Guys, Can We Prioritise on Real Issues?


Read these first:-

hudud

(Which is more critical and urgent to the rakyat in Kelantan – tabling of a new Islamic laws that overlaps & duplicates the existing convention laws or reconstruction of homes & lives of people involved in the worst natural disaster that the country have seen? It is not an issue of religion or sedition but rather an issue of priorities. Source: The Malaysian Insider)

The real question is whether we are prioritizing the right things in this country.

As you are aware, the PAS led government had tabled the Syariah Criminal Code (II)(1993) (Amendment 2015) on last week to enable the implementation of PAS’ hudud law in Kelantan. And this was unanimously passed the next day by the State Assembly, much to the irk of its partners in the Pakatan Rakyat. The Bill is expected to be tabled to the Parliament so to ensure that the Kelantan Government will be able to enforce the hudud laws.

There are already plenty of arguments for and against it in the internet and have put a considerable crack on the alliance between DAP & PAS within Pakatan. We will see how BN comes into the picture once PAS tables the Bill in the Parliament. There are also been arguments in the internet that it will not impact the non Muslims and therefore they should not be talking about it or question it or having nothing to worry about. That is not true as well – just read on how Islamic law in this country will impact the non Muslims here

For me, it is simple – the politics and religion should never mix in the first place and so is the law of the country, especially when the country is consists of multi race, multi culture society. Otherwise it will going to be a very highly sensitive issue and wide open to personal interpretations and that is going to leave things very messy. The hudud proposed by PAS itself is now opened to many interpretations – from it being the God’s law to PAS party loose interpretation of God’s law:-

Writing in his blog OutSyed the Box, he republished an old article and said the word occurred in only 14 verses of the Quran and were used only in relation to social behaviour and domestic relationships, and not in the legal sense as used by PAS. He challenged readers, both Muslim and non-Muslim, to question the religionists and explain the difference between the “hudud” of the Quran and its usage by those such as PAS.

He dismissed the PAS usage by saying: “The Hudud Laws as propounded by PAS – that is exactly what they are, i.e. the hudud of PAS.”

(Source)

The influential G25 echoed the same and in a broader perceptive:-

Questioning the necessity of hudud in Malaysia, G25 said any law passed after Independence is declared void if it is inconsistent with the Federal Constitution, as governed by its Article 4.

Citing several Islamic scholars, the group also expressed concern that the enforcement of hudud in PAS-led Kelantan would not be in line with Quranic teachings, and problematic due to its lack of modern and relevant interpretation.

G25 claimed that no state has fulfilled the pre-conditions needed to implement hudud as espoused by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the chairman of the World Union of Muslim Scholars: establishing a pious and God-fearing society, meeting the economic needs of the public, providing employment opportunities for all, and ensuring no poverty by closing the income gap.

Citing Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies chief Prof Hashim Kamali, G25 also said Kelantan’s original 1993 hudud bill had failed to reflect Quran’s balanced outlook or contemporary Malaysian society’s social conditions and realities.

(Source)

Let’s consider the implications. Let’s ponder for a moment why there is an urgency for hudud when we already have a well entrenched and complete penal law in place? Why fix something that is not broken? There the police  to investigate and arrest the criminal and we have the good hands of the law to determine and provide the correct punishments. Yes it is not perfect, there are loopholes but then again, largely it has been working well. Now why want to introduce another set of laws that runs parallel to this and create uncertainties and injustice?

Back in 2012, Dr M mentioned this:-

“In hudud, if you steal, you can have your hand chopped off. But they want to chop off only Muslims’ hand, not the non-Muslim who steal same amount of money. Surely it’s not justice,” he told the audience during the question-and-answer session

(Source)

As I have mentioned before, the problem in this country had never been a lack of the necessary laws to curtail crime. And where there are shortcoming in the law, we always have the Parliament to make the necessary amendments to the law. So one cannot see how hudud will make things all better. Yes the punishment maybe more harsher but the same can be amended for the existing laws. Then there is an issue of enforcement as well and what if someone makes a mistake?

No doubt, the introduction of hudud into a secular country will revoke more questions. The same was the case of Eric Paulsen.

The IGP subsequently defended his action of arresting the civil rights lawyer Eric Paulsen under the Sedition Act by saying that he did it so as not to provoke a retaliation from the IS militants. He has a good and valid point there – too many people in the world do not think with an open mind when it comes to discussing on religion. They are just too emotional and are very quick to dismiss any talk on the religion – being holier than the holy. No one knows what kind reaction it will attract.

But at the same time, I am not sure if Eric Paulsen had uttered anything else that deemed to be so serious that the IGP had him arrested under the Sedition Act or it will provoke IS. He alleged to have said “Do not simply believe that everything will be okay with hudud implementation – no basis that hudud will run smoothly in Malaysia” – I don’t see the seditious part of the statement. In plain simple English, it means nothing but fact. Eric is correct – will everything will be okay with hudud implementation especially when one have to consider that we already have a rule of law in place and the courts & the police to address the enforcement? If any, it is an opinion and is not far from what others have also said in the past few days.

