Next Change: 13,000 km Trip


 

CapeVerde

(Image Source: Cruise Mapper)

Yes, next change coming up:-

  • 13,000 km flight
  • 20 hours of flight
  • 14 hours of transits
  • 4 different airports
  • 2 different airlines

It has been some time since I last visited this blog.

The last few years have carried me away from the blogging and more towards others like social media, health and gaming.

Anyway it is time for another long trip and 3 months overseas assignment and it will be a good opportunity to use this time “away from office” to blog about this up-coming trips. Let’s see how much time I can spare and how much information I can squeeze in the coming months.

To be continued…

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Hiatus


You will know by now that I am not blogging frequent as I used to be

Work is one of the excuse and it is taking more of my time these days. But at the same time, I am spending my free times, not drafting for my next blog post but rather playing mobile games and doing plenty of reading. Perhaps it is due to the state of the nation that is so depressing and lawlessness running around. Perhaps I am just too tired tired to think of the content for the blog posts – there’s plenty to talk about on the subject of politics but it is getting tiring on daily basis.

Let me take a proper break from blogging before coming back again. This is not the last blog post, I can assure you.

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….

When the Mind Goes AWOL


I did not check but this probably one of the longest gap when it comes to blogging.

Working 7 days a week including working up to 10 at night on the weekdays sure pulls the energy from the mind. Somehow, I still force myself to take a late night shower (I have tried but I could not bring myself to bed without a shower…it simply feels too “sticky”) and sometimes put the clothes for washing. Then it is off to the bed and wake up again at about 6.30 am (without alarm) after the alarm goes off at 5.45 am, 5.50 am and 6.00 am (I am rarely aware of the time I switch off the alarm on 3 separate occasions).

I went back home for a couple of days just before Father’s Day. My kids were waiting for me at the front door as I got down from the taxi. First to hear was my youngest’s voice calling me loud and the next is my son rushing to open the front gate. They were indeed very excited to see me back (although it was for a few days). We slept very late that night with my son having tonnes of story to tell (as usual) with the youngest chipping in with her own baby language and jumping on my stomach as she often do. When I falling off to sleep, she even passed me her favorite blanket. My wife had a list of her own for me starting with the washing machine which have been giving some trouble (I almost smiled when I heard the washing machine mentioned).

Yes, I missed my car too. My wife had forgotten to get it washed before I came back but it did not matter much. Driving for that few days and despite being stuck in traffic jam did not deter me from having a great time driving. Ya, Malaysian drivers are still one of the worst kind out there and pesky motorcyclists remains the parasites of the road but some how it was different for that few days. Perhaps after almost a month of being driven around from the workplace and to the apartment and judging on how others drive the car made me miss my own driving. Perhaps.

I miss the good old Malaysian food as well (and yes, that includes my wife’s cooking). Somehow the limau panas tasted better than ever and it did not cost me a bomb for me to have a good healthy lunch with plenty of vegetables. A far cry now where a simple nasi campur have plenty of rice and chicken but almost non existing vegetables and it cost as much as dining in 5 star hotel. But I found the perfect place to dine (yes, it is still expensive) but somehow healthier than the other more premium looking place. This is one reason why home is still the best place to be.

It was a short break indeed and soon it was time to fly back for the overseas assignment.

FD

The night before I flew back overseas was great. We had a good dinner and a quick shopping for the essentials. My son had wanted to buy a rabbit (he knows the right time to ask me) but there was no time to go to the pet shop. I told him that we will revisit this once I am back. My son knew that I was flying out the next morning and I saw sadness in his face but my daughter was still too young to understand things (the same happened to my son when he was small to a point that he thought I worked at the airport). And that night, my son presented me with his “Father’s Day” wish card which was lovely and very touching indeed. He always have something to say that leaves me speechless and it was the same case this time around.

This morning, I had a good conversation with an elderly gentleman taxi driver (he was 72 years old but drives perfectly) who had served in the Air Force back in the 1960s and at once was attached to the Royal Malaysian Air Force. When he heard that I was from Malaysia, his first question was this – “What had happened to Malaysia? From a country that had a good chance to be one of the powerful country in the region, it had turned into a country that full of crime, corruption and going down the drain”. I kept my silence. Not that I am not angry with a foreigner speaking badly of my beloved country but because I saw in the old man’s eyes, he was very disappointed. He was sincere. He knows the nonsense that the so-called leaders are doing on a regular basis (in case you don’t realised by now, the country is running on auto pilot on a very regular basis and has come to a point, had become a heaven for terrorists from all around the world and religion extremists). There was some truth in what he said. Just like the old man who is a foreigner, we are asking the same question.

