that the ‘akademi fantasia’, a hit reality series is transforming its ‘students’ to multi talented stars. Way to go Malaysia…Malaysia Boleh!

While we in Malaysia are busy transforming our teenagers to pop idols, a recent expert poll conducted by Reuters shows that global warming is likely to overshoot a 2 degree Celsius rise. It is time for us to inculcate ‘green culture’ in our youngsters’ minds.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earth Hour 2009

As most Malaysian preoccupied with the UMNO’s election, some of us are more interested with another important ‘election’ that happened on Saturday. On Saturday, thousands of Malaysian had participated in Earth Hour by switching off the lights between 8.30pm and 9.30pm. By switching off the lights it is a vote for Mother Nature and leaving your light on, you are voting for global warming. What had been an initiatives started by the Australian in 2007, the events had spread to the whole world.

Malaysia is participating for the first time with government and private sectors joining in. Thousands of other ‘civilians’ like me are excited and join in the effort. I took an effort of reminding my friends and family through SMS and emails. The response at my neighborhood was very good. By 8.35pm, almost 90% switch off their lights.

Though my effort may not be significant, I hope that it will make this world a better place.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

paya indah wetland


If you are happen to be around KLIA, you may want to stop by Paya Indah Wetland. It is only 15 kilometer from KLIA or 30 kilometer from Kuala Lumpur. I was around that area on Saturday so I give it a go. I arrived at the gate exactly at 8.30am. The visiting hour is at 9.30am so I have to wait. I decided to have breakfast at the nearby local coffee shop. My initial intention is to have a normal nasi lemak but the beef curry smells nice. I end up with a heavy breakfast and. There are few local folks at the coffee shop. I initiated a conversation with some of them. Politics always the best to spark a conversation at the coffee shop.


Sharp at 9.30am, I head to the wetland. There is no entrance fee and you can drive your vehicle in the park. At 450.76 hectare, it is a massive area. However, if you bring your car in, the area that you can cover is quite limited. There are a lot of things to see but a lot more missing. Like most of parks in Malaysia, the atmosphere seems… ‘Uneventful’.


Perhaps the ‘star’ of the park is the Hippotamus amphibious. Visitors have the chance of feeding this beast, with the supervision of the park’s officer of course. With a beast that big, I am not taking any chances…so I kept a reasonable distance from the beast.


I took off half an hour later. I may come back in the future if I know what to expect.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

'Green' economy

Hillary Clinton stops by China as part of her East Asia trip. Besides the economy, which is the obvious issue (which take centre stage compared to human rights), both countries are talking about the possibility of developing clean energy and energy efficiency in buildings.

This development reminds me of my discussion on sustainable development with some of my course mates early this week. We are discussing on environmental standard imposed on shipping industry. Should be higher as to minimize environmental harm emanates from the shipping business, or should we lower the standard.

The tug of war between economy and environment is always a dilemma. For many, it is a zero sum game where one must prevail at the expense of the other. Should it be that way?

A higher standard in shipping operations means higher start up cost to the shipping operator. Higher cost means the fee of transporting the goods will be higher. As neither the manufacturer nor the shipping owner will absorb the cost, the cost will be passed to the consumer by paying higher price for the goods. This will burn a big hole to consumers' pocket. Prices must be kept low at all cost. Don’t forget that this people will vote. To embark into green initiatives that will raise prices can be considered as political suicide. Alas, developed countries had polluted the world for hundreds of years, so this is our turn to pollute.

As the environment cannot speak for itself, the cost that the ‘environment’ has to pay for the pollution remains below the surface.

The key is to come up with a method and processes that is not only environmentally friendly, but friendly to the consumers’ pocket too.

We often resolved in using the technology which is ‘outdated’ regardless how much pollution it release. The argument is simple; to come up with a new technology requires tones of money for research and development. We need to spur the economy, and it needs it NOW! Our herd mentality justifies our rationale that we are tackling the issue the right way. However, there is a world of different between doing things right compared to do the right thing.