This country has more challenges to address than just determining which law to use. Kelantan still reeling from worst flood in recent years and yet the implementation of hudud seems to be more critical & urgent at the moment? Why the rush when there are other matters that need to be attended more urgently like getting ready the state for the next major flood? Have they put the resources, money and time to prevent the next wave of flood? How about improving the poverty index? Or monitoring and providing better healthcare, education and enforcement in HIV cases – one of the highest in the country? The point is, there are issues far important that need to be handled first.

So come on guys, let’s get our acts together and let’s focus on what is more important at the moment. The last thing we need now is to have the wrong priorities at hand and escalating the trivial problems unnecessarily and end up running the country and its people to the ground.

Here’s Your Beef Pizza


Please read these as well:-

Pizza

(BF on the pizza list does not mean chicken, I am very sure of it but the staff insisted it is chicken. It may not look like much but add the service and the tax and soon to be GST, eating out may not be a cheap thing. Having the restaurant mixing your order is just rubbing the salt on your wounds)

Dear, that looks like beef, my wife told me as the waiter placed the pizza on the table…

Ever since I came back from overseas, my kids have been asking for an eat out for a pizza and we have been busy with other things. Then yesterday, I decided to take a day off – not because I had something urgent to do but rather I have enough leave allowance left which I know will go to waste in the coming months when I off to another work assignment. I woke up late in time for my son to be back from school. We had decided to have our lunch outside and waited for my son to take his shower. It was a while since he went to take his shower so I walked to his room, thinking that he is probably busy with his homework (he usually do) but instead he was fast asleep (he was doing his homework till late last night). Deciding not to wake him up, my wife decided to cook something simple (there was some idlis leftover from the morning breakfast as well) and decided to have dinner outside instead.

Having set the plan for the evening and had nothing to do for the rest of the afternoon, I stroll to the bedroom and played game on my phone. The next thing I remembered was my daughter waking me up – she wanted to go to the pizza place. I looked at the time and it was almost 7.30 pm. I must have dozed off halfway playing game on the phone. Now we were kind of late, no thanks to me. I had planned to go before 6 pm. There was still time I told myself. Besides my son only then woke up and sleepily walked into my room and continued his sleep on my bed. I wish I could have done the same thing but by now, my wife joined my daughter in waking me up. Since I usually spend more than time than the rest in the bathroom, I am often pushed to be the first to take my shower. The rest of them will take shower after me – it was nothing but an excuse as there was 2 other bathrooms that they can use.

We decided to go to Aeon Equine Park as my son wanted to buy new books for his revisions and I know there is a small Popular book store there. It was a working day, so driving to IOI Mall or Sunway Pyramid would be a nightmare at this time. The bottleneck there is unbelievable. By the time we reached the place, there was plenty of parking lots for us to pick. So was the seats at the Pizza Hut – we decided to have our dinner first and spend the rest of the time at Popular. Aeon usually closes at about 10 pm on weekdays. So we had to about 2 hours left which was more than enough.

Now talking about eating pizza, it has never been our first choice when it comes to us eating out. If given the option, sushi would be our first choice but then having too much of “raw food” is not a good thing either. But today we are determined to have our pizzas. We walked to an almost empty Pizza Hut and picked out seats. There is another Pizza restaurant in the same place but somehow we feel that Pizza Hut pizzas had better taste. We decided to order a personal pizza first for the kids this time – we were struggling to eat the pizza in the past when we ordered the 2 regular pizzas. After all given the lack of crowd at that moment, we could always order another pizza any time. We opted for chicken “based” pizza instead of our usual seafood “based” as my son sometimes gets rashes after taking seafood. We also opted for more side dishes this time – for a change.

One thing that I noticed is that the waiter did not repeat my orders, something that was odd considering that the franchisee is an international brand. The personal pizza that was served hot disappeared in seconds as soon it was served. The kids were hungry, so was my wife and soon even the side dishes was eaten up too. It was time to add more orders – another pizza. My son took the menu and whilst still munching food in his mouth, started to pick the second pizza – another chicken “based” pizza. Once again, the waiter did not repeat my orders.

It did not take long before the waiter to bring over the plate of pizza. The meat topping on the pizza looked somehow strange – it looked darker and overcooked. I gathered that it must be the way they prepared this pizza but my wife was quicker. She immediately noticed that it was beef topping instead of chicken on the pizza. My son was about to put the pizza in his mouth but stopped immediately once my wife mentioned “beef”. I checked further and it was indeed beef topping on the pizza. To our surprise, another waiter brought us another pizza and it seemed to the correct pizza – the meat topping was definitely chicken but when he saw the pizza on the table, he got confused and so was us. Someone had definitely made a mistake.

