Confirmed, No KitKat for SP


Read these first:-

Sigh, it was not a big surprise though…

Seeing how other (newer & higher model) Sony models are getting their firmware updates to Android KitKat but not the Xperia SP, I had long suspected that Sony in the end will not deploy Kitkat to SP model. And today my suspicion has been confirmed:-

Sony Mobile has this morning confirmed that the Xperia SP will not be upgraded to Android KitKat

(Source)

Not that I am desperate for an upgrade to Kitkat as the Jelly Bean v4.3 works just perfectly and handles my usual use of the phone without any problems. But if I decide to move on to Kitkat in the near future, all is not lost as I still would have an avenue to update Xperia SP to Kitkat via CyanogenMod (details here)

But not at the moment…

MH17 – The Final Goodbye 3


More Malaysians have been brought back home…

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The remains of two more Malaysian victims who were on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 – Shell employee Tambi Jiee, 49, and one-year-old Benjamin Lee Jian Han – have been brought home.

Benjamin’s remains were taken to the Xiao En Bereavement Care Centre in Cheras. He was with his mother – Universiti Malaysia Sabah lecturer Ng Shi Ing, 33 – and aunt Elisabeth Ng Lye Ti, 30, on the aircraft when it crashed in Ukraine on July 17, killing 283 passengers and 15 crew members.

(Source & Photo Credit)

I do not know Benjamin personally and I am very sure that he is one adorable kid who made everyone laugh with joy. I am sure his parents had high hopes on him and of many things that he will do and achieve in his lifetime. Being a father myself, seeing his small coffin somehow left me in tears and I silently prayed that the young Benjamin did not suffer when his life was taken way from him so tragically at this very tender age.

It breaks my heart to know there were innocent young children who had nothing to do with the conflict on the ground be made to pay the ultimate price, just because some monsters had itchy hands on a trigger. We may never bring these monsters to face justice and bring this tragedy to a proper closure but never again we should bear witness to another tragedy like this.

May you rest in peace, young Benjamin…

MAS: Logic Defying Economics


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(Will it work or it is going to be RM6 billion down the drain again? This is going to be the last chance for MAS and the people who are managing it. We do not want to see another bailout in 2018! Image source: TheStar)

It is going to leave the economists around the world speechless. It may even cause the rules of economics to be re-written all over again and the geniuses that came up with this brilliant plan will be worshipped as the God of Economy for many years to come.

If you do not know what I am talking about, well, read this first:-

Khazanah Nasional Bhd has unveiled a 12-point plan to enable Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to achieve sustained profitability within three years of de-listing, by the end of 2017.

Its managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said the plan involved a comprehensive overhaul of the airline.

“At its core, the plan involves the creation of a new company, (NewCo) which will house the ‘new MAS’ and the migration of the right-sized workforce and work practices and contracts into NewCo,” he told reporters at a special briefing at Khazanah headquarters on Friday.

(Source)

When I talked about re-writing the books on economy, blah, blah, I was not talking about Khazanah’s plans to restructure MAS. They seems to be doing things by the books and whether it will work or not, we will know in the next 3 years. One just hopes that they had identified all the correct shortcomings and have addressed them comprehensively in their plan. In an interview with the first CEO of MAS, it is obvious that there have been some serious bad decisions made in the past and all these must be addressed too:-

Generally, MAS poor performance is due to its wrong business plan and the loss of flight MH370 demoralized the staff and MAS has to handle this. How to do it? MAS must change its business plan. What’s wrong with the plan? The thing that is wrong with the plan is the choice of its routes which it has been plying for the past 15 years.

Those routes are now overcrowded with all the low cost carriers. The market now wants to fly domestic and regional and 80 per cent of air travellers want to fly budget. Only the rich and the businessmen fly full service. So MAS has to do something to capture that 80 per cent market. It has to reshuffle and realign its aircraft fleet. Utilizing Firefly as the main carrier for domestic and regional. The rest, let MAS handle.

And take a second look on the use of the A380. Does MAS really need six of the super-huge aircraft. No need to file for bankruptcy. Don’t be ridiculous.

Maybe in some departments there are a surplus of workers but we have to look at it in totality. We can’t lay off 5,000 workers out of the 20,000 employees which MAS has. It does not have to lay a single worker if it is restructured properly. But we have to take a look at the salaries of some of the management team of which I was told touch more than RM100,000 a month.