Not so long ago, we criticized the government for raising the fuel price. We demand for more subsidy, we are ready to witch hunt Petronas for making a lot of money but doing little for the…(the overused term right now) the ‘Rakyat’. However, we never want to fail to look at ourselves and see how we can change our life styles. Despite being at the mercy of oil prices, this government fails to seriously looking at renewable energy.


One of my friends brought up the issue on hybrid car. It cost too much he said. He suggested that the government should lower down the price. The cost of a hybrid car is high due to tax; imposed to ‘shield’ the national car industry. Do we come up with our own version of hybrid car…NO! We succeeded in creating a generation hungry for petrol and this generation wants it to come cheap. This sickness can be seen from one of the politician (in his election debate) that our petroleum reserved can be replenished. What we need to do is dig! dig! and keep on digging.

By imposing high tax against this hybrid car, we had deprived our society a choice to change to a more fuel efficient car; all in the name of national interest.

The current US administration had pledged billion of dollars to create ‘green’ employment. Rhetoric? Perhaps. However, consider this facts;

General Electric (GE) had emphasis on ’17 clean-technology businesses’ expected to expand sales of products from $10 billion in 2004 to $20 billion by 2010. Each unit within GE have their own target to reduce emissions of CO2.

Wal Mart is constantly finding ways to reduce its carbon foot print in its operation. By reducing its carbon foot print, Wal Mart has to be very efficient in its operation. Efficient operation means lower operating cost which translated to cheaper price.

Being the ‘first’ in the ‘green revolution’, these companies will have the competitive advantage over their competitors. They are taking competitiveness to the next level…and we still lagging behind by relying to the outdated technology to compete.

The future belongs to ‘green revolutionist’.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

hillside project

It was reported in today’s newspaper that hillside project will go on. The exact quote of the newspaper report;

“…this is because the country population was increasing and land was needed for development…total ban would be a waste of land, and proposed instead an immediate halt on the ‘tip fill’ technique during construction at hillslopes…”

This newspaper report is on the statement made by the works minister. Excuse me for being a skeptic but the country had experienced numerous landslides that had claimed many lives. I am not sure whether it is case of memory lapse or ignorance. We are trapped in this archaic mentality that the land is our birthright to be ‘ransacked’ and ‘brutalized’. Less than five months ago, the deputy prime minister had called for a ban to all hillside development. Don’t tell me the our memory is that bad.

In his statement, there are many engineers with wide experience ‘who are capable of reducing or minimizing landslides’. Those who fall for this, make sure that those engineers are capable in writing a beautiful eulogy for you too.

Perhaps somebody never learn their lesson.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

power issue


The electricity tariff will be lowered starting from 1/3/2009. The reason: lower oil prices from US$140 per barrel to US$43 per barrel. A lower tariff will be translated to lower electricity bills for the consumers, household and industry alike. At present, the consumers are paying 21.8 cents per kilowatt per hour if their consumption does not exceed 200 kwh.


Although I welcome any move to ease the burden of the people, we need to ask the conventional wisdom behind this move. Do we really need cheaper tariff or we need energy efficiency? Or perhaps we can turn to renewable energy. Notice that the tariff fluctuates at the mercy of the oil price. Should we keep on rely on the oil to power up our electrical appliances? Although our politician seems to think that mother earth keep on growing oil so what we need to do is keep on digging, I think we are wiser than that.


Malaysia, like most of the developing countries, is facing an increase of the generation of waste and problems that entails the disposal of this waste. Overall, the local communities generate 16, 000 tons of domestic waste per day and the amounts per capita vary from 0.45 to 1.44 kg per day depending on the economic status of the areas concerned. On average, waste generation is about 1 kg per capita per day.