I asked the waiter to confirm which is one is our real order (just in case we made a mistake) and there was more confusion as the waiters talked to themselves and double checked the order. To my dismay, the first waiter insisted that the beef topping pizza was INDEED chicken pizza. I looked at her and she must have read my mind and quietly walked away. Then another guy came over, apologized and took away the beef pizza. He then brought over the correct pizza but by now, the damage is done. My son had lost his appetite for pizza (I know he was still hungry) and my wife had lost interest. I ended up finishing most of the pizza myself.

We decided to leave and forget this small mishap for the time being. I waited at the counter to pay the bill and once again, I got another apology from the lady behind the counter. But a surprise was waiting us. The bill included the wrongly delivered beef pizza. There was another customer at the counter, so I waited patiently for another battle on wrong orders. I explained to the lady that the beef pizza was wrongly delivered to us and thus should not be charged to us. In fact I wanted to say that Hindus don’t eat beef but one look at the lady behind counter seems to tell that she lacks this basic knowledge.

And this is not the first time, some people had assumed that non-halal in this country only means one thing – pork to the Muslims. And forgetting that non-halal also means beef to the Hindus and the Buddhists. Another round of discussions and checking with rest of the waiters (I thought they have settled this issue earlier). Good thing for the restaurant and the staff – I was somehow kept my cool and just want to settle the issue. The manager finally showed his face and went over to the counter and re-do the bill. He returned the extra amount but rather hesitantly, as if we made the mistake and not his staff. Better than nothing although I was still at the losing end if consider the service tax and govt tax (short changed about RM1++, ha ha).

Good day out for dinner however ruined for the day but somehow the staff apologizing for the small mistakes soften the damage. Interesting change indeed.

Sarawak Report Expose on 1MDB


1mdb-01

(A 42 billion time bomb that had already exploded on everyone’s face but a lot of people in this country are not aware of the blast – no thanks to a sneaky fat guy and a clueless PM. Until today, I am lost why they put billions of taxpayers money in Cayman Island unless it is meant for some shady deal. Infographic source: http://poskod.my/cheat-sheets/10-things-know-1mdb/)

In a country where the police chief can take action based on tweets and Facebook postings, there is only eerie silence by the police, MACC, Bank Negara and the pro-Government politicians on the largest scandal expose by Sarawak Report on the 1MDB

And if you have missed the story, the crux of the expose has been this:-

Together with London’s Sunday Times newspaper, Sarawak Report has completed an in-depth investigation into the trail of the missing billions at the heart of Malaysia’s 1MDB (One Malaysia Development Berhad) financial scandal.

We have obtained access to thousands of documents and emails relating to transactions by 1MDB, including its initial joint venture with the little known oil company PetroSaudi International from 2009.

What the documents establish is that, in spite of copious official denials, the entire joint venture project was conceived, managed and driven through by the Prime Minister’s associate and family friend the party-loving billionaire tycoon, Jho Low.

The documents also prove that the USD$700 million so-called “loan” that was supposedly repaid to PetroSaudi as part of the joint venture agreement, was in fact directed into the Swiss bank account of a company called Good Star, which is controlled by Jho Low.

That money was then partly used to buy out Taib Mahmud’s UBG bank in Sarawak at a very advantageous price for the chief minister and his family, who had been failing to get a deal on the open market.

PetroSaudi had agreed to act as “a front” for Jho Low on such deals, according to the documents, and it was a subsidiary of PetroSaudi International registered in the Seychelles, which bought UBG, using money siphoned from 1MDB.

(Source)

USD700 million of taxpayers went to someone’s personal pockets and 1MDB continues to bleed. And it did not stop there. Then almost on the same day, The Edge had this story on 1MDB:-

From 2009 to 2014, 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) initial US$1 billion was shuffled and swapped around, in an apparent bid to avoid scrutiny by its string of external auditors, The Edge Malaysia reported.

In its March 2-8 issue, the business weekly provides a timeline of how the government-owned strategic investment fund disguised the money trail of its initial US$1 billion for five years, raising the question of whether 1MDB is as profitable as it claims to be, or is merely rich on paper

By August 1, the money in the Caymans had grown to US$2.33 billion, and in November and December, 1MDB announced it had redeemed the entire amount.

However, instead of repatriating the money home, 1MDB president Arul Kanda Kandasamy said the December redemption of US$1.11 billion would be kept offshore as a currency hedge, while the first redemption would be “substantially utilised” for a separate settlement agreement on a different project.

“What can be surmised from the events of the last five years is that 1MDB kept entering into deftly structured transactions timed to avoid vigorous scrutiny by its external auditors about the money,” The Edge said.

(Source)

Whether it was a case of sheer recklessness or blatant corruption and fraud or simply a case of bad business decision, one thing that is clear – the allegations and evidence that has been presented by Sarawak Report cannot be taken lightly. There is overwhelming notion of fraud, corruption and mismanagement of public funds written all over it.

And already search for scapegoats have started:-

It appears that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has begun the process of trying to wash PM Najib’s hands clean of what may turn out to be the biggest political and financial scandal in recent Malaysian history, according to analyst Shahbudin Husin.

