MH17 – The Final Goodbye 2


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(Image source: Astro)

I thought the Dutch had serve justice to the victims of the MH17 crash and nothing will top that off but I was wrong.

The Malaysian Government (yes Najib does look sad this time) may have copied what the Dutch have done but it was worth the final send off & respect before the bodies were passed back to their families for the final good byes.

Hong Kong: The Home of Efficient Public Transport


Read these first:-

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(Comparatively Malaysia is not far from a very efficient public transportation system and with further extension to the LRT lines and the upcoming MRT lines, one hopes that it will close the gap in the current system. Perhaps we can learn one or two things from Hong Kong.  Image source: Google)

Well, I don’t know it made one of the best first impressions – perhaps it is because I have not taken a public bus in Malaysia in a very long, long time (and I still don’t) and seeing an empty, new comfortable bus made me in love with the idea of taking the bus again or perhaps because of this:-

Hong Kong has a highly developed and sophisticated transport network, encompassing both public and private transport. Over 90% of the daily journeys are on public transport, making it the highest rate in the world

(Source)

I just came back from a short trip to Hong Kong and one of the thing that catches my eyes when we had touched down and exited the airport is their public transportation.

The Hong Kong International Airport itself was impressive although it was not in anyway better than our own KLIA (it was way too crowded compared to KLIA too). The airport is well connected by train (which includes their superb Airport Express), buses and taxis, very similar to KLIA. Instead of taking the obvious option of using the Airport Express, we opted to take the Airport bus instead to the city. One of the colleague had a hotel reservation made and we could get off nearer to the hotel if we take the bus instead of the train. And it was cheap too – HKD40 for one way trip to the city centre (the Airport Express using the Octopus card costs HKD100 per trip).

We were tired and despite taking the bus, it was very comfortable and we managed to catch a short nap along the way. From the bus stop, we had to walk to the hotel and after one of my colleague had checked in to a hotel, the rest of us decided to take the taxi to our apartment (another 30 minutes ride and cost us HKD41 for 3 of us and a couple of large luggage bags). The driver hardly spoke English but he understood where we wanted to go but what struck me immediately was there was 3 seats at the front which was not a norm but I guess no one dares to sit on the middle seat. Not when the taxi driver was wearing shorts.

Walking around the apartment residential area is a breeze and it was a good chance for me to lose some baggage around my waist. And we did walked a lot here – good thing I brought my sports shoe along. There is no any MTR (mass transit railway) station near the place that we were staying but they do have others namely bus, tram and of course, the iconic red color taxi.

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(Our option for public transport – the double deck buses. We took one from the Airport and so is the inter-city buses)

To move around, I would strongly suggest to get the Octopus card (we got ours at the airport and used it for the bus from the airport). Same thing with our Touch n Go card here and one can recharge the card at the numerous 7-eleven shops for free. The bus station is just about 100 metres from the apartment. The tram station is a bit further and we decided not to take the tram in the morning. It is slower and does not have air conditioner. The bus on the other hand is far more comfortable and it is very, very efficient. And since the bus stop near the apartment is just the 3rd bus stop on the bus lane, we always can find an empty seat during the rush hours.

And here’s one reason I respect the Hong Kong commuters – they queue up to take the bus. Yes, there is a queue line on the pavement to ensure everyone know where to queue up but I have also seen the same discipline of queuing up when they are waiting for the elevator. Something that is grossly missing back here in Malaysia. Here, even before the people come out from the lift, those who were waiting for the elevator would simply rush in. They won’t even queue up but instead crowd around the entrance. Same un-civic attitude can be seen when one waits for the bus. The crowd would rush in and would be pushing and pulling to get onto the bus. Not a big surprise considering how they jump queue on the road. Nope, not here. Everyone waits and everyone gives way.

And Malaysia should introduce double deck buses – it’s way too cool than the single deck Intrakota buses we have in Malaysia (it is even worse with the old crappy, dirty Metro bus). It takes more passengers too. I have experienced taking the double decker bus when I was in Singapore but it was not a good experience, mainly because it is usually full by the time it reaches our bus stop. The top deck is only allowed for sitting passengers and the driver that I saw in Hong Kong made sure of it (he monitors via a CCTV).