Waste is grouped into three different categories in respect of disposal;
1. Solid waste
2. Medical waste
3. Hazardous waste

According to study by E. Grant Anderson in five states (Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan) represent 70% of the total amount of waste in the country, the composition of waste is shown in figure 1. We can see that 64% of the waste is domestic waste.
Municipal solid waste in Malaysia is under the responsibility of the public sector, although the government has contracted out part of the municipal solid waste management services to private contractors under the privatization program. The Municipal Solid Waste management (MSWM) services account for a high percentage of the municipal budgets as waste management and planning are under municipal responsibility. On average, 50% of the municipal operating budgets are spent on MSWM and 70% is spent on collection of waste.

In Kuala Lumpur, 80% of all waste is collected. In order to improve collection and transfer services and also to overcome the financial constraints of local municipalities, private companies are being invited to bid for privatization-cum concession agreements for MSWM services. Private companies are allowed to form joint venture companies that have the financial resources and experience to win collection contracts from municipal authorities, and to design and to design and build transfer stations and landfills, or any final disposal systems.

Presently, there are 3 types of waste disposal categories – solid waste disposal and incineration, medical waste incineration and hazardous waste incineration. The disposal of solid waste is done solely through landfill. There are 168 disposal sites throughout the country, of wgich only 7 are sanitary landfills. The rest are open dumps and about 80% of these dumps have been filled up to the maximum and have to closed in 2005. The federal government had spent RM20.9 million to build 9 sanitary landfills and upgrade 27 existing landfills in 34 designated areas. These measures are, however insufficient to overcome the problem of waste disposal as the waste generation rate is increasing rapidly due to high population growth and urbanization.


Why waste-to-energy?
Imagine a machine that can turn anything into fuel by using pollution-free processes like heat and preasure. Imagine wastes from landfills, refuse from poultry farms, sludge and sewage from city sewers are used to generate electric. Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF), a technology adopted from India, enables power generating where the fuel is derived from Municipal solid waste via series of process like separation, shredding and drying

Garbage does not contain as much heat energy as coal. It takes one ton of garbage to equal the heat energy in 500 pounds of coal. USA has 90 waste-to-energy plants. Waste –to-energy plants generate enough electricity to supply almost 3 million households. However, it cost more to generate electricity at a waste-to-energy plant that it does at a coal, nuclear, or hydropower plant.

On the other hand, the major advantage of burning waste is that it reduces the amount of garbage we bury in landfills. Burning waste substantially reduces the amount of trash going to landfills. Waste-to-energy plant disposes of waste of 40 million people.

Similar to fossil fuel power plants, MSW power plants discharge used water. Pollutants build up in the water used in the power plant boiler and cooling system. In addition, the cooling water is considerably warmer when it is discharged than when it was taken. These water pollutants and the higher temperature of the discharged water can upon its release negatively affect water quality and aquatic life. This discharge usually requires a permit and is monitored.
Solid Waste Generation

The combustion of MSW reduces MSW waste streams, reducing the creation of new landfills. MSW combustion creates a solid waste called ash, which can contain any of the elements that were originally present in the waste. MSW power plants reduce the need for landfill capacity because disposal of MSW ash requires less land area than does unprocessed MSW. However, because ash and other residues from MSW operations may contain toxic materials, the power plant wastes must be tested regularly to assure that the wastes are safely disposed to prevent toxic substances from migrating into ground-water supplies. Under current regulations, MSW ash must be sampled and analyzed regularly to determine whether it is hazardous or not. Hazardous ash must be managed and disposed of as hazardous waste. Depending on state and local restrictions, non-hazardous ash may be disposed of in a MSW landfill or recycled for use in roads, parking lots, or daily covering for sanitary landfills.

Land Resource Use
MSW power plants, much like fossil fuel power plants, require land for equipment and fuel storage. The non-hazardous ash residue from the burning of MSW is typically deposited in landfills.

Electricity can be generated by burning Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) as fuel also called waste to energy (WTE) plants, are designed to dispose of MSW and to produce electricity as a byproduct of the incinerator operation.