Tied to that process may be a search for a scapegoat, he writes in a blog entry that indicates his belief that the 1MDB controversy is close to reaching a climax.

(Source)

Given the kind of damage that has made by Sarawak Report’s expose, it is apparent that Najib and his Government cannot remain silent. The more they remained silent, the more crystallize the allegations will be. And finally, probably given the pressure within his Government and outside, the PM has now directed the Auditor-General to vet the 1MDB’s accounts. He even goes on to say something interesting (and probably a concept that is rather alien in this country) – “If any wrongdoing is proven, the law will be enforced without exception”.

Let’s talk on Auditor-General’s reporting in the past. How effective it has been to 1. curtail and avoid similar incidents of wastage & abuse in future and 2. in booking the culprits of wastage and abuses? Since the PM is asking the AG to check 1MDB’s account, we also want to know if the Government would be serious in taking actions if there are some findings by the AG?

Back in 2014, Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam wrote this:-

Unfortunately these management weaknesses and the consequent wastage of public funds continue to stubbornly persist. This is happening despite the Auditor General’s previous exhortations, to improve our standards of good governance.

In this first installment of the Report for 2013, it appears that 283 spending related issues were raised as for the first 4 months, which is well over the 256 spending issues raised by the AG, for the whole of 2012!

This trend is alarming and must be dealt with very seriously!

The Auditor General has to his credit now made 109 new recommendations for improvement in financial management. But the rakyat will ask what will be done with them? Will these recommendations be ignored and will mismanagement and financial wastage continue regardless?

Hence should not the PAC recommend tougher action and even name and shame these recalcitrant Ministries which are responsible for the loss of hard earned public funds?

(Source)

Transparency International Malaysia in 2013 said “It will also make a mockery of the Government, when the Auditor-General’s reports are not being taken seriously after it has identified the shortcomings within the administration” (Source)

And Tony Pua from Pakatan echoes the same:-

“While welcoming the investigation on 1MDB’s financials, Pua said the report should also include, but not be limited to the following:

• Auditing and identifying the redemption trail of the investments in Cayman Islands and the whereabout of its proceeds;

• Auditing and identifying the exact investment holding, true value and whereabouts of RM13.39 billion of “Level 3 Assets” identified in the March 2014 Financial Report;

• Confirming if 1MDB had attempted to borrow RM2 billion from local tycoon Ananda Krishnan to repay its debt and determine 1MDB’s cashflow shortage to meet its RM42 billion debt obligations as well as contract commitments which is likely to require a government bailout;

• Confirming if all historical emails in the 1MDB mail server were “wiped out” in December last year, as claimed by the Sarawak Report.

Pua said the Auditor-General should also conduct a forensic audit of 1MDB with the assistance of professional forensic auditors “to uncover any financial shenanigans in the company particularly in the light of (the) expose by the Sarawak Report and the mind-boggling PetroSaudi transactions from 2009 to 2012” and explained the same had been done in the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal in 2009.

(Source)

And thanks to the good people in Sarawak report, things have started to pick up pace despite it is not a new issue and the troubled 1MDB & the dubious way of handling the matter by people linked with 1MDB has been in the mainstream news for some time now.

And with the expose, the calls for accountability and transparency have not been louder, clearer and more direct to Najib:-

He notes that there have been reports that 1MDB will be wound up. “Oh, my God! For six years we’ve been told that everything was safe and fine. And now, suddenly, there’ll be a winding up?”

But Ariff says he figures it’ll take months before the Auditor-General can complete his task because of the mountains of documents involved. “What’s worse, much computer data have been destroyed.”

He notes that another Umno leader has alleged that there’s a political conspiracy behind the attacks on 1MDB and he discloses that the allegation came even as he was writing his article.

“If it were true that there’s a political agenda, it would be justifiable because the objective would be to expose a government that has made it possible for abuse and corruption to happen, in fact given a licence for them to happen.”

“In all these six years, it’s not public funds that the government has been protecting, but thieves and robbers.”

(Source)

Now there are talks of dismantling 1MDB and dissolve it thereafter. It may depends on the outcome of the AG report. The question is whether we will be calling the fat guy in for questioning and squeeze the truth from him on the shady USD700 million transfer? And since the PM is also the Finance Minister and this owns 1MDB, accountability and thereafter his resignation if wrongdoings are proven? Sarawak Report claims that all historical emails have been wiped out – so what is left to investigate if more evidence have been tampered with?

We do not want another PKFZ fiasco where the biggest losers at the end of the day is the taxpayers.

Off to a Funeral


mas

(No matter what, Malaysia remains where my heart and soul lies at the end of the day. And nothing kicks starts the notion than flying on the national carrier whilst having hot delicious nasi lemak for company)

Somehow it was great to fly back on MAS – for a couple of things.

