Prepping In Malaysia Part 3


Update 1: Some 300,000 residents living in Cheras and Ampang will celebrate the New Year without water supply as it will take Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) up to one week to restore the service to their areas (source). Still think that we need a major disaster to happen before we start prepping? All it needs is a fault in the pump house and you are out of water for a week – that is a real case scenario right here in Malaysia.

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(Remember; when disaster strikes, the time to prepare has passed. — Steven Cyros)

Kuantan Flood

(Streets or rivers in Kuantan? Yes, it is a yearly affair for those who live along the East Coast but the West Coast has its share of flash floods too. We may not have killer hurricanes or earthquakes or volcanoes, unlike our nearest neighbours but we do have our share of natural disasters. And given the frailty of our infrastructure, maintenance and dirty politics, we are also exposed to possible blackouts and water supply disruptions. Are we ready for it? Image source: TheSun)

Welcome back, a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Just one more post on “2012” before the end of 2012 (please read Part 1 here and Part 2 here). The world as we know it did not end last week and we will likely to have a very smooth journey into 2013 but it did not deter me from prepping for unforeseeable disaster in the future. If you have been following up on this blog, I talked about Mayans and 2012 way back in 2007 (almost 5 years before the deadline on 21.12.2012) but I did nothing back then – no storerooms, no bug-out-bags, no canned food, no water storage, nothing. But then, counting down towards 21.12.2012 and as I realised the importance of preparing for emergencies, it has become a good excuse to be a prepper. Moving forward, the challenge would be to maintain the same prepper’s mindset beyond 21.12.2012.

Anyway, it was interesting to read the various comments in the net & mainstream media when the world as we know it did not end last week. Some were positive (especially from fellow preppers – they were determined more than ever) and some were not. Some even ridiculed the Mayans civilizations – an ancient civilization that had fully developed written language and a well developed understanding in art, architecture, mathematics and astronomy. What if we got the Mayan calendar all wrong and we are off the mark by couple of days or years? Wouldn’t that be interesting? Others ridiculed the fact that there are people prepping for doomsday. Was it a sign of people not believing in having Plan B or taking things for granted? – I don’t know but based on what I have read in the papers, there seems to be some misconceptions on prepping.

1. The world did not end on 21.12.2012 and nothing will happen in the near future.

Now if we analyse the hype of 21.12.2012, it merely mentions that the Mayan Long Calendar (by some extension and interpretation, the world) ends on 21.12.2012. The thing is Mayan had never predicated what would cause the end of the world (if one takes the end of the calendar to be the end of the world).

A number of possible disasters (both natural and man made) have been mentioned as the possible cause of the end of the world – major earthquakes, super volcanic eruptions, high possibility of a bull eye’s hit by large asteroids (or dark comets), ark floods, giant tsunamis, an all-out nuclear war (triggered by rouge countries or terrorists) and civil unrest, solar storms, drastic polar shift, ice age, break out of plagues, alien attacks, etc and even though we were lucky enough not to see it happening on 21.12.2012, some of it remains a major threat to mankind

Our rich history of mankind is dotted with incidents of major disasters that had wiped out thousands or millions in the past. We only need to turn to our history books and remind ourselves. Can we say for sure that nothing will ever happen in the future?

2. Prepping is a waste of time, resources and money – we can always get things from the hypermarket even on a bad day.

In the same manner we are grateful that we have a spare tire in our car when we hit a puncture in a dark lonely road or we had brought along the umbrella when it starts to rain, there is no harm coming up with a fall-back plan – a Plan B sort of. No doubt prepping takes time, resources and money but can we call it as waste?

Being in Malaysia where at the worst, our “disasters” are confined to flash floods, blackouts and water interruptions, we need not spend the time and money preparing for the worst. When disaster strikes, we simply wait for the Government to send help (in form of relief centres, financial aid and sundry items). Some may decide to spend time with relatives and friends until the time of disaster simply passes over. But what happens if we are to face a disaster that is not familiar to us – say solar storms and extended blackouts and water interruptions or a major plague (still remember H1N1? It’s almost end of 2012 and it is still here) and when it will some time before the Government can do something about it?

And don’t forget that we are also cursed with the usual mentality of doing things at the last moment. If we know that we need to hold-on on our own for a few days before we can rescued, rushing over to the hypermarket to stock up on food and water at the last minute could be overwhelming experience – not only we have fight our way to little food and water that may be left, buying things at the last moment could be expensive too (it’s a different story if one have been building up the storage over a longer period)

My grandmother was one of the earliest supporters in the family when it comes to prepping and she insists (to this day) that I am doing the right thing. She went through the Japanese occupation of Malaya and May 13 and she knows all too well the importance of storing up food, water and other essentials when disaster strikes and it is not safe to venture out.