Oh, never mind. No point talking about it now. The only way we can clean the house proper is through the elections. I don’t see the logic of the corrupt, the extremists and the short-minded ones to be continued to be voted in to rule this country. There will come a day when the corrupt, the lazy and the selfish are caught, stripped naked and lashed by the millions on public grounds. We seems to have more bad things lining up compared to good things and this gets amplified when one is abroad where there is more unity among the people, extreme view of race & religion is non-existence, very strict control & enforcement at the borders to keep the foreign criminals & scammers away (we on the other hand are welcoming them with open arms) and there a general direction and accountability from the local politicians (I say “general” because politicians from matter from which country, era or background will never be angels).

That’s all for now, hopefully I can write something next week but for now, I am squeezing all available free time on catching up on sleep.

The Struggle


In case you missed reading this in the past weeks…

invictus2d

(Invictus – starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon and directed by Clint Eastwood. It is one movie that portrays Nelson Mandela in his best moments and no one had does it better than Morgan Freeman. Image source: http://www.dvdactive.com)

When a political party is having its usual general assemblies – you can be assured that there always be some “interesting” statements made in the general public. But then over the weekend, bored with the re-run programs that Astro was dishing out, I decided to go through my collection of movies and one stood out from the rest – Invictus. Once you have watched this movie, then what is being said below makes a lot of sense.

Umno President Najib Razak diminished the stature of a great man when he said last Saturday at his party’s general assembly that Umno fought for the “same cause” as Nelson Mandela, who had died two days before.

What same cause? Mandela fought against racial discrimination whereas Umno institutionalised racial discrimination a few decades ago and still upholds it. Mandela never advocated black supremacy, whereas Umno promotes Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy).

After he became president of South Africa, Mandela proposed reconciliation and sought to bring the races in his country together, whereas in Malaysia, Umno divides the races in order to keep itself in power.

Even at its general assembly, Umno’s delegates lobbied for the ethnocentric ‘1Melayu’ to replace the more inclusive ‘1Malaysia’, bashed the Chinese for not supporting the party at the last general election, and demanded a bigger stake in the economy, totally ignoring the reality that most of the country’s economic development is now already in Malay hands.

Furthermore, no less an Umno leader than Awang Adek Hussin, who is also the country’s deputy finance minister, proposed that private companies should declare how they support the Bumiputera agenda in their annual reports. He also insisted that, because Malays now make up almost 70 per cent of the population, the hiring policy of private companies should reflect the country’s racial composition at every level.

This is effectively saying that CEOs of private companies should also be Malay, and that their staff should be 70 per cent Malay. Indeed. Apa lagi Umno mahu? (What more does Umno want?)

On the other hand, does the civil service reflect the country’s racial composition? Are there 30 per cent non-Malay heads of department? In our public universities, are 30 per cent of vice-chancellors non-Malay?

Mandela did not take away the businesses of the whites in the name of affirmative action for the black South Africans. He allowed the whites to continue to control the economy and as a result of its being in experienced hands, South Africa’s economy grew at a steady, robust rate.

Mandela also believed in inclusiveness, in humanity and human rights. But Umno abhors lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGBTs) although they are no less human beings. One delegate denigrated them by saying at the assembly that LGBTs exist so that “orang jahat (bad people) can be purged, leaving behind only the good people to inherit the earth”. How simplistically stupid, or stupidly simplistic.

Neither does Umno tolerate Shiite (Syiah) Muslims. Delegates urged that the Federal Constitution be amended to give recognition only to Sunni Islam. And Umno vice-president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, in his customary aggressive manner of winning support from the Umno flock, seized the moment to accuse the “No. 2” man in the Opposition party PAS of being a Shiite leader. He called for action to be taken against the latter. It was a clear manifestation of gutter politics posing under the guise of religion.

How, then, could Najib have had the temerity to draw parallels between Umno and Mandela? They couldn’t be more worlds apart. How could he have said what he said and not appear foolish to the outside world? He might have been able to deceive his audience of Umno members, but he cannot deceive the intelligent and discerning.

He apparently rationalised it by claiming that no race has been deprived under the New Economic Policy (NEP). He probably knows better – or else he is ignorant or dumb – but he still played to the gallery. When he asked his audience, “Were (other races) sidelined during the NEP? Did we ever hurt the livelihood of other races?”, they of course responded with a resounding “no”. This of course is an act of syiok sendiri too.

They chose to conveniently forget the millions of non-Malays who over the decades have been deprived of places in public universities, scholarships, jobs in the civil service, promotions, higher ranks in the security forces, government projects (except the big crony Chinese companies), etc.