One, it was good to hear safety announcements in Bahasa Malaysia again. Two, they served nasi lemak for lunch which was a sure sign that we are heading back home. And one of the first things that I did once I am back home was to catch up on my sleep. I could not help it – I even doze off whilst I was having conversations. Having a weekend and then thereafter the CNY holidays was just perfect to catch up on a break.

So I thought…

I was made “aware” of a distinct relative who was admitted to hospital in a serious condition. And last weekend, the dreadful news came. The relative had passed away. Being a distinct relative, there was always an option for me to simply opt out from going for the funeral. Further, the funeral was taking place in Johore – a place that was considered “quite far away” to drive (although it was almost the same distance and time to drive up North). The one that nails the urge for not going is that the funeral was taking place on a Sunday (I was working on Monday)

But there was 3 reasons that was prompted me to attend this funeral. First, despite it being a funeral of a distinct relative but he was somehow linked with other relatives who are closer to me. And there will be questions raised in the next family gathering. I had some obligations to them. Second, my father in law who is staying up in Taiping is taking the bus (yes the bus – we did not know, otherwise we would have picked him up half way) all the way to Johore for the same funeral. If he can take the bus and travel for 8-9 hours, then what’s stopping us with cars half way through from attending the same funeral, right? And third, the deceased had the same (well, almost) age as me (and brother in laws). Somehow, that made me to decided to go for the funeral.

It was time for planning for the one day trip to South and it was similar to the trip to the East Coast but with a small difference. We going to use my car as I am going to do most of the driving. It was a good opportunity to test the new tires. And to ensure it is going to be a fast drive down South and back, we decided to leave the ladies & kids at home (we already anticipating massive traffic jam on the way back, so it is best to leave the ladies and the children at home). In the car, would be me and 2 of my brother in laws (one is the substitute driver and another is our navigator – he had been to the house once)

The plan was finalised on Saturday evening (it took some time on the phone with various parties to finalise who was going and who was staying). My brother in law would pick up his wife and his daughter and another of the brother in law in the morning and meet me at my house. He would leave his car and drop his wife & daughter at my house (my wife and my kids will be around to keep them company).

map

(The trip down South – frankly the time and distance was similar to the trip up North but somehow it was less tiring. Perhaps it was because it has been almost 15 years since I made the trip to South)

We suppose to leave from my house (since it is nearer to the South compared to our 2 houses) at 5 am. I woke up at 4 am and by 4.45 am was all ready for the trip. I had even double checked the car and parked it outside the porch so that my brother in law can park his car easily. I also set the GPS coordinates and locked in the destination. At 5 am, he was no where to be seen. He finally showed up at almost 5.30 am – it was still good as my deadline remained 6 am (assuming we have a 4 hours to drive). The three guys finally left at about 5.45 am.

The journey to Johore was rather a pleasant one and surprisingly is not tiring compared to the trip up North. I hardly fell asleep along the way despite waking up earlier than usual. My new tires, Michelin XM2 was holding well and was quiet all the way. I had checked the route before hand (thanks, Google Map) and had decided to only use the GPS once we had reached the exit of the highway. No speeding on the highway and I maintain to the left lanes whenever possible. We made 1 pit stop at Pagoh for breakfast (a sorry looking nasi lemak with un-reasonable price was waiting for us). Quick breakfast and we were back on the highway and there was still more than 100 km to go before we reach the deceased’s house. Traffic was still sparse and it remained a smooth drive. It took us less than 4 hours including pit stop.

Using GPS is a must when venturing into an unfamiliar place and it was the case here too when we reached the house without getting lost. An uncle of mine who was not using GPS, got lost 4 times in the same area before finally finding the house. Fearing that there will be a big crowd later, we parked the car on the main road, some distance from the house but where I can still see the car from the house. We noticed a large tent outside the house which affirmed that we are at the right place. No familiar faces at the tent in front of the house, so we walked into the house. The coffin was in the middle of the house, surrounded by grieving family members. We said our condolences and prayers and headed back to the tent outside the house. The smell of chemicals inside the house was overwhelming and I started to feel dizzy.

Sitting under the tent outside the house with my brother in law (my father in law joined us soon after – he was tired after an almost 9 hours of traveling by bus) and with a fresh breeze, my head started to get clearer. Not many people have arrived despite the scheduled time for the deceased body was suppose to be taken to the crematorium. It suppose to be at 10 am but soon 10.30 am and 11 am had passed and soon it was showing 11.30 am. I looked at my brother in law and he looked at me – we suppose to leave at 11.30 am if we are going to make it home early. My brother in law went and talked to one of the relatives on the “status” – apparently there were some delay and we have to wait at least another 2 hours for the final ceremony (it actually took longer than that). I don’t blame them – no one prepares for a funeral upfront.

Wait for another 2 hours?