3. Buying canned food as part of prepping is dumb as it does not last long and if nothing happens, it goes to the waste.

It’s a fact that canning is still one the best ways to preserve food and has a long shelf life, some with 2-3 years before it can be “unsafe” to eat. Canning has several advantages when it comes to storage too. It does not need refrigeration, easy to stack up, highly portable (great for bug-out-bags), completely sealed and well cooked during the canning process and this kills any bacteria that may be present and still keeps the nutrients intact.

My idea of prepping is to continue to store and keep something that we use and eat on a regular basis. Forget about keeping canned food for disasters – even normal days we still use canned food on a very regular basis and that includes sardines (and mackerel) which is great for curry or sambal and is a good source of protein, tuna spread (my son love it with bread for breakfast), baked beans and green peas. We simply decided to buy extra 5 cans instead of the usual 1-2 cans whenever we go for our shopping and over time, we would have stocked up enough cans that can be used for the future. So we did – we bought 5 cans, use up 2 cans for our usual cooking and keep the balance 3 cans in the storeroom and the cycle went on until we have a sizeable storage of canned food that can used in the event we cannot venture out to buy food.

All the canned food have been properly labelled and arranged based on expiry dates – the one with the longer dates are stacked up at the back whilst the one going to expire soon is stacked up at the front. And we only buy those canned food that we use on a regular basis (nothing exotic) – so this rotation of cans will make sure that we don’t end up having expired canned food and if nothing happens, we can still use it for our regular use (when I started prepping, my canned food was running out faster than I could store them).

4. All house water tanks are enough to last for 3 days (taking into consideration the 72 hours factor), so what is the big deal in storing more water?

We use water for drinking, cooking, the toilet and shower and perhaps to water the garden and wash the car. But when the taps goes dry, we need to conserve whatever water we have, primarily for drinking and cooking – we can only survive an average of three to five days without water.

When I talked about water storage for 3 days, I was talking about drinking water and for a family of 8 (5 adults and 2 children) and excluding whatever left in the house water tank. As recent as 2012, there are places in this country that had experienced water supply disruption lasting up to a week. My friend had water supply to his housing area disrupted for more than a week and after numerous complaints, they finally sent some water tankers for the residents but guess what, it was sent when most of them was away at work and it was not enough to cover all houses! That almost started a riot. And more recently there have been threats of water disruptions as well.

Ask yourself this question – will your house water tank last your family for at least a week? If yes, good for you but if it does not, what is your Plan B if you experience water disruption? Wait out for the Government water tankers who may or may not show up at your residential area or when you are away at work? Or rush over to your local sundry shop and buy crates of expensive mineral water (forget trying to replenish your water storage with the water kiosks in front of the shops – it may have gone dry too)? Or store up water upfront when you still had water in your taps and recycle them often so that the water in your storage remains fresh and safe? Which one is easier to do?

5. Preppers are people who are simply afraid to die (ya this was one of the more interesting one that I read). When it is time to go, nothing stops you from going.

Tell me one person who is not afraid of death? Suicide bombers perhaps. Yes, all of us have to “go” one day but does it mean we will leave it to our fate and go down without a fight? What about the people who have beaten the odds and survived from a near impossible situation? Still remember of those who crashed in the Andes and survived? The fact is no one wants to die and if you have people to take care (family, relatives or friends), you will do whatever it takes to keep breathing and survive. And you don’t have to be a prepper to do that – just ask anyone who have a family to take care of. So, it’s nonsense to link preppers to people who are afraid to die.

We are grateful that 21.12.2012 was not the end of the world but in the same juncture, it should be the start of prepping. The future is uncertain and we should not take things for granted. No one is forcing anyone to be a prepper but think about it, especially if you have small kids and elderly parents to take care of.

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2012 Updates: It’s This Week, Folks!


mayan calendar

(The Mayan Calendar ending on the year 2012 could have been due to this reason – who knows – and we are freaking out for no good reason in 2012. Image source: http://www.abovetopsecret.com)

Mayan’s Long Calendar will end this Friday and thus end of the world as we know it, so believed by many doomsday believers.

However, it is very likely that we will make it to next week (and the coming months) without any major incidents. After all, I am sure all of us have made major plans to do things and go places in the coming years and we expect to get things done as planned. We have yet to see any news on the discovery of any large asteroid heading directly towards the planet or the appearance of the mysterious Planet X which will collide with planet Earth on 21st December 2012. And so far no one had pressed the doomsday panic button – not from any Government officials, space agencies, well-known public figures or NGOs. Although we have been seeing more than usual earthquakes and typhoons (such the recent Typhoon Bopha which hit the Philippines and caused more than 1000 casualties) in the past months, that has not been something that we have not seen before (and yes, we have seen worse).