And they always say that public transport is a money losing business and that it is why it is run by the Government. But back in Hong Kong, it seems to be a different story:-

Is this problem intractable? Not exactly. Take Hong Kong for example: The Mass Transit Railway (MTR) Corporation, which manages the subway and bus systems on Hong Kong Island and, since 2006, in the northern part of Kowloon, is considered the gold standard for transit management worldwide.

In 2012, the MTR produced revenue of 36 billion Hong Kong Dollars (about U.S $5 billion)—turning a profit of $2 billion in the process. Most impressively, the farebox recovery ratio (the percentage of operational costs covered by fares) for the system was 185 percent, the world’s highest. Worldwide, these numbers are practically unheard of—the next highest urban ratio, Singapore, is a mere 125 percent.

(Source)

Which is true if you consider on how the transportation system is integrated in Hong Kong – there have a number of major terminals where the MTR, bus and taxi have their main stations in one place. This is something we need to consider very seriously here in Malaysia.

As I had said, we rarely took the MTR – there is none near to our apartment and the one we took was when we were going to the Times Square for shopping. So, when it was time to fly back, I decided to take the taxi to the Hong Kong station (where the Airport Express train departs). It was a short ride and the driver dropped me off at the entrance. The Hong Kong station is located quite close to the Central MTR station and allows passengers (for certain airlines) to check-in (similar to facilities in KL Sentral). I already checked in online and since I only had a small luggage bag to bring along, I proceeded to the escalators to the platform. The Airport Express is a dedicated train from the city to the airport very much the same as our KLIA Express and it is indeed fast, clean and comfortable. It costs HKD100 for one way trip from the Hong Kong station to the airport.

Out from the MTR station, it was just a short walk to the check in and baggage drop counters. It was a nice thing although I experienced the same queues and stone faced officials at the immigration counters. Sometimes certain things never changes.

Robin Williams: 1951 – 2014


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(That funny man from Mork & Mindy will always be remembered. His role in Good Will Hunting however was a total depart from his usual fare and one class up. Image source: http://toptenfilmz.com)

I had never expected this

Oscar-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams has been found dead at his home in California from suspected suicide, police said Monday.

A statement from the Marin County Sheriff’s Department said the 63-year-old funnyman was found shortly before midday at his home in Tiburon, northern California.

“At this time, the Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia,” the statement said.

The veteran actor’s publicist said the Good Will Hunting star he had been battling depression prior to his death.

(Source)

Coming back to Robin Williams, the why would why but then again, depression does make strong willed man to do crazy things. I should know, a situation that we were in once and still keeping an eye on this. However being one of the funniest man around, little we were aware that he has been battling depression. It is a silent killer.

Talking about Robin Williams, I will forever loved his roles in the Mork & Mindy (of course!) and other movies like Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Mrs. Doubtfire and Jumanji.

I loved his role in Good Will Hunting the most. He should have done more serious roles like this. Should have. He will be missed.

Aaaacccchooo!


Trip

(A shot from my latest trip overseas – it was not so late and we just had a good dinner and we were on a tram, going back to our apartment. It has been an interesting trip and probably with the best first impression thus far this year. More of it later once I have recovered and put the details on writing)

I don’t know why that it seems to happen every time I step out from the country. It could be the weather (yes blame it on the effect from global warming) or the food or my immune system in a very bad shape, I don’t know.

I just came back from another trip with a very stuffy nose – yes, I am breathing through my mouth now. I am going off for a few days for rest, far away from my projects and work (I will try to, anyway) and have plenty of bed rest, vitamin C and chicken soup to recover faster. I guess age is finally catching up on me and I need to slow down a bit. I need to accept that I no longer have the same endurance that I used to have 10-15 years ago and with my daughter in the picture, I need to take things slow and steady especially when I have another few trips overseas lined up until the end of this year.

Seriously 2014 has not been a good year for blogging (it has not been a good year for the aviation industry too) – I hardly be able to come up with a post at least once a week. Nowadays 2-3 weeks gap has been a norm. There is no lack of ideas or contents to write, I am pretty sure of it. But what is missing is the time to sit down and write type all these down and press the button to publish it.