The term MSW describes the stream of solid waste (“trash” or “garbage”) generated by households and apartments, commercial establishments, industries and institutions. MSW consists of everyday items such as packaging, grass clippings, furniture, clothing, bottles, food scraps, newspapers, appliances, paint and batteries. In does not include medical, commercial and industrial hazardous or radioactive waste, which must be treated separately.
MSW is managed by combination of disposal in landfill sites, recycling, and incineration. MSW incinerators often produce electricity in WTE plants.

Perhaps, apart from changing habit in our electricity consumption, a more proactive effort perhaps is by turning our municipal solid waste into energy.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Federal territory Day 1st of February

In 1850, tin mining industry is booming in the Malay Peninsula, especially in area called Klang valley. The then Malay chief of Klang had expanded his tin mining business at the Gombak River (formerly known as Sungai Lumpur which literally means Muddy River). It was not until 1870s, when Chinese Kapitan Yap Ah Loy took Kuala Lumpur into a next level as a mining town.
With more than 100 years of existence, Kuala Lumpur is a witness to the development of this nation. From a small village in 1800 to a metropolitan city with an iconic KLCC that rule its skyline, Kuala Lumpur really a great city. Every year on the 1st of February, the citizen of Kuala Lumpur will celebrate the Federal Territory day (which consist of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya).

I was born in this great city two years after it was declared as a federal territory. This is where I grew up, studied and earn my living. Traffic jams is part of my life and my lungs is ‘immune’ to the smokes coming from vehicles, factories, open burning, cigarettes etc.

However, this concrete jungle needs a paradigm shift in defining its development. The increase of vehicles translates into higher air pollution. However, the focus is always on reducing traffic jams by constructing wider and better roads. Perhaps we fail to see that wider and better road is an invitation for increase of vehicles on the road. When that happen, we end up widen the existing road and the cycle goes on and on.

There are calls and effort to revamp the public transportation. I read about this effort every year on 1st of February without fail. The plan looks impressive in the newspaper report but come December every year, I see no progress in this department.

Air pollution…we always have our neighboring country to blame. Is there any move to impose the usage of hybrid vehicle? I did not hear any. The recent regulation that imposes the use of rear seat belt was greeted with negative remark from the public. I think if there is regulation on hybrid vehicles, there will be a coup d’etat against the present government.

Solid waste…the city pays RM160 million a year to manage solid waste. How do we manage solid waste? Dump it at a dumping site course. Recycle is only meant for school projects. Adults can throw our refuse anywhere and the word ‘recycle’ is not in our dictionary. How can we recycle our garbage when the garbage collector will dump everything in the garbage truck? Yes, I can go to the recycle center, but it is too far from my house and I do not even know where is the center is. I can give you 1001 reason not to recycle.

Alas…the plastic bottle once thrown away is someone else problem. There are still trees in the jungle somewhere to keep the temperature down. There is always someone else to take up the pieces…always…and always it is not my business.

Hence, in supporting the inspiration to be the world class city, let us increase our carbon footprint by releasing more smoke through our vehicle, cut more trees, choke up our rivers with our refuse, and use more plastics.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"under siege"


Before midnight on the eve of Chinese New Year, Kuching was ‘bombarded’ with land to air ‘missiles’ and ‘rockets’. The noise was deafening and the ground trembling. The Chinese community in Kuching is celebrating the coming of the year of the Ox with a bang.

In a near perfect ‘synchronized’ performance, it seems that the whole of Kuching is on ‘fire’. The ‘fire’ had turned night into day. You can just see and smell the smokes filling up the air. The ‘bombardment’ continued for an hour followed by small cracking sounds of ‘ground assault’.
Hmm…it reminds me of my childhood where 90% of the neighborhood are Chinese. The firecrackers ‘sessions’ started from the eve of the New Year and will continue the next day. Lion dance routine is a must in every house. Perhaps it is a way to bless the house and its occupants. My routine is to visit my neighbors for the ang pau and the oranges. Those are the time when life was so simple (and perhaps… pure).