But then again, it does not mean we can just stand-by and take all things in complete ignorance of any dangers to the civilization as we know it (you seriously think that we are all alone in the universe and the planet Earth is completely immune to all types of dangers from in and out? Dream on, brother!). There is always of 0.0001% chance of something creeping up on us when we least expected. It has happened in the past and it can always happen again in the near future. Whatever said and done, we should never stop prepping for the future.

doomsday ark

(The doomsday ark in the movie 2012 – in the movie, an ark ticket was sold for 1 billion Euro. I wonder what would be the cost if doomsday scenario is real and a real ark is built with limited seat for all and whether the smaller, poorer nations will even be eligible for a place in such ark. Image source: http://www.whatsonxiamen.com)

Think this as a possible conspiracy scenario – what if all the heads of Government have been called for a secret meeting and been forewarned of an impending danger to the planet say some 3 – 5 years ago (if you had been keeping an eye for interesting rumours, you would have heard about the letter from a “Norwegian politician”) and a consortium of companies have been selected to built a doomsday ark of sort in secret (with each Government contributing based on their allocation of a place in the ark for their people) and as the ark is being built and the list of survivors being drawn up, they are told to keep the whole thing hush-hush to avoid a massive global panic. Yes, in the same way the Government covered up in the movie 2012. And just imagine watching CNN on the eve of doomsday at your local mamak stall, having your teh-tarik & roti canai when the news of the impending danger is officially announced to the masses and in the background, you catch a glimpse of the Fat Mamma entering the ark with all her shopping bags. It may or may not happen.

Consider the fact that we simply do not have the resources and time to scan the entire sky for any changes to the alignment of the star and planetary system in our galaxy that may have put gravitational force on the planet Earth (that may set mega earthquakes and tsunamis) or asteroids such as 4179 Toutatis that flew past us last week (you were aware of it? we have about 1,325 of them on watch list and the number is growing) or the so-called dark comets that may have been missed previously and is hurling towards the planet undetected. We have probably spent more money into military expansions, mismanagement of the economy and corruption than on astronomy and space explorations. Yes, we have NASA, the European Space Agency, the Russians, the Chinese and not forgetting our very own Angkasawan that manages anything that related to space exploration and astronomy but it does not mean that they have unlimited budget, time and manpower to get their tasks done. Even the powerful, well-funded and equipped NASA is relying on amateur astronomers to look out for asteroids. The question is are we looking at the right spot in space and how much of it is under our radars.

And who knows, perhaps we already have an alien mother-ship hovering on our atmosphere in an unknown stealth technology waiting for some countdown that ends on 21st December 2012 (remember the movie Independence Day?). One can just hope that they have a good appetite for corrupt and greedy politicians and businessmen and they will leave the solar system once they have “cleaned up” the planet.

Yellowstone_SuperVolcano

(A sleeping giant that may wake up one day. Image source: http://www.cuttingedge.org)

We still have the time bomb lurking under the vast Yellowstone National Park which some say will wipe most of America out with estimated 100 million dead, leaving the sole super power in the world (to some degree) in ruins and incapacitated. And if you think we all in Malaysia will be safe as we are far away from this hotspot, think again – a cloud of ash & debris will linger on the atmosphere for months if not years, bringing down the global temperature and creating major havoc on agriculture all over the world. Imagine the steep cost of food and breakout of famines around the world. Imagine with the US out of the picture, guess who is going to fill up the power vacuum as far as Malaysia is concerned? Well, be prepared to shed the National language and English from our schools and use Mandarin (or who knows, Hindi) on full time basis instead. With rogue countries like North Korea and Pakistan in the picture, doomsday scenario will be more realistic than ever.

And some scientists are expecting that the planet Earth is long due for a major geomagnetic reversal (for some also known as the polar shift). Will it happen this week or in the coming weeks? The scientific community as whole seems to concur on the theory that changes in geomagnetic happens over a long period and does not change all too sudden. But what if it does? What it means to us when it happens?

If a large pole shift could happen suddenly, the redistribution of land and water it caused would be nothing short of cataclysmic.

In the short term, it would mean earthquakes, strange weather patterns, massive tsunamis capable of drowning parts of continents, and possibly gaps in the planet’s magnetic field — our shield against harmful cosmic rays. In the long term, the redistribution of land and water in the tropics, subtropics and poles would fundamentally alter ocean currents and the heat balance of the Earth, resulting in widespread climatological shifts.

Ice caps might melt and reform elsewhere, or remain melted, driving sea levels down or up.

