Kids Safe Schools


(One post before the long holidays ahead – I wish everyone Happy Chinese New Year and Happy Holidays. Plenty of traveling as usual in the next days, backed by dedicated GPS navigation on my N8)

(What makes a school really safe? An old guard at the front, high walls and strict rules? Or something more?.Notice source: http://www.dhs.state.il.us)

They sure don’t make schools as how it used to be…

Whilst the “Indians” fight on the “Interlok” case (for reasons I still trying to understand, perhaps MIC want to be relevant again, perhaps it is due to Tenang, I don’t know), here is something that I read several days ago which is more serious than the “P” word:-

After only three weeks in school, Year One pupil S. Shanya, seven, dreads putting on her uniform and attending class — all because she does not want a repeat of the abusive treatment she allegedly received from a teacher last Wednesday.

It is understood Shanya received similar treatment twice before

Shanya was allegedly thumped on her head, hit on her chest and had her ears pulled because she was standing in the wrong line before going back to class after recess.

(Source: The Malay Mail)

We may have made schools safe from outsiders with security guards (albeit old pak guard), strict school rules (even parents have hard time walking in to see their kids) and high walls but what about within the school itself? Having a teacher losing his / her patience and shouting at their students is nothing new (we even have teachers who used derogatory words in the past but they were let off easy). But is it reasonable for losing it and taking it on a Standard 1 student?

I still recall when I was in Standard 1, it did not take long for the class teacher to punish some of the naughtier bunch of us with myself getting the long end of the wooden ruler on my palm but then again, it was nothing new. Punishment at home was even harsher than the one we were getting from our teachers. And to their credit, teachers do then tend to look at the other side when we were very mischief and hard to control. They need not take the cane and whack us up – not when they have a better method to punish us. All they need to do is to pass this piece of information to our parents who will not hesitate to hang us on the spot.

But that was almost 20 years ago.

Fast forward to the present time, things have changed a lot. As parents we are more concerned about our kids. If they are mischief, instead of taking the thick rotan as how our parents did, we choose to do one-to-one consultations. We worry lot about our kids even when they are at home, right under our close supervision. I lost count of the times when me and my wife shouted at my son, not to jump on the sofa and run up the staircase.

I know, perhaps it is unreasonable and may end up making our kid less resilient. Especially when our parents let us to climb tress way before we went to school and did not bother much when we fell and hurt ourselves (sometimes we get whacked due to this). It is part of learning to grow up, our parents used to say.

So, when the day came to send our kids to school, our worries on the safety of our kids continue to follow.

At the first day of school, some parents even got worried when they noticed their kids’ classroom is not the ground floor – they worry that their kids may get trampled by the bigger kids when they are going down or up the stairs or they may slip and fall down (even though they use the stairs at home all the time). They worry about their kids getting lost within the school compound, so they stay up all day long, keeping an eye on their kids from far. They worry their kids may buy the wrong things from the canteen so the parents wake up very early in the morning to prepare healthy, difficult to prepare packed lunch.

Coming to the above incident, no doubt teachers are just humans with the usual shortcomings but it is rather unprofessional of the teacher to be abusive of the Standard 1 students – they are just coming from the stage of nursery and into the age of normal schooling (some even come in without going through nursery and have been dependent on their parents for many things). At Standard 1, they are left to their own device – with their parents not standing next to them and the teacher not having the time to give that personal attention (with almost 30 students per class, there is very little the teachers can do when it comes to personal attention) – they too having a tough time at school.

No doubt it is high time for them to grow up and be more independent – it is part of cycle that everyone has to go through at one point of their life. The last thing they need is for some teacher to lose their cool and start whacking them for reasons the young Standard 1 student yet to comprehend. School must be a fun, safe place to be, not the other way around.

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Mana Helmet, Bodoh?


They say a picture paints a thousand words….so does photographic evidence

(Lawless in Tenang or stupidity on the highest level? The fatso in the front seems very happy – I wonder how his parents will feel when this fatso is knocked down by a car and his unprotected head cracks open on the hard surface of the road, turning him into a living vegetable for rest of his life? Image source: NST, Rosdan Wahid – 29 Jan 2011)

Young but extremely stupid – on public roads without helmets and with pillion riders. Will the police take action on these morons or will they close one eyes since the morons are “flying” the BN flags? These idiots on the motorcycle are obviously students – so where did their common sense and education went once they sat on the motorcycle?