Well, that was our cue to take a “walk” to our car and head back home. Since there was a funeral, there were no “good-byes” and “see you later”. We quietly walked to my car – good thing it was parked far away and near to the house, otherwise our “early” departure would have been very noticeable.

traffic

(When things slows down on the highway, just make sure the car has enough petrol and the bladder empty. It was good that the traffic was moving despite the heavy traffic)

We had to head back to the highway, so GPS came in handy again. But before we do that, a short pit stop for fuel and use of bathroom was necessary. As I drove out, I misjudged a junction and took the wrong road. Thankfully the GPS was quick to recompute the route and in fact came out with a route with less traffic (so we could “fly” towards the highway). Soon, we found the toll plaza but it was not the NS toll booth (we mistakenly thought it was the NS toll). It was actually the 2nd Link Expressway. There was no lane for cash but instead all need Touch N Go for access. The problem was I left my TNG card at home and my brother in law did not have one either. Cars started to pill up behind us and when I thought we had a big problem at hand, I remember I had the Tesco loyalty card in my wallet and that came with TNG feature. It even had enough credit for the toll. We were saved!!

It was not long before we reached the actual NS highway and initially the traffic flow was good. We managed to clock 110 km/h most of the route. But once reached Negri Sembilan, the traffic started to crawl. R&R was packed full with cars as well. We made our pit stop at Ayer Keroh for fuel and a very late lunch. We could not find a parking spot but at further up front, we managed to find a spot and had an excellent nasi lemak with a good portion of chicken. There was long queue at the petrol station as well. Then it was back to the crawl on the highway. We finally reached home almost at 8 pm and despite being stuck with traffic jam most of the way (no thanks to road works and a couple of broke down express buses).

Despite I drove to and fro such a distance, all in one day, surprisingly I was not feeling that tired or sleepy. And after the late evening shower, I was still feeling fresh to drive to restaurant near the house for dinner.

When On A Mission…


At the airport

(My favorite shot – taken when I am at departure gate, coming back home. It is also means mission completed successfully and I have 1 less thing to worry once I am back)

Hold on for a second whilst I l take a moment to dust off the dust from this blog.

Damn, is that been that long since we last met? My sincere apology to all those who drop by this blog to hear my usual rants. When one is in a mission, time is premium. We will only have “x” amount of hours in a day and there are times when I had gone to the bed without shower or changing clothes. To put it summarily, I love blogging very much but I love sleeping off my tiredness after a hard day at work even more. For now, I have no choice but to leave this blog to continue to collect dust but it does not mean it will be the end of my blogging – I assure you. At least for the next few months.

But before that…

I am still away on work assignment and sometimes it feels like I am in a war zone with me leading a small platoon of highly specialised soldiers on a mission deep in the enemy’s territory, eating our rations on the move and sleeping out on the dirt with our fingers firmly on the trigger of our automatic assault rifles. Ya, I can almost taste it in the air. And it was reality when I was in the middle east a few years with my morning pick up consisted of a four wheel drive and a solider with a fully loaded AK 47 for security. And homecoming after such “mission” is simply sweet – no moment is more memorable than seeing my kids and hugging them and then going off to sleep on my own bed.

And since I have not been at home so much this year (and last few months last year), I try to spent as much time as possible at home. The feeling to date has been very much rewarding. A trip to the beach is on my “must do” list and I know just the place to go – one with a view facing the sea and a good spicy nasi lemak in the morning for breakfast.

Oh did I mentioned that when I was about to go back to Malaysia the last time around, my car had problem – it refused to start bringing the bad memories when the car immobiliser had problems and I had to fork out almost RM900 for the repairs. This time it was less painful – the battery was dead and I only had to change the batteries. It was overdue anyway. Tires would be the next in the list – since I bought the car, I am still using the same tires although it has numerous hole patch works and it is getting noisier too. The superb Michelins again? You see, other than seeing my kids, the other thing that gives me the satisfaction is driving my car around. The last thing I need to have problems with the car, if you get my drift.

One new country ventured last year and I may be venturing into 2 new countries this year with an even more challenging assignments. If given the choice, I wish (should be able to) to keep the same “platoon” for the next mission. It has been a winning team for the past few missions. I thank them for being a very proactive team and one takes their work very serious and yet still have time to make good jokes at wee hours.

More missions abroad this year only means more sleepless nights and plenty of junk food and coffee. So I do expect my body and mind to take a considerable beating this year and since I am not getting any younger, I just hope that there will be some room for recovery from the madness. Perhaps it is high time for me to finally agree to my wife’s request to take her to spa with me joining her (damn, I could use a good massage to my knees and to my right feet).

On the country front, the petrol prices have been down but I have not been around long for me to enjoy them. And with GST set to start soon, I doubt things will get cheaper to buy and use – no thanks to the short sighted and dumb politicians at the control.

And speaking of politicians, if you had read the news, Anwar have been found guilty by the Federal Court today and will be spending 5 years behind bars. If you ask me, it is not necessarily be a bad thing for Pakatan. It is not the end of the story. To some who support the opposition, Anwar has been nothing more than a liability – his Kajang Move (one of the dumbest move to date) some how validated that point.