(Source)

And most 2012 doomsday websites are talking about the more obvious and realistic danger to the world (and I am thinking the same) – a major solar storm that will bring down the power grids and leaves millions without electricity for months. And for a society that is so dependant on electricity for almost everything that it touches, from running the computers, pumping fuel, running the water supply to homes and businesses, etc, without electricity, this society would simply breakdown. A real doomsday threat, no thanks to our own growth and over reliance in technology. But then, again we had gone through the sun’s 11 years cycle many, many times before and we somehow had survive it without much fuss and danger to our power grids. Will we see the “big one” any time soon?

Think about it – some doomsday scenarios can be far-fetched but does it mean it will never happen? Anyway, it is just a food for your thoughts, considering that all the hype on the Mayan Long Calendar coming to an “end” this Friday. But as I mentioned before, it is very likely that we will make it to next week (and the coming months or years) without any major incidents. However don’t stop prepping and keep one eye opened for any eventuality as the world as we know it will eventually end one day. It may not happen this Friday or next year or next 10 years or not in our lifetime – we just do not know when and how but there is no harm to be prepared and educating our kids to be prepared as well.

Have a good week ahead, enjoy the “fireworks” on this Friday and I will see you next week, same time and at the same place.

Prepping in Malaysia Part 1


Oh no, another doomsday post before the weekends…!

(Still think that EMP or Electro Magnetic Pulse is a distinct threat? The above was captured a couple days ago and if the sun storms are threatening satellites flying couple hundreds of miles from the surface of the planet, just think of the risk if sun storms gets more violent in the coming months as predicted by some scientists? )

I always think that tomorrow would better than today but at the same time, I also believe in preparing for tomorrow, today. If you are thinking the same and you are actually doing something about it, you can call yourself a prepper.

If you had been watching the “Doomsday Preppers” over at Nat Geo Channel (if you have not, you should), you will discover how some people will go to the extreme to prepare for worst case scenario and some people have been “prepping” for many types of eventuality (hyperinflation, collapse of the economy, end of the world scenario, major power blackouts, natural disaster, etc) for more than 2 years now. In Malaysia, we have yet to go on such large scale when it comes to prepping. Perhaps since we do not face any natural disasters and our nearest hypermarkets always well stocked and cost of good have always been cheap, we are taking things for granted.

But we also must keep in mind that we are not completely safe from events that are happening around the world – events that could and would disrupt our daily activities and turn the world upside down for us. One such event in the horizon is this:-

A new respiratory illness similar to the Sars virus that spread globally in 2003 and killed hundreds of people has been identified in a man who is being treated in Britain. The 49-year-old man, who was transferred to a London hospital by air ambulance from Qatar, is the second person confirmed with the coronavirus. The first case was a patient in Saudi Arabia who has since died. Officials are still determining what threat the new virus may pose.

(Source)

Add the above to the list of known & unknown viruses that are flying around on a global sense on daily basis, a number of WW3 hotspots around the world and out of the norm natural disasters, it makes more sense that we need to have some kind of “Plan B” in our pockets.

You need not take extreme measures. If you want to prep for any emergencies, you will know that it is not easy to be a prepper in Malaysia. As such, it would be interesting to share ideas and read on how others do their prepping for emergencies in this country and mind you, not all are preparing for end of the world. I am preparing for an unusual blackouts expected due to the predicted solar storms in the next few months (the sun is undergoing it’s 11 years cycle and scientists had predicted it to peak year end).

Prepping has been a challenge for me too (and it still is) and the first thing before we proceeded to anything was to find the space for storing. The obvious choice was the small storeroom in the house but it was full of items (mostly junks) and it seemed a nightmare to even think of cleaning it. But as one would say, a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step, after I had spent a considerable time to clear out the storeroom in the house (we did not realize how much unwanted things can take up so much space in the little storeroom and it does nothing but collect dusts. It took us almost 3 rounds of cleaning before we managed to clear them) and then get it painted and stocked it with proper shelves (it was on fire sale at Tesco, so I bought 5 at one go), it was easier to start on the actual prepping tasks.

The first things that we bought for our “doomsday” storeroom was canned food and the obvious one in our list was canned sardines. A whole lot of them! It was not really cheap (there were cheaper options but we have never about that particular brand) but expiry date was in 2014 (which meant at least 2 years of shelf life) and it is something that we had for dinner on a regular basis. And slowly we added other canned items – canned chicken curry, canned green peas, canned peas in tomato sauce and canned tuna. It is easier to store (just need to stack them up) and it is safe as well. We wrote down the expiry month and year on the cans and we stack them based on the expiry dates (the earlier dates at the front).