Why must they be paid such a huge amount at a time when MAS is in the red and why do you axe workers with low salaries? I question how the board of directors can approve such a huge salary. How did it come to this?

I question why MAS use the A380 which is hardly utilised but cost millions to operate.

Why do we need the six air-crafts? That is one out of a thousand and one issues plaguing MAS. MAS also wants to sell the MRO and the person who proposed it does not know anything about the aviation industry. Engineering plays a huge part in the MAS makeup and plays a vital role in safety, efficiency, integrity and operations.

MAS has to fully control that business and if properly managed can become an income earner. During my time, MAS maintains and services aircrafts from the US, Australia and Canada. MAS made money out of this division. So why do you want to hive off this division to another company and then buy back the service from the very same firm? MAS will bleed even more just like the catering business. Although MAS has a 30 percent stake, it has to pay a high price for the food. MAS can sell a small stake but make sure it still controls MRO. Don’t sell the entire stake.

(Source)

Anyway, we’ll see this one closely. Very closely indeed. However, the one that is going to rewrite the books of economics is going to be this:-

Khazanah Nasional Bhd not only intends to recover every sen of the RM6bil investment into Malaysia Airlines (MAS), but wants to make money on the venture, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister, dismissing perception that the money pumped into the airline was a bailout, said Khazanah would be injecting the money to make MAS a viable organisation.

“This is not a bailout but an investment. Khazanah intends to recover every single sen of the RM6bil and more,” he said after chairing the monthly Umno supreme council meeting Friday.

(Source)

And this:-

Umno mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia has given the thumbs up to the comprehensive revamp plan to revive loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS), saying that the move to turn the national carrier around will not affect its services.

Awang Selamat, the collective voice of the paper’s editors, said he was confident the national icon would be back in the black in three years, based on stringent regulatory controls over the 12-point plan unveiled by state sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad yesterday.

“The emphasis on these aspects will have a significant impact on the recovery effort. It also differs from previous efforts which have ended in failure.

“We are also confident such changes will bear fruit and more importantly, the services of the national carrier will not be affected,” he said in the column today.

(Source)

Yes, firstly use the word “investment” instead of “bailout” to hide the fact that IT IS a bailout. Then tell the whole world that the money spent on the bailout, opps err, investment will be recovered. And continue with the statement that the entity that was put in charge of the bailout, sorry, investment is doing it because they want to make money on the said venture. I wonder how many millions was paid to external consultants to come up with such brilliant idea to substitute a bailout with an idea of investment. Can they for once call a spade a spade? Malaysians are not that dumb, you know?

Then secondly get the editor of a newspaper (that is deep in shit themselves with RM11 million loss), to put on the hat of a learned economist and turnaround specialist to say that the proposed turnaround plan will definitely work and all that will happen in 3 years as promised. And this is despite of many failed attempts to turnaround the national carrier in the past by the same group of people. After all, if the editors are so smart and confident, why the paper is not making money themselves? After all, Khazanah themselves was reported to say this:-

Khazanah, which has injected more than 5 billion ringgit into MAS over the last 10 years, said its new fund injections would be strictly tied to the new company meeting performance targets.

“Success is by no means guaranteed,” Khazanah said.

(Source)

And even the Old Man has his doubts:-

I may be wrong but I think Khazanah’s 100% ownership of MAS will not be much different from its 70% ownership. We are going to see a lot of new people who will receive huge salaries, allowances and bonuses and not much else. That I believe is how Khazanah operates.

(Source)

Whatever bullshit that will be spinned in the next 3 years, one thing will be sure – the taxpayers need to be prepared for the worse to kiss their RM6 billion (or more in the coming years) goodbye. Unless of course, certain things happens.

The Government through Khazanah must have the will-power and political clout to make real changes that will see the RM6 billion to be spent on the turnaround plan of MAS be recovered with every cents accounted for in 3 years time. They must look beyond the color of the skin when it comes to picking the right people to run the airline (and never this piece of idiotic thinking again) and it should not be limited to Malaysians alone. Priorities must be set right and must be followed strictly.

They must not be swayed with likes of extremists like Perkasa, Pekida, Isma (do I need to say more?), dumb “keris wielding” politicians (who will make noise for the sake of making noise) or inexperienced consultants with unbelievable fat payroll (who may prolong the misery for more fat salary). Otherwise they will end up digging deeper into the taxpayers money for another turnaround plan after 2018.