With Anwar out of the way, perhaps there will be greater improvement within PKR and thus Pakatan. It will be interesting to see how things forms up in the next general elections. At the end of the day, we just need a Government that dislikes corruption and wastage of taxpayers and do not practise double standards.

If it is related to the politicians and the ways they take the country and its people for a ride, we can talk about it all day long and one can still have plenty to talk about and this can go on and on. So let’s keep our cool and teach them a lesson they will never forget in the next general elections. The opposition have been at it in the last 2 general elections and they have been eating up the votes from the Government bit by bit.

Anyway coming back to blogging, I wish I could do better and whenever I started to type previously, funny thing happens – I dozed off and filled up the pages with invalid words. So, please bear with me for the time being. I have also been taking less photos when overseas – the Sony Xperia has a good camera but most of the time, I forget that it has one. In the meantime, please be free to roam around my previous posts. I will do up new ones when I am off the mission.

Will see you soon….

Starting The Year 2015


Wow, one can only plan but the outcome is determined by the Al-Mighty

I thought I would have time to blog when we “walked” into 2015 but unfortunately that has not been the case. I am back on overseas assignment and things have picked up. Time is shorter, expectations are higher and working hours had been getting longer. It is cold these days and it gets worse at night. We usually finish our job (or rather I should say we take a break from our job) well after midnight for past one week. So imagine how cold it gets when we are waiting for our taxis (bus service have ended by then). Sometimes we are lucky, the taxi is waiting at the taxi stand. Other times like yesterday (rather this morning), we had walked a bit far in the cold and managed to grab one.

2015 will be a challenging year for me, personally because of the expected 1-2 trips to overseas for projects (one would be to a new country). Which also means I am going to miss my kids even more. But what one can do when work calls and one does not have any other choice, right? Besides I love my job too – challenging, always testing your patience and forces me to come up with creative ideas and keep up with out of the box thinking.

As for this blog, well, I won’t say that blog posts would be more regular – just see how far apart this first blog of 2015 has been. Perhaps I would do shorter blog posts akin to “tweets”.

I don’t foresee the situation of the country will improve in 2015 – we still have dumb politicians hanging on to powers and 1MBD still waiting to blow up on taxpayers’ face (they have changed the CEO but I don’t think the young guy is going to change anything). If holiday going PM is sent off on his permanent holiday and a major sweep of the housekeeping is done on old, stone-age thinking politicians and the religious & racial radicals in this country, then perhaps the country has a chance.

In the meantime, please enjoy this from Man Bai (the song that I listen on daily basis now as it gets colder on the outside)

I will catch up with you soon and have a good weekend ahead

P.s. belated Happy New Year

Ending The Year 2014


najib golf

(Not everyone can be the PM – very, very hard at “work” overseas. Some had said that there is nothing wrong for a leader to take a break. Well, that is correct but not when the country is seeing one of the worst floods around. The big mamma still on holiday, its so seems – no one had seen her wading through the high water in downtown Kota Bahru. Image source)

Before I go further, my deepest condolences to the family and friends on those were abroad the Air Asia Flight QZ8501 – the 3rd tragedy in the year that involves a Malaysian linked airline. I don’t know why Malaysians had to face this – not once or twice but three times in the same year. MH370 is still missing and MH17 just had to be at the wrong place, wrong time and QZ8501 must have met mother of all storms. One just hope that there will be some kind of closure in 2015.

Heartfelt prayers also goes to the flood victims in the East Coast (and also in the West Coast now) that saw one of the worst flooding since 1971. Prepping is no longer a joke – with such flooding is due to be a yearly affair, we need to look at prepping in a wider scope. Management of the rivers and coastal areas would be critical aspect of prepping from the Government. Citizens on the other hand should look into making their homes to be flood-proof or have an alternative place to stay and of course with proper stockpile of food and water. Stories piling up on instances of people running out of food and water and the situation looks hopelessly lost. Nonetheless it is a grave reminder of things to come. The more we put off prepping for such instances in the coming years, the more painful it is going to be. It is a reminder to me too as I have been focusing less on prepping in 2014.

My own 3 weeks break came and went without a blink and I will be soon be traveling again on work assignment. My flight back to Malaysia was scheduled to take off at about 8 plus in the morning and knowing that I need to be in the airport at least 2 hours before boarding and it is about 1 hour plus from the apartment to the airport, I booked a taxi to fetch me from the apartment at about 4 in the morning (that taxi driver came and waited for me since 3.30 am!). With the taxi booked and all luggage packed for the trip back home by 9 pm, I contemplated of taking a short nap. The night was still early and I was sure that I could woke up at 3 am. Just when I was to jump on the bed, I had a dreadful vision – the alarm ringing but I casually switching it off and going to bed, only to wake up at 10 am in the morning. I did not want to miss my flight, so I made a big pot of coffee and watched movie on TV. Good thing I was not feeling that sleepy and hours went off fast. A good shower in the wee morning ensure I was awake as I took the luggage down to the awaiting taxi.