Two 15 litres water containers was the next item on our list and with another 3 other containers of boiled filtered water meant that we have about 75 litres of drinking water at given time of the day. Experts recommend about 1 gallon (about 3.8 litres) per day per person during emergency and at least for 3 days. At the current stage, the water storage is enough to last the family for 3 days but certainly this is not enough on a long term basis. The next stage would be to increase this water storage capacity and I am planning to purchase large water containers to hold raw tap water. Rainwater harvesting system is another option for a renewal source of water in case the taps goes dry but as I mentioned in my previous posts, this option is not feasible in Malaysia if you don’t have the space (most of us don’t). You cannot simply have a large ugly expensive containers lying on your porch. There is still some work to be done here.

We then refocus back on our storeroom prep and we knew that we needed more than canned food. An incident a couple of days before the Hari Raya holidays reminded us on the stark reality of things to come. We went to our usual hypermarket and after we have fill our shopping cart almost full, we headed towards the counter when my wife remembered that we need to buy cooking oil. We walked towards the area where they had the cooking oils stocked and what we saw was rather shocking, the whole shelf was empty. Not one oil cooking bottle was available other than the more premium non-palm cooking oil and we had no other choice but to buy the premium non-palm cooking oil. But what will happen if this goes empty too?

So we added cooking oil into our storeroom items (unfortunately cooking oil is have very short shelf life) so we have to consistently keep an eye on it. We also added packets of rice although it does not make a good item for “doomsday” store as it finishes rather quickly and we have yet to try keeping rice in vacuum sealed packets which would keep rice fresh for 20 years or more. Then the usual stuff was added on the list – packets of maggi instant mee, chilly sauce bottles and biscuits. The next plan would to add “MRE” like food (although it is quite tough to find them in Malaysia) and of course, more canned food.

To be continued…

2012 Updates: Doomsday Survival in Malaysia


Read these first:-

(The essentials for a bug out bag – How many of us have one similar in case we need to grab the essential items from the house and had to go out to somewhere safe and had to survive on our own without getting rescued? Image source: http://americansurvival101.blogspot.com)

We are almost half way there…

A question. How many of you think that we need to get prepared for the unexpected that may or may not happen in the next few months? Most of you? A handful of you? And mind you, I am not even asking you to think about the so-called end of the world prophecy by the Mayans. It is not necessarily have to be that particular scenario.

I read this a couple days ago:-

Leaders of the opposition party may resort to using prolonged violent demonstrations to win the 13th general election as the democratic approach would not yield them victory if general election results in the past is anything to go by, said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

(Source)

In Malaysia, the politics of fear has remained the politicians strategy to ensure continued votes to keeps themselves and their cronies in preferable position and I am not saying this is something new. It may not even wrong to say these things out now as fear can be great motivator and make people think twice of the consequences. Violent demonstrations is one example of disruption to our daily routine – food & other essential items may be rationed if businesses are closed for longer terms.  The same goes to the belief that the world may come to an end on 21st December 2o12. Those who fear that the prophecies may come true have started to make preparation for doomsday survival (and there seems to be many of them).

Let’s take the worst case scenario for argument sake. Let’s assume that something will happen in December this year and how one survives that event depends on how one had prepared themselves.

If it comes to the country that you want to be to survive if the world comes to “an end” on 21st December 2012, Malaysia may not be the best choice out there. Don’t get me wrong, Malaysia is a great country and with very little natural disasters to contend with (we don’t have earthquakes now but it may change in the future), we have one less thing to worry about. But then again it may also prove to be our Achilles’ heels – we may feel safe here but being too safe means we get complacent on issue of readiness and survival actions.

Just consider some of these factors that any survivalists in this country have to contend with (in no particular order):-

1. Basement or attic is not a norm in this country.

Just check around – how many of the houses on sale in this country comes with a good size basement or attic? At the most, you have a pitiful size storeroom at the bottom of the staircase (like the one in my house) or a storeroom cum maid’s room in some of the bigger houses. Admittedly houses in Malaysia is still cheaper than some of the houses in the countries that I have travelled to in the last few years but land portion is still a premium – not even enough to build a small garden shed, basement or other structures.

As survivalists, we may not have basements or attics but we have small storerooms (or spare bedrooms) and unfortunately this is what we have to use as storage to build the all important emergency food & other necessity items. It is not enough to hold emergency water storage (those large water tanks) and any food stored in the pitiful sized storerooms would not be enough to last your family for a few days. And certainly without a good sheltered basement, it may not provide a good protection from harsh weather.

There seems to be only one solution for this – buy your own land and build your own disaster proof basement. In Malaysia, most of us can only dream about this.