I guess it is a culture that transcends to all cultures and religions. For Malay Muslim, there will be a group of people reciting ‘takbir’ to each house within the residential area or ‘qariah’. The ‘takbir’ session is usually done the night before the eidilfitri. The session will be followed by a small ‘feast’. So you can just imagine after the 10th house, you can hardly get up.

This year, I just sit at the balcony and enjoy the colorful display of firecrackers that light up the sky. Thank you for those who had spent thousands of RM to give me this free entertainment. I guess in this year of the Ox, we shall have the endurance to shoulder the challenge of the current economic ‘chaoses. So have a very good year guys!

Friday, January 23, 2009

river of life


The water of Batang Lupar (Lupar River) flows melancholically from the mountains to the sea. It is a bit muddied after the rain but still can support the lives along the river. Batang Lupar was (and still famous) for the crocodiles that inhabited the river. Once in a while, there are sighting of this ‘predator’ at Batang Lupar.

I attended a funeral at one of the village at Sri Aman located at the riverbank of Batang Lupar River. At the time I arrived at the village, villagers, friends and families are in the midst of making preparations for the funeral the next day. The somber atmosphere can be felt the moment I enter the house.

The river is a reflection of our life in this world. It started flowing from the day we was born and ends when it reaches the sea. In our journey, we touches the lives that is connected to ours. We have a choice whether to benefit or to destroy the lives along our odyssey to the sea.
Perhaps, as we managing the sinuosity of our lives, we should not forget our duty as the ‘khalifah’ or God’s servants in this world. Are we only duty bound to make our own life better or we supposed to make this world a better place?

As they lowering down the coffin into the grave I had this question hammering my mind over and over again. I cannot even convince myself that I had done a good job as God’s servant. As I watched the river flow, I wonder how much time I have to discharge the duty given to me as servants before it ends.

Monday, January 19, 2009

City of entertainment


Welcome to Genting, city of entertainment!
This hotspot for entertainment is only 30 minutes drive from Kuala Lumpur. Located on top of a hill, the air is so chilled that I don’t need a mini bar to cool cans of soft drinks. This time, we decided to take the Genting Skyway, a cable car to the top. At RM10 you can enjoy 3.4 kilometer scenic view from the cable car which is the longest and the fastest in South East Asia operating from 7.30am to 11pm (12pm during weekend).
As usual, the theme park is packed with thousands of visitors. I do not know about others but I am here just to escape from Kuala Lumpur hot temperature. Fully ‘armed’ with my jacket, I ‘browse’ through the labyrinth of shops. Of course the price is slightly ‘inflated’. What do you expect?
Almost everything here is commercialized. However, you need to admire the vision and the set up of the theme park. Who can imagine that there is a ‘hotspot’ on top of a hill in the middle of nowhere? (perhaps the casinos had something to do with it…maybe…) Nevertheless, you can find almost everything here from roller coaster, video games, cinema, bar with live bands etc to keep up with the tag ‘city of entertainment’.
The temperature became cooler in the evening. I looked outside the window of my hotel room. The valley beneath my hotel is slowly become ‘invisible’ as the clouds slowly enveloped the valley. At 9pm, you can’t see anything but the clouds. I took a quick shower (believe me it is really quick as the water is darn cold) before I went out for dinner. Somehow, my appetite doubled in cold weather. Better check my weight tomorrow. I end the day watching the late night movie at the cinema theatre.
My mobile which doubled up as my alarm in the morning perform its duty exactly 6am. Arrghh!!!! I had to brave the cold shower again.
As I look outside the window, appreciating the panoramic view of the tropical forest, I wonder how long this last can. Whether the next generation will be able to enjoy the same fresh air that I breathe today?
Carol bought blouses from FOS (Factory Outlet Store) yesterday and instead of putting the merchandise in a plastic bag, they are giving away bags with environmentally friendly message (for purchase above RM100). Our bag consist a simple message of “Stop Global Warming” with a picture of two sad looking penguins. Hmm…everybody is in the ‘green’ bandwagon now.
However, there are people who does not know (perhaps does not care is more accurate) of the ‘green revolution’. Malaysian produces an average of 0.8kg to 1.2kg of waste per day per person. Out of that amount, we only recycle 5 per cent of our waste compared to countries like Switzerland, Germany and Japan who recycle 35 to 47 per cent of their total waste. The Waste Management of Malaysia is targeting to increase the percentage to 22 per cent in 2020; the year that Malaysia supposed to be the first world country. Compare this with the aim for our recycle percentage is even lower than what the first world countries have right now! It is quite a deplorable aim for a Malaysia Boleh spirit don’t you think?