And what about their irresponsible parents? Still remember Aminulrasyid Amzah who sneaked from the house, stole his sister’s car, did a hit and run which caused the police to give chase and at the end, died in a hail of bullets? Most pointed their fingers at the police but what about the deceased and his parents?

I really wonder how these parents can allow their children to go off in a motorcycle without any helmets. They must be either stupid (they too don’t wear helmet), careless (don’t really care what happens to their kids) or simply ignorant (the usual “it is only nearby” excuse)

Still think increase of traffic summons unfair?

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NN8 – First Impressions


Been very busy with project works but here’s a quickie before I head back to work

(After many phones over the last few years, this must be my real smartphone – Image source: http://www.photographyblog.com)

Well, it is not really an iPhone but it is cheaper and in some areas, better and certainly a quantum leap over this.

Actually I did not plan for this but something about this phone attracted me when I was at Maxis service centre to settle on my wife’s phone line issue. Nokia N8 comes with very impressive features but here are some I really like about this latest gadget of mine – a full GPS sat nav (with built-in GPS chip and free maps from Ovi Maps for lifetime), 12 MP camera with Carl Zeiss lens, HD Video with HDMI outlet and the best of all, it is wrapped in an anodised aluminium body.

I really did not have the time to explore all the features in Nokia N8 (I am pressing the wrong buttons sometimes) but hopefully after CNY, I will have time to do a proper review. In the meantime, I am enjoying Need for Speed on Nokia N8 and free GPS Navigation.  I have not really touched on the camera and video and music player – perhaps after the holidays.

First impression wise, it looks very, very tempting…

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Craziest Thing 2011 – Part 2


Read first:-

We have reached Kota Bahru way ahead of our targeted time – we reached at 11.36 am instead of the targeted 2.00 pm. We were happy but I guess we were lucky too – there was less heavy traffic in the morning and we could have done better if we had prior experience through the old road.

(“Membangun bersama Islam” – Growth through Islam – was the slogan of the day as we entered the state of Kelantan. PAS still holding to the seat of the State Government despite the slow creep of modernization to the State)

First thing first, we had to buy something for our colleague at the hospital. Being new in town, we decided not to wonder around and instead looked for the nearest supermarket. We saw one, it looked big enough to be called as a supermarket. We went in, not really sure what to buy for a friend in the hospital, battling cancer. We decided to buy some fruits – there was not much choice left. A1 commented that the onions were cheaper here than in the hypermarket near his house. There were less people in the supermarket, probably Sunday being a working day in Kota Bahru.

We headed back to the hospital but spent almost 20 minutes looking for a parking spot. Such a big modern hospital but no enough parking bays – some even double parked whilst the rest took the easy route of parking along the main road. A large portion of the paid car park lots was being used up by taxi drivers. We were about to give up when we saw a car pulling out from the parking lot. We rushed and managed to park just in time before 3 other cars headed the same way. The hospital administrators should seriously consider building multiple story car park at the empty spot at the back.

(Hard to miss icon of the town – the Sultan Ismail Petra Arch. Unfortunately we were chasing time, so we did not stop at this place for photo shooting but silently we promised ourselves that we will stop by the next we are in town again)

A1 was wearing short pants and as we walked towards the ward, A1 got concerned. He did not see anyone else wearing short pants and he was getting a strange looks from some of the people in the hospital. The state of Kelantan was governed by PAS who rule the state in more Islamic way than the rest of the states in Malaysia. Perhaps it was impolite to wear short pants in public but A1 decided to ignore the cold strange looks. He had no other choice – that was the only pants he had. We were a bit early for visitor’s visiting time but after the guards took one look at us – it was clear we were not locals (perhaps A1’s short pants made some difference), they simply let us in without much questions.

We met our colleague in the ward and after sometime, realized that time was now 1 pm. We were hungry and we also knew that we could not stay long in Kota Bahru if we intend to return home the same day. We wanted to eat nasi dagang but as we drove along the town, we could not find the right place to stop and eat. We were late too. We then found one place but there was no nasi dagang on the menu but they had nasi kukus. We decided to go for it – the sound from the stomach was just getting louder. Food was cheap and tasty (I respect the chef for the spicy dishes) despite the restaurant was small and had no one else but us.