2. There are not that many survivalist tools & equipment suppliers

Ask this simple question – how easy it is to buy say water purification tablets or well-stocked bug out bag. And our so-called hardware shops around the country is nothing to shout about – it is more accustomed to large scale constructions and if there is a DIY store anywhere, it is not really user-friendly (yes, some of them are well stocked and plenty of Santa’s helpers around to assist).

I know because I have been visiting them quite frequently lately (I am revamping my store-room to be a food & emergency items storage place) and I did not get some of the items on sale. First, the size of the store does not means it is well stocked – despite my high & low search; I have yet to find a float for my water containers. Secondly just how many of the DIY items comes with proper instructions? Not many and that could be a problem – we may not have the solution to all our problems. Thankfully there is one’s resourcefulness and the internet to get all that important guide.

(Yes, you can opt to keep that huge collection tank at ground level but it is not convenient and is not efficient. It has to be lower for gravity to work its wonders. Image source: http://www.constructionresources.com)

3. Rainwater harvesting system is new and only for a privilege few

I am not sure how the rainwater harvesting system in Malaysia really works but from what I have been reading on the net, for the rainwater harvesting system to really work, you need a proper basement. Then again, see the problem here? No basement means insufficient storage space for the rainwater collected (where else you want to keep your water tanks, the complex filtration system and the water pumps?)

It gets worse if you are living in high-rise apartments – you can only rely on one source of water.

You can try to create some kind of storage with the little space you have in your garden but expensive items laying around on the outside in this country may not be laying around for long. You would have spent thousands of ringgit and time to get that installed just to wake up the next morning to find someone with itchy hands had dismantle it for the scrapyards. Such system had to be inside the house where it does not take up space on the garden and it can be safe from unwanted attention.

4. Solar system is new and no framework to allow home users to utilise alternative energy source

It is the same situation as the case of the rainwater harvesting system – the technology is so new and it is only available for a privileged few (a few who have the space and money). And even with the proposed feed-in tariff (FiT) implementation, the energy generated by the solar panels on your property will not necessarily mean that you will be able to be self-sustain on the energy available.

5. It is not easy to get a gun in this country

I think this is crystal clear to all in this country – there are strict gun laws in this country. Well, it could be a good thing and also a bad thing. The good thing is that we can expect less people to be walking around with guns in their hands at doomsday. Consider this:-

The estimated total number of guns held by civilians in Malaysia is 370,000
The estimated total number of guns held by civilians in the United States is 270,000,000

The rate of private gun ownership in Malaysia is 1.5 firearms per 100 people
The rate of private gun ownership in the United States is 88.8 firearms per 100 people

(Source)

So, how else we can defend ourselves and the family when lawlessness rules the day and enforcement agencies are out of commission? Perhaps I may have watched too many zombie movies but it would not wrong to be holding a powerful shotgun and start to clear a couple of crooks out to injure you and your family and grab whatever little resources that you may have. It is a nice to have scenario but perhaps only in the movies. Not in real life and certainly not in this country.

But having said that, it does not mean that Malaysia is the wrong country to be in – we also have other advantages compared to other countries – there’s plenty of sunshine and rain to keep surviving in bad times. It all depends on individuals on how they want to proceed from there. Let’s start with the easy ones – build proper food & water storage for the family and start growing own vegetables and fruits in whatever space we have (even if we are living in high rise buildings). If this is not possible, then at least equipped yourself with the right knowledge in survival, medicine and DIY skills.

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2012 Updates: Solar Flares


Some “2012” updates for your weekend reading…

(Solar storm is a serious threat around 2012. Both NASA and ESA confirmed the next huge solar storm between September 2012 and May 2013. We all heard about the big one in 1859 and it looks like we are not far away from another one coming our way. Source: Youtube)

From Survive2012:-

Lawrence E Joseph, Patrick Geryl and myself would probably be the 2012 catastrophists that have reached the most people. Something we all proclaim is that our Sun is the most likely source of a 2012 disaster:

We each understand that a solar storm could wipe out power grids and potentially melt down nuclear facilities, leading to many millions of lost lives. That late 2012/ early 2013 is probably the peak of this solar cycle fits well with all three theories.

They further argue this based on these facts:-

Our Solar System is at its “solar max”, meaning the Sun is expected to have a change in magnetism and ultimately will trigger a chain reaction throughout the entire Solar System. Every 11 years we play ‘Russian roulette’ with the sun, and sooner or later we are going to lose that bet. According to scientists, we are in the middle of an 11,500 year cycle of when the ice age returns. It was approximately 11,500 years ago that the world saw its last ice age, starting off with a polar shift. Earth doesn’t have to flip an entire 180 to truly throw off the balance of the Eco-systems and have some devastating effects on the way we live life.