They pretended not to know that the non-Malays most hurt by the NEP were the low-income and middle-class groups. Many of their children could not pursue tertiary education through lack of means. Those who could had parents who worked extra hard to make extra money to send their children to private institutions.

They chose to ignore the truth that the push for Ketuanan Melayu caused non-Malays to be sidelined in unjust, uncountable ways and turned them into second-class citizens. Now, to add insult to injury, they profess no knowledge of all that, still present the Malays as victims after more than 50 years of independence from the British “oppressors”, brand the “foreign races” (meaning non-Malays) as threats, lament that the Malays might become “slaves in their own land”, ask for more handouts, more projects, more quotas.

Enough is never enough. At every annual general assembly, they dish out the same laments, the same non-Malay bashing, the same demands for more opportunities while at the same time moaning that Malay entrepreneurs still need “hand-holding”. Their thinking is this: Ask and it shall be given. Just like that. No need to prove their abilities first, no need to be free of “hand-holding” first, no need to work to attain their goals. That’s the attitude they take.

And this is equated with Mandela’s struggle?

This sort of attitude exhibited by Umno is what pisses off a lot of people and makes them hate the party. If Najib’s comparison between Umno and Mandela doesn’t piss off the South African Government, well, that’s its business. But if it does, President Jacob Zuma might want to demand an apology from Najib for showing disrespect and distorting the principles of the great Mandela.

Najib cannot exploit a good man’s name to justify his party’s petty schemes.

(Source)

Ha ha, good one…

Stop Section 114A!


Update 2: theStar reports – The Cabinet is carefully studying Section 114A of the Evidence Act 1950 in line with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s directive, after it became a much discussed matter in cyberspace. Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said Wednesday the Government held a firm stand on the matter but so far, there were no plans to make new amendments to the Act.

If I were you, I would not lose my breath over this “Cabinet carefully studying…after Najib’s directive”. Now they have the edge (after all, the Act have been passed by the Parliament), you think they going to let go just like that?

Update 1: I do not know who this Fatimah Zuhri is (a BN cyber trooper?) but running through her “arguments” in support for Section 114A, it is clear she is missing a point in her support for Section 114A (no doubt the amendments have its merits as highlighted by her). The point that she missed is on the burden of proof shifting to the accused. She says that yes, the accused is now guilty until proven innocent but then goes on to say that if one is innocent, then it is easy to prove it so.

This argument is seriously flawed as 1. under our legal system, one always presumed to be innocent until proven guilty, so why the sudden shift then? Will the resources be made available by the authorities for the accused to prove the innocence? and 2. she is talking about proving your innocence using IP & MAC address – is she a computer expert on cyber crime or she is just a casual PC user who knows nothing more than using some easy Microsoft programs and surf the net.

Look at the comments by one Ah Beng under her post and you will realised that proving your innocence using IPs & MAC Addresses may be futile if the real perpetrators are experts in covering their tracks (there are plenty of tools on the net just for that) and since you are presumed guilty until proven innocent, you are screwed. There seems to be a clear loophole on the horizon (since it does not stop anyone who is not happy with what has been written online from hiring certain experts to hack and create trouble for the writers under Section 114A) and that should not be the case.

Back to the original post

Read these first:-

They have been trying to censor the internet for ages now but so far their attempts have whacked them back on their face. This seems to be the latest of their attempt to censor what is said & discussed on the net but this time around, it is coming through the “back door” via the Evidence Act 1950

From Stop114A:-

How does Section 114A affect you?

Titled “Presumption of Fact in Publication”, Section 114A holds the following people accountable for publishing content online:

(1) those who own, administrate, or edit websites open to public contributors, such as online forums or blogs;

(2) those who provide webhosting services or Internet access; and

(3) those own the computer or mobile device used to publish content online.

In other words, if allegedly defamatory content is traced back to your username, electronic device, and/or WiFi network, Section 114A presumes you are guilty of publishing illicit content on the Internet.

But what if you were the victim of identity theft and a hacker wrongfully used your Twitter or Facebook account to post defamatory content?

Under Section 114A, you are still considered guilty until proven innocent.

What is wrong with Section 114A?

Section 114A is problematic for a number of reasons:

i) It disproportionately burdens average Internet users who are wrongfully accused of publishing seditious or defamatory content.

ii) It makes Internet intermediaries–parties that provide online community forums, blogging and hosting services–liable for content that is published through their services.

iii) It allows hackers and cyber criminals to be free by making the person whose account/computer is hacked liable for any content/data which might have changed.

iv) It is a bad law passed in haste and does not take into account public interest and participation.

Click the image below for more details:-

(All images sources: http://stop114a.wordpress.com/)