(For a first timer, it was quite difficult to locate this place – road sign is not clear and we had to ask a traffic policeman for directions. Despite a favorite place, parking was difficult too)

There was one more place to stop by before we headed back – 454 km back to Kuala Lumpur. We wanted to leave KB by 2.30 pm so that we can reach early enough for some sleep for work the next day. We had to stop for shopping for some Kelantan seafood chips at the famed Siti Khatijah Market. Despite having GPS onboard, we got lost. We wondered around and stopped a traffic policeman who on a bike at a junction. Parking once again was a problem near the famed market but we found one in time.

When we walked into the market – it looked deserted with most of the shops closed. We thought we were late and almost counted our bad luck when we asked someone and we were asked to go to the first floor. We rushed up and saw shop after shop selling crackers and the local foodstuff. We bought plenty of seafood stuff for home and then we rushed back to the car – our mission was half way done and we need to make the trip back.

The clouds now looked heavy now. So far we have been having good weather from the start – a bit of rain in KL but a great sunshine towards KB.

Unnecessary Provocations


Perhaps it was the one of the ways God test our patience…

(The “usual” queues at the toll plaza – the traffic moves faster if everyone queues up and wait for their turn. Imagine what happens if one idiot decides to drive between the proper queues and tries to cut in. Before you know it, another line had formed in between the 2 original lines and the traffic comes to a crawl. Image source: http://www.mobshare.in)

One of my “targets’ for this year is to keep my cool on the road – unfortunately, it was easier said than done.

I had to leave office early one day last week – I had to take my HEO to the clinic – and I know immediately that my journey back home would not be so stress-free. I know that the traffic jam would be insane and there would be plenty of motorists out there who don’t give a damn on traffic laws, simple courtesy or a sense of common sense and whether they were inconvenience to others and cared if they have caused the traffic jam even worse.

The traffic towards to the toll plaza was not so bad – there was easily identified queues formed at the toll plaza although it is high time for the toll operator to put up traffic cones to control the queue jumpers. I just needed to pick my line and patiently wait for my turn. Things was not so bad – the line was still moving albeit slowly. There were queue jumpers (as usual) but thankfully it did not happen to my lane. The queue jumpers has just made the other lane worse and brought it to a crawl and they are now itching to shift to the lane that did not have any queue jumpers and still moving.

It was still early in the evening as I paid the stressful looking lady at the toll booth and queued up on the lane that was merging with another lane which itself was merging with another at the front. Respectfully, the merging point was done quiet orderly – each lane took their turn to join and kept the lane moving on an orderly pace.

Not the idiot in a white Myvi at the back of my lane – she saw the small gap between the 2 lanes and suddenly pulled out to overtake the rest. She did not got far as the two lanes was quiet close to each other and there was no room to cut in further but by her idiotic act (she only managed to overtake 2 cars) she managed to slowed the 2 lanes down and for a moment, there was standstill (with domino effect to the traffic jam at the back).

Other drivers took a long look at this driver – we did not know what she intended to achieve with the queue jumping stunt in that small area. You tell me, how to keep cool when you are facing drivers like this – nothing much achieved but only to irritate others and make the traffic jam even worse. Despite the stares that this idiot was getting from the other drivers, this idiot was only interested in queue jumping again. Upfront she did it again.

I am pretty much lost with the logic – perhaps this driver was hoping to queue jump 1 – 2 drivers all the way, she could hope to jump ahead of the whole insane traffic jam. Ya, if I was that selfish driver, it would make sense. Who cares about others as long as I could get home probably 5 minutes earlier, right? 5 minutes earlier for this selfish idiot but half an hour for the rest who follow the rules? Yes, life is unfair but it does not mean the guilty one should be left to enjoy the fruit of their “crime”.

The good thing was that although the journey home remained challenging but it was not as bad as the situation at the toll plaza. There was less “provocations” at this part of the road.

Craziest Thing 2011 – Part 1


Read the prelude here

(Up north in the middle – Map source: Google Map)

Confucius says a journey of a thousand mile starts with a single step. Our journey of a thousand kilometers (well almost) started with the question – can we drive all the way from KL to Kota Bahru and return on the same day?

Why Kota Bahru? Last year, a buddy of ours was diagnosed with cancer and he went back to his hometown in Kota Bahru for treatment. Ever since then, we have been communicating via email and phone. Last Friday we got some photos from him and frankly speaking, he looked in a bad shape. Somehow deep down, we knew we need to see him face to face at least once to provide the moral support.