They are predicting long term black out. And as we know that modern life without power (coupled with cascading impact on other areas like water distribution sewage system, banking, etc) even for a couple of days would be a disaster (this in addition to the fact that solar storms produce massive amounts of electromagnetic radiation). Imagine the effect over a couple of months or even years:-

NASA-funded study by the National Academy of Sciences entitled Severe Space Weather Events—Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts. In the 132-page report, experts detailed what might happen to our modern, high-tech society in the event of a “super solar flare” followed by an extreme geomagnetic storm. They found that almost nothing is immune from space weather—not even the water in your bathroom.

The problem begins with the electric power grid. “Electric power is modern society’s cornerstone technology on which virtually all other infrastructures and services depend,” the report notes. Yet it is particularly vulnerable to bad space weather. Ground currents induced during geomagnetic storms can actually melt the copper windings of transformers at the heart of many power distribution systems.

Power outages would be accompanied by radio blackouts and satellite malfunctions; telecommunications, GPS navigation, banking and finance, and transportation would all be affected. Some problems would correct themselves with the fading of the storm: radio and GPS transmissions could come back online fairly quickly.

Other problems would be lasting: a burnt-out multi-ton transformer, for instance, can take weeks or months to repair. The total economic impact in the first year alone could reach $2 trillion, some 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina.

(Source)

Of course in the US, NASA is not sitting on their laurels, waiting for a disaster to happen:-

Reliable forecasting is the key. If utility and satellite operators know a storm is coming, they can take measures to reduce damage—e.g., disconnecting wires, shielding vulnerable electronics, powering down critical hardware. A few hours without power is better than a few weeks.

NASA has deployed a fleet of spacecraft to study the sun and its eruptions. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), the twin STEREO probes, ACE, Wind and others are on duty 24/7. NASA physicists use data from these missions to understand the underlying physics of flares and geomagnetic storms; personnel at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center use the findings, in turn, to hone their forecasts.

But that is in the US. What about Malaysia? How prepared we are to deal with solar storm that may (or may not) hit us unannounced this year? I am not sure if you remembered the major power outage that shut down the national grid for 14 hours in 1996?

It was bad because it happened on a weekend but things went to bad to worse in days. First, we had no electricity which was not so bad because we were staying in an apartment which situated on a hill – so it was not that warm during the night. We could not watch the TV for days but we used that time to catch up on our studies. Then we realized that we had no running water and that took days for the water supply to be back in stages (long after electricity supply was back to normal). I still remember me and my brother hauling buckets of water up 5 floors to our apartment several times when the water truck came visiting us on the second day. I even had to use the toilet and take shower at office for couple of days before we had sense of normality. Guess what is going to happen if the same happens and we are out of electricity and water for months?

A major power blackout in Malaysia is not something new – we had it in 1992, 1996, 2003 and 2005. Some say that it is an act of “sabotage” to allow IPPs to come into the picture with favorable deal but then again, it may not be so. It could mean that the current power generation is simply incapable to cope with the growing demand for more power or we have not taken all the necessary precaution to prevent a major national power blackout.

HOURS after a power failure yesterday, Malaysia’s monopoly power distributor Tenaga Nasional cited a technical fault as the reason for the blackout but said it was baffled as to why it occurred. The three-hour cut in power plunged many buildings in Kuala Lumpur and three southern states in the peninsula into semi-darkness. It was the country’s most widespread power failure since 1996.

When the main busbar malfunctioned, a standby busbar was to have taken over its functions, ensuring smooth transmission of power. But even the backup busbar failed, leaving officials puzzled. There were concerns about whether employees had slipped on maintenance, and Energy Minister Lim Keng Yaik said: ‘We have to find out if there was human error or maintenance not up to the mark.

Tenaga Nasional was ordered to ensure the failure was never repeated. But yesterday it did happen again, though not for long. Datuk Abdul Hadi said, adding that Tenaga Nasional was unhappy it took so long to restore power.

(Source)

The above happened in 2005 and 7 years later, I am sure that Tenaga would have taken even more precautionary steps to prevent another national blackout. It has been some time since we had any major power outage but we should not disregard that we may face a record sized solar storm this year.

The way I see it, the future of our civilization as we know it may head to one of these 2 directions – it will either end abruptly as early as 2012 as mentioned in the Holy Scriptures (or as predicated by the Mayans) or nothing major happens in 2012 and the future will come to a point where the civilization will become so advanced that humans start exploring the universe on a larger scale on warp capable space ships (like in the TV series, Star Trek)

I am hoping for the latter but still we should not ever ignore the possibility of the former and predictions and analysis that comes with it. Happy Tamil New Year.