There have been too many things happening in this world that in one way or another have moved us to think harder, be more compassionate to others and open our bloody mouth and act on it. The 2 MH tragedies, the slaughter that is happening in Gaza, Syria and Iraq and the various incidents that could easily trigger another World War 3.

Back home, things are not so rosy either. We have now PKR buggers battling each other for the post of MB of Selangor (what’s wrong with these people!), the water reserves drying up and this could mean another spell of water rations and Malaysia nowhere close to kicking out the religion and racial extremists from our society. These guys are having a field day with our PM still missing from the scene and remains silent. We are continuing to walk backwards whilst others have moved on past us.

And I am easily distracted too these days. Could this been the signs for me to finally stop blogging and move on? I have been blogging for more than 9 years now and the 1,590 posts I did is probably nothing to shout about but it has helped me in different ways. My writing skills have improved tremendously and I have forced to read and analyze on a lot of things for my blog posts and thus improved my grasps on many things others would have dismissed as trivial. I don’t know. Perhaps I could think better once I could breathe through my nose again.

Have a good weekend!

MH17 – The Final Goodbye


I drafted something else on MH17 and I worked on it for the past few days but in the end, after witnessing what the Dutch have done, I simply scraped it outright.

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(There is a serene peace and quietness when you see these images. Image source: Google)

These images of the Dutch giving the high respect to the bodies of the MH17 somehow shook me and left me in tears. As the hearse passes the overhead bridge, you can hear the claps from the people who have been waiting long for the hearse to pass by. Despite being thousands miles away, I too share the pain and sadness and simply remained in silence and prayed that the victims (a number of them, children) will rest in peace and the monsters who shot down the plane would be found and prosecuted.

Yes, it is a war zone and yes, mistakes may have happened but why the long delays in retrieving the bodies and the black box. Perhaps we can ponder on the another day. In the meantime, one need to salute the Dutch for what they have done, not knowing for sure the nationality of the victims that they are honoring. It did not matter – all in MH17 shared the same fate.

It was heartening when I read this:-

“This is how you honour the dead,” Dutch daily NRC headlined Thursday, contrasting the solemn return to the Netherlands of the first MH17 bodies with the traumatic chaos of the plane’s crash site in rebel-held Ukraine.

The NRC and several other papers printed front page photographs of flowers being dropped from a motorway bridge as the cortege of 40 hearses drove from Eindhoven airport.

Many contrasted the traumatic images of pro-Russian separatists handling bodies and personal belongings following the July 17 crash with the solemnity of the first plane’s arrival and welcome by Dutch armed forces.

“Soldiers wore hats instead of balaclavas,” wrote Thomas de Veen in the NRC daily after Dutch troops unloaded the 40 coffins from two planes.

“At last, a respectful homage,” headlined the AD, with 193 of the 298 people killed aboard the Malaysia Airways flight Dutch.

(Source)

There is a lesson to be learned from Dutch and I hope that the idiots at this part of the world will drop their short minded thinking and learn something about humanity

For a week, the usual bashing of the Church and the Opposition coalition was suspended, as the whole world mourned the victims of MH17. Now that the remains of the MH17 victims are in the process of being repatriated, troublemakers have resumed the fomenting of dissent and racial strife in Malaysia.

The situation in Malaysia has returned to “normal”. Scare tactics, involving race and religion, are used to distract the rakyat from important matters like rising poverty, increased crime and the economic and financial health of Malaysia. The first shot, to endanger national security was fired by the former Chief Justice (CJ) Abdul Hamid Mohamad.

At a buka puasa event last Monday, Hamid warned that Islam was under threat in DAP led Penang. He warned that the threat to Islam would spread throughout Malaysia.

The timing for Hamid’s announcement is critical. He waited until the world’s interest in MH17 had died down, so he could achieve maximum impact among the rakyat, especially the Malay Muslims.

(Source)

When we will ever grow up?

When we will ever accept that Malaysians of a different skin color, religion and culture at the end of the day are Malaysians too?

When we will ever accept the differences that we have and move on?

When we will ever grow a back bone and show the middle finger to these idiots who are bent on ruining the country out the door?