And more importantly, they must always remember that national pride and the nation’s good name is at stake here and thus no matter what, this turnaround plan must work. No ifs or buts. They must remember that the RM6 billion that will spend on the turnaround plan belongs to the taxpayers (and not from their own personal pockets) and every cent must be accounted for. I hope so they will or otherwise we will talking about another turnaround plan in 2018.

Selamat Hari Merdeka!!

The Other Side of Parenting


Read these first

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(What young children really need is a strong, supportive and loving parents. Image source: http://eduart4kids.com)

Another innocent life taken away all because of sheer recklessness:-

A four-year-old boy died after being left inside his father’s car at the parking lot of SM Kuala Nerang about 45km from Alor Setar. The deceased, identified as Muhammad Aqil Arfan Adnan, 4, had begun the day accompanying his parents Adnan Salleh and Asiah Abu when they left their house at Kampung Padang Durian, Pendang, Kedah.

They left their house about 6.45am and Adnan sent his wife to the school where she taught before going to the school where he works as a religious teacher. He forgot to drop him off at kindergarten Perdana ABC at Kuala Nerang.

At 4.00pm as his father went back to his car, he found his son was unconscious. He rushed him to Kuala Nerang Hospital but the boy was pronounced dead.

(Source)

Then couple of days ago, I watched a local TV program of a single mom who was struggling to meet the ends for her small children – 4 of them.

None of the children is going to school and they all don’t have birth certificates. The eldest of the 4 instead helps his mom to sell snacks at night and they barely makes it on a daily basis. It seems to be a typical case of the poor family in this country except for one thing which made me very angry indeed. Apparently the lady have another 3 kids – all grown up but are not staying together to help the lady and their siblings. The eldest, a son is in jail for criminal activities whilst the other 2, girls had ran away from the family. The father used to be in jail but had recently been released but had decided to stay away from the family. The remaining young children future remains bleak and the lady is really helpless on what to do next.

Whilst it is tragic, the question that begs to be answered is why some people have kids but does not take the trouble, pride and responsibility in taking care of their kids? How could the father could have forgotten that his kid was inside the car. Imagine the suffering that the young child would have before he died. How could the father simply washes his hands from taking care of his kids but the idiot had plenty of time, fathering whole lot of them. There was no excuse whatsoever for these acts and in case of the parents abandoning the kids, these irresponsible parents should be made to pay dearly.

Having kids is a big, big responsibility and once 2 people have decided to have kids, nothing else comes before their kids and their welfare.

And one of the main things that parents can do in the best interest of their kids is making sure they go to school and get a decent education. The lady with the 4 young kids expressed to the reporter in the TV program that all she wanted to do to get her kids to school but without birth certificates, that is not possible for now unless the Government steps in to help the family. Then there is the issue of the family making ends meet with the single mother not having a permanent job and whatever she makes and sells on daily basis is used back for the family’s expenses and for the raw materials for the next day.

I was lucky that my parents especially my Dad held that education was far more important that saving up for a new house or car or good things in life. We all stayed on rented house for most of our life until I bought a house on my own. We often take the bus and walked a lot back then. And having chicken for our meals was a luxury that came perhaps once in a month. But somehow there was no short of money for school tuition, stationery and revision books. No matter what was the situation, my Dad always had the money for our education..

In general, most parents are doing well when it comes to having the right responsibility and care of their children and myself and my wife do have our hands full handling our 2 little bosses. As my dad have done in the past, I emphasized the same on education and even though my children fares slightly better than me when I was at their age, their ultimate goal remains the same.

And there is another aspect of being a good parents and that is to be around when the children needs us – providing that support, teaching the rights to say and do and assuring them that they can always count on us. I travel a lot so I do get to miss a lot of my children’s activities and first time occasions but when I am at home, I make it a point to spend as much as possible time with my kids. When I come back from work, one of first questions that I ask my son is “how was school?” or “how was your day” and followed by “have you finished your home work?” of course. My daughter still young but she do fight her brother to get a bigger share of my attention. She will butt in with her own report for the day. We sleep late almost every day but despite being very tired, it is a very rewarding feeling.

And I say this again, having kids is a big, big responsibility and once 2 people have decided to have kids, nothing else comes before their kids and their welfare. If you can’t do that, don’t have kids – just simple as that.

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:-

Kuala_Lumpur_LRT_Monorail_Map

(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.