(If you driving through unknown roads and it is still dark when you started, this small device comes very handy. It tells you the right lane to take but more importantly, it shows you when is the next corner is coming in)

The journey was something unplanned – we talked about it on Friday afternoon and we started to check on “how to get there”. Google Map provided some clues – the shortest would be 454 km (one way) which expect us to take about 7 hours 27 minutes. Another clue we got was from the Malaysian Travel Guide website which provided clear checkpoints to get from KL to Kota Bahru. Armed with these 2 clues, we decided to go ahead with the trip.

The Journey to Kota Bahru

The day started early for us – I woke up at 4 in the morning. I suppose to meet up with my colleague (codenamed A1) at a petrol station near my house at 5 am. We ended up meeting up at the main entrance to my housing area. The time on the watch showed 5.17 am. The air was cool and the road was almost empty with traffic.

(It is still dark when we hit the Karak highway – in a way it was good because we could not see the deep ravines at the side)

As it was too early for breakfast (most shops were closed anyway), we first headed to NKVE to link up to the DUKE. From DUKE, we joined up to the road towards Karak Highway (or as some of us know the road towards Genting Highlands). There was one pit stop to be done before we continued with the journey. We stopped at a petrol station to fuel up (full tank took RM63) and to buy something to eat (my stomach was grumbling by now). It was 6 am by the time we were on the Karak Highway towards Genting Highland. The road was almost empty and we managed to get a good head start.

(It is 6.30 in the morning but it looked busy as we passed through Raub town)

We reached Raub town about 6.31 am and the town seems to be waking up to a slow Sunday morning. We had to drive through the town to exit towards Kuala Lipis. It was a bit confusing but the onboard GPS led us to the right path. After that, it was us all alone in the misty road towards Kota Bahru. We passed through the key checkpoints Kuala Lipis, Benta, Gua Musang, Kuala Krai and then to Kota Bahru. The onboard GPS told us to keep to Route 8 which was the main road towards the Kota Bahru.

(Straight empty road was God sent but the misty in the morning hides the view way upfront)

(Old roads had good corners but limited space at the sides. With secondary jungle on the both sides of the road, we were expecting a family of elephants to walk pass the road)

We reached Merapoh exit (about 245 km from KL) at about 8.33 am. Overall, the condition of the road has been good but occasionally we will come across section of the road full of potholes. We had breakfast at Gua Musang town (about 267 km from KL) at about 8.54 am. We probably would have spent about 15 minutes here. We decided not to venture far for breakfast (we were chasing time) and had to contend with an almost empty restaurant that only had fried noodles and some mix rice for breakfast. The taste was nothing to shout to about but perhaps it was clear that we were from out of town, the breakfast was not cheap.

(One of the perils on the Route 8 – trucks laden with huge timbers. This one is empty which makes it more inconvenient to overtake. These powerful trucks can be as fast as speeding cars on empty roads)

(Winding roads is great for cars with good pickup or heavy motorcyclists but when it comes to overtaking slow trucks on the corners, it gets tricky – around the corner, it could be nothing or it could be a huge truck screaming down the road)

We reached Felda Ciku (about 278 km from KL) at about 9.31 am and thereafter reached Kuala Krai (about 386 km from KL) at about 10.20 am. We were almost near to Kota Bahru. By now, the whole town had woken up and the traffic was bad. Thankfully there were more 2 lanes roads here for us to overtake the slower traffic without any sweat. At one point, we came to standstill but we soon were moving (some idiots decided that road works on a Sunday morning was a wise idea) and then somewhere else a trailer had broken down blocking one way. We reached the hospital where our colleague was admitted (about 453 km from KL) at about 11.36 am.

To be continued…

Craziest Thing 2011 – A Prelude


the longest journey..
Image by Norma Desmond via Flickr

Something before I start the journey…

The last time I saw an impromptu decision in action was when my Dad decided to take us to Morib when I was still small. We were at home at one moment and suddenly couple of minutes; we were on the way to Morib where I saw the sea for the first time in my life.

2011 would be the second time when I have decided to do something major without giving much thought. Perhaps it was due to a sense of adventure – it has been sometime since I went on a long journey to an unknown place or perhaps it is due to a sense of friendship, not wanting to leave a fellow comrade to take up the long journey all alone.

A journey of almost 1,000 km in a day (thankfully having a friend to take turn driving and keep the sanity during the journey) to a place we never been before and had no idea on how to go (other than relying on some guides in the internet and on-board GPS) is certainly going to be one of the craziest things I am going to do in 2011.

Just hope that everything goes well for the rather impromptu, last minute, crazy endeavor. Part 1 coming up soon (I hope)…