We had 2 tragedies months apart this year and we had lost 93 Malaysians and they say that when tragedy strikes the nation, everyone gets united and speak with one voice. It is a shame that despite these tragedies, we still act like we are living in a cave, with our brains firmly stuck to our backside, talking about fellow Malaysians on petty matters.

P.s. Selamat Hari Raya and have a good holidays next week

MH17: Oh My God, Not Another Tragedy!


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(What’s left of MH17 – a tragedy that should not have happened in the first place. Image source: BBC)

I did not believe when I first heard about it. It can’t be true. Someone must have made a mistake. Then the news started to trickle in. It was all gloomy and the outcome did not look well.

A Malaysia Airlines jet carrying 295 people has crashed in east Ukraine on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

There are no signs of survivors at the scene of the crash near the village of Grabovo, in rebel-held territory close to the border with Russia.

Both sides in Ukraine’s civil conflict accused each other of shooting down the plane with a missile. It is still not clear why the plane came down.

It is the second disaster suffered by Malaysia Airlines this year. Flight MH370 disappeared en route from Malaysia to China in April and still has not been found.

At a news conference at Schiphol airport, Malaysia Airlines’ European chief Huib Gorter said they were still trying to identify some of the passengers from flight MH17.

He said of the passengers that have been identified there were:

• 154 Dutch nationals, 27 Australians, 23 Malaysians, 11 Indonesians
• Six Britons, four Germans, four Belgians, three from the Philippines and one Canadian
• All 15 of the crew were Malaysian

Other airlines have announced they are now avoiding eastern Ukraine.

(Source)

The question that needs immediate answer is why and who.

Najib rightly had put the view of the nation when he said “This is a tragic day in what has already been a tragic year for Malaysia”. We have yet to overcome the loss of MH370 and certainly we do no need another tragedy involving our planes. My brother in law is certainly in a shock over the loss – he flew on the route quite often and know personally some of the crew. This has been the second time he had been very lucky by missing out on the 2 routes where MH had gone down.

It certainly has been the case of the plane being at the wrong time and place and unlike MH370, we have the wreck and to some extent, some kind of a closure. We must find the one who pulled the trigger and make them pay dearly (the case already building up on the pro-Russia rebels as being the main culprits). The lost of 295 passengers and 15 crew members is not a small of a matter to be swept under the carpet and called as collateral damage in the on-going conflict.

It’s a tragic indeed…

Just Another Day in Paradise


Firstly watch the video:-

Secondly re-read and embrace the lyrics:-

She calls out to the man on the street
“Sir, can you help me?
It’s cold and I’ve nowhere to sleep,
Is there somewhere you can tell me?”

He walks on, doesn’t look back
He pretends he can’t hear her
Starts to whistle as he crosses the street
Seems embarrassed to be there

Oh think twice, it’s another day for
You and me in paradise
Oh think twice, it’s just another day for you,
You and me in paradise

She calls out to the man on the street
He can see she’s been crying
She’s got blisters on the soles of her feet
Can’t walk but she’s trying

Oh think twice…

Oh lord, is there nothing more anybody can do
Oh lord, there must be something you can say

You can tell from the lines on her face
You can see that she’s been there
Probably been moved on from every place
‘Cos she didn’t fit in there

Oh think twice…

Thirdly, brave yourself and read this:-

Soup kitchens will no longer be allowed to operate within a 2km radius of Lot 10, which covers a large portion of the city centre, effective immediately, said Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

“This activity just encourages people to remain homeless and jobless. There have been many such people whom we have found jobs for, who returned to that life because they said it is easier,”

“We already have all kinds of garbage-related problems in the city and spend more than RM90mil a year collecting it. I do not see my actions as harsh but necessary in order to create a disciplined society,” he said.

Tengku Adnan added that the soup kitchens have not been officially notified of this and a meeting with them to discuss it will be held soon.

However, he said they would be given the next two days to comply with the decision and action will be taken against those who continue to run the activities.

(Source)

This is the problem when certain politicians gets too fat with all the luxury, wealth and power – they can think they can snap their fingers and problems goes off just like that. And they expect the people to elect them year in, year out despite the nonsense they say and do and when that fails, they threaten the same people with another racial clash.

They forget that they are living on borrowed times…