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2012 – Year of Reckoning


(Countdown – 351 days to “doomsday”)

Let’s count this as a New Year resolution, sort of…

(A well documented natural disaster on video – the Japanese tsunami that killed thousands in a modern, well prepared townships in 2011. Image source: The National Geographic)

Forget the local circus (the possible general elections, BN & PR mud-slinging each other for crucial votes, the end of Anwar’s sodomy case & a seemingly predictable outcome and the yet to be impressed with controls of mismanagement of public funds and corruption) for a couple of months in 2012.

Let’s start with the obvious thing when one mentions about the year 2012 on a rather global sense – the end of the world. The end of the world – aka hari kiamat, judgement day, doomsday, when the fat lady had sung – may sound laughable (more so, we have gotten so comfortable in our surroundings and highly predictable world) but it is not impossible. If you think about it, there is no real evidence that the “end of the world” as predicated by the Mayans but then again, we have this:-

The invading Spanish burned thousands of Mayan books, and only four survived. None of those four tell us what the Mayans thought in terms of mythology. After the Spanish conquest those myths were written down in a book known as the Popol Vuh. The creation myth near the start of the book details cycles of creation and destruction.

Who knows what was lost when the Spanish burned the Mayan books by the thousands (in the same way this happened – now no one will know what lied in those documents)?

We already into 2012 but if you look at calamities in 2011 and the kind of revenge that the Mother Nature took on us, something seemed to suggest that things have gotten worse – the flood in Bangkok city and some parts of Australia, the Japanese tsunami that also crippled a nuclear power plant and earthquakes in New Zealand and around the world. No doubt we have screwed the environmental well enough for us to experience a strange change of weather. It not does mean that 2012 will fare any better.

Thus as result of Spanish’s destruction of Mayan texts and lost of other ancient text, no one will know for sure what lies ahead in future unless someone manages to unearth some new collaborative evidence from some where else. In the meantime, we have nothing but well laid arguments for and against the so-called end of the world predictions on 21st December 2012.

(There is plenty that our ancestors can teach us – after all, they built Pyramids and other wonders of the world without any computers and modern machinery. Image source: http://www.armageddononline.org)

So if you ask me, it is still a “50-50” thing – it may happen for real and we may end up paying high price for our lack of readiness or like the much feared Y2K thing, nothing bad really happens and the morning of 22nd December 2012 would be just another ordinary day. And there seems to be an equal and sizable proponent on both sides of the coin arguing on how valid the predictions for 2012 will be

The thing is it does not matter whether the predictions come true or not – we just have to wait and see when the time comes. However, given the fact that we still have about 11 months and about 16 or less days to go before the so-called deadline expires, it does not harm anyone if we make the necessary planning and be prepared should the unthinkable really happens.

And it needs not something expensive and complex like underground, water-proof bunkers in some secret location in the highlands or special high tech boats like in the movie 2012. That is something for the governments of the day (the one who had anticipated and think ahead) to consider – it may not necessarily be for 2012. There is always a chance for a rogue rock from space to come along and smash on the earth in the future (read here for other possibilities).

And when one talks about getting ready for 2012, one just need to “google” in the internet on things that can be done to ensure some form of survivability if the unthinkable should happen. And that will be one’s focus and tasks for this year – nothing major of course but it does not mean that one need to sleeping on their laurels as well, for one should never dismiss the ancient predictions as trivial.

We have been fore-warned! And oh yes, welcome to 2012.

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One for 2011


(One short post before the end of 2011 and start of 2012)

(Given the right conditions, shots taken with Nokia N8 can be damn good too. Click for higher resolution photos here)

2011 has been a slow year for this blog and I hope things will pick in 2012. On the onset, it looks like 2012 is going to be an interesting year – Mayan predictions aside, we expect to see a couple of things to happen next year. General elections is one but provided there is less of dirty politics on both sides (the critical question would be – can PR still retain Selangor and do better than 2008?), Anwar’s Sodomy 2 verdict (if there is no disruptions to the on-going trial and mayhem created by street protests), a possibly Bersih 3.0 (if the authorities screw things up before the elections), Proton launching their new global car (plenty of spyshots at Paul Tan), a couple of must-watch movies – I am waiting for The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers (ya, count The Hobbit as well), a couple of trips overseas (likely to be work related but educational I am pretty sure) and within Malaysia (planning for East Coast in particular), perhaps MACC catching a couple more of the big fish (the sea of NFC looks too tempting for catch of the year), my son going for swimming classes (finally, his wish comes true), a new addition to family, etc

In the meantime, happy holidays and Happy New Year for all – hopefully 2012 would be a fulfilling and rewarding year compared to 2011

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