On the other hand, the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act 2007 were put off once again (somehow it did not surprise me at all). This Act supposed to create an integrated system in managing waste in Malaysia. One of the intentions of the Act is to ‘force’ home owners to separate their waste and make it easier for recycle measure. One of the reasons of the delay is the jurisdiction issue between the federal and the state government in implementing the waste management. It is silly to even think that we can politicize environmental issue.
We are busy exploiting the natural resources and forget we need to dump our waste somewhere. We thought that somebody will pick the waste and the upper echelon of the society is fighting on the issue who should have the right to pick up our waste. At this moment, I don’t have the answer to the two sad looking penguins at the FOS bag.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

maznah's birthday


We are celebrating Maznah’s birthday today. It is to keep up with the ‘department’s tradition’ of celebrating birthdays. Today’s celebration was at Penang Village Plaza Damas, Damansara. Of course, birthday will not complete without a birthday cake… an insignia of us getting another year older…

The best part of this outing is we get to gossip…well I reserved that for another day...har har har…

Saturday, January 3, 2009

friday prayer




2/1/2009, Friday…so it is time for Friday prayer. I decided to perform my Friday prayer at Masjid (mosque) Wilayah at Jalan Duta. I took the opportunity to eat my rojak Singapore at my favorite stall at the nearby food court. I wonder whether this rojak really coming from Singapore. Everything from the owner, prawn, potato, fish balls etc is coming from Malaysia. However, I have no time to think about the Geographical Origin of the food while eating.

Having filled up the ‘tank’, I went into the mosque to wait for the Friday prayer session to start and then I saw at the multimedia screen that the topic for the Friday sermon that day is about Palestine. Aha!! This should be interesting.

From the serene and peaceful atmosphere inside the mosque, the sermon that day was as fiery as the chaos in Palestine. The sermon touches on the plight of the Palestinians from a Muslim perspective. Rockets were launched from Palestine to Israel and vice versa (the latter of course have more firepower than the former).

It was reported in the Malaysian newspaper that the Israel jet fighter can shoot their target with precision like driving a car with GPS. Their targets include missile sites that were used to launch rockets into Israel’s territory. I guess their weapon technology need to be upgraded to differentiate between army sites and hospitals.

Every year without fail, majority of us will celebrate the New Year. This year is no exception to the ‘tradition’. However, I notice that the New Year is the same as the last year (some pessimist may say it even worse). The Palestine issue has been discussed since 1948. Every time a new conflicts, we will march, demonstrates, collecting donations and showing off placards. Then after the euphoria had gone, the ‘voices’ will slow down. Due to the rising cost and the move to reduce the use of papers, I would suggest that the demonstrators to recycle the placards, banners etc for the next demonstration. Hence, the demonstration will be more ‘environmentally friendly’. The conflicts in Palestine will fill the human history for years to come promising more conflicts in the future.

War always involved plethora of issues; political, religion, racial just to name a few. However, in every conflict, humanitarian issues should transcend all the other issues. Nobody (who does not require a lobotomy procedure) wants to start a war. However, human had witnessed two major world war and ‘pockets’ of armed conflicts all over the globe. Hence, at the eve of next year, when you want to wish your friend happy new year, you may want to give some deep thought of what you really wish for.