I must have dozed off in the taxi – there was a bump and when I opened my eyes, we were just arriving at the airport. Another long wait for the airport for the check-in and breakfast but at least I was at the airport.

wolf

(Although I was disappointed on missing some of the titles that I saw in the previous year, this should be enough to last me until the next Big Bad Wolf Book sale)

When I came back home, instead of the usual nap I often take whenever I come back from overseas, I had to go off and do some work for the house (haircut however came first before anything else). My kids were excited to see me back, so they hardly allowed me to catch up on my sleep. Then at night, we went to the Big Bad Wolf Book Sales and I spent almost RM300 on books (this time around, my choice of books was less compared to the stack that my son had). It was however worth the trip – RM300 bought us almost 3 boxes of new books.

We came back late and decided against driving off to north in the morning (you see, I had promised my son to take him to the water park in Ipoh for the holidays). We decided to go after lunch which was not so bad as the traffic by then was fine and we did not have to slow down in many areas. The only “funny” thing that happened was my car door automatically unlocks itself and locks again when I press the brakes. By the time, we reached the in-laws house to stay for the holidays, it was already evening and my relatives were coming back from work. We stayed up late again, chit-chatting and watching movie. I was already feeling like zombie when I finally went to the bed (I was given a room of my own) but had a very disruptive sleep because I had to wake up a few times at night going to the bathroom (had too much to drink).

In the morning, the weather was great but I had something to do first – go and fix my car central locking. Still remember when it unlocks and locks itself when I was driving? It became worse – I found the car unlock when I went to check on it in the morning. That means if I lock up the car, a few minutes later, it will unlock itself and that is all that was needed for a car jacker to have an easy access to my car. I called the service centre and good thing was they had few cars on service schedule in the morning. The mechanic “managed” to fix it within 30 minutes – loose wiring they said. Happily I took the car out and barely 100 meters from the service centre, the problem started again. I drove back and this time, the mechanic followed me in the car. It was apparent then, that he had not fixed the problem. He took it back to check and this time, it took him almost 2 hours (including replacing the whole central locking mechanism) to get it right. Almost half day had gone by then. I went back and seeing that it was too late to go to water park, I decided on something that I have been holding back for past few days – catching up on my sleep.

rain

(I think this is Kuala Kangsar after our lunch in Chemor – we made a pit stop here because there is a famous bakery here where we wanted to buy bread. Situation was not ideal to bring the kids out for the fun day at the water park)

The next day, when we suppose to go to the water park, it started to rain cats and dogs. The situation looked gloomy. Even my son did not want to go out as the weather was very bad. My father in law however decided that we go for a lunch at one place he knows in Chemor (very near to the water park that we wanted to go). It was raining when we left the house, it was raining when we were on the highway and it was getting even worse when we drove into Chemor town. After parking the car at the back of the a small restaurant (it looked quite old as well) and struggling with the umbrella in the heavy downpour, we managed to get the 2 car load of people in front of the restaurant. We walked in and the atmosphere immediately changed. Inside was very modern and roomier. Lunch was extraordinary with my son ordering spicy crab curry and a good load of crabs to go with it. It was still raining when we left the restaurant and decided to take the old road instead of the highway and drive through the places where my grandmother used to live.

The so-called break from work at my in-laws place ended up with a bang (literally). We head back home on a working day, hoping that the highway would be free (and it was indeed) and the ride would be more pleasant. Nearing KL, things started to slow as we caught with the on-going road works with 2 of the 3 lanes closed. The traffic started to move slower and at some places, it was almost bumper to bumper. It was just after lunch time too and things was getting were warm in the car (despite the air-cond high). That coupled with the crawling traffic started to show its ugly side – I was falling asleep.

Often there was enough space in between for me to recover and stop the car but this time, there was none. Just when I thought of stopping at the next R&R, I must have dozed off as the next thing I realised is that I have bumped into the car in front. For moment, I was blur on what had happened. The driver came out and started looking at his bumper. Fearing the worst, I came out from the car, expecting to confront an angry driver but instead the man looked at me and said that there was no damaged and extended his hands. I shook his hand, said sorry and went back to my car. Rest assured, I stayed wide awake the rest of the journey but I still stopped at the next R&R for a break (and also to check if there is any other hidden damage). Imagine if I had dozed off when the traffic was fast (and me traveling at 110 km/h) and rear-ended a truck instead. I must have done some good karma to walk away from this with nothing more than a word of “sorry” and an handshake.

2014 had not been a very good year but it has not been a very bad one too. I had good times catching up with my primary school mates – some not met for almost 30 plus years recently. Blogging had taken a very back seat this year with me hardly having the time (but not ideas – thanks to travels and good old Malaysian politicians) to blog. I traveled to a new country this year, met good friends there, enjoyed the food & culture and hope to go to another in 2015. Work compounded this year compared in 2013 but that was expected – when one moves up in the organization structure, there will be more responsibilities, tasks and plans.

Happy New Year everyone and I will see you next year!