Snippets – 21 September 2017

(We all are friends when your enemy is also my enemy. Pakatan Harapan in place of Pakatan Rakyat – they are better organised and led by experienced people in the political area but will they stick together when their individual objective clashes? Image source: The Malaysian Insight)

Hi folks, it has been sometime since I last blogged – frankly speaking, I have been spending more time at other places (some DIYs at home, updating my Facebook, watching Youtube, playing games, etc) instead of blogging. But it does not mean I have not been keeping up with the news – unfortunately there is more depressing news on where this country is heading. In fact, this particular post and the title had been on a draft mode for months and had undergone several edits so don’t be surprised if you are reading very old news here.

As the date of the next general election draws nearer, I have to say that political situation in this country have continued to get stupid, weird and illogical. The oppositions have finally decided to ditch PAS (although a lifeline still extended to PAS by PKR) and formed Pakatan Harapan in place of the crumbling Pakatan Rakyat but it still shaky alliance with PAS leaning towards more to BN than PH & threaten a 3 corner fight at the elections and the inclusion of Dr M as one of the leaders for Pakatan Harapan had not gone well with some die-hard PH supporters.

But at least, the Pakatan fellows are a bit more organised than before and with Anwar still locked up, they truly need a strong leader to kick start things and no one could it better than Dr M.

The King’s Speech

Recently, I was attracted to a speech that I heard recently – the speech by His Majesty Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V in conjunction with his installation As 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong and in particular on his point on unity & good morals:-

As has been proven, people of all races professing different faiths, as well as varied cultures and lifestyles, are able to live together in peace and harmony and have mutual respect for each other.

I hope Malaysians will remain as one in maintaining unity, be tolerant, and collectively assume their responsibilities to the state, because this has been our uniqueness and source of our strength all these years.

I hope Malaysians will continue to adhere to good moral values and ethics. Be honourable, knowledgeable and respectable individuals who are aware their responsibilities to the country.

(Transcript Source)

Re-read what His Majesty have emphasised and let your mind immerse in it for a moment –

  1. Proven that people of all races professing different faiths, as well as varied cultures and lifestyles, are able to live together in peace and harmony and have mutual respect for each other.
  2. An united people of all races professing different faiths, as well as varied cultures and lifestyles has been our uniqueness and source of our strength all these years.

In this country, more often people are divided either based on race or religion and on rare occasion, both race and religion (read Dr M’s – Kafirkah Saya?). This needs to change or we will lose Malaysia as we know it.

That is why I trust that it is a timely advice from His Majesty to the screwed politicians out there who in my mind, lack the will power or the political desire to strengthen the unity among the people and who have often acted opposite of the ideals of “honourable, knowledgeable and respectable”.

And it is a not a big secret that the closer the election gets, the more sensitive decisions will be by those in the power which is based on race or religion just to ensure they get the votes.

Division by Race

The fact that the 3 main political parties in the Government are divided by race says alot about unity of people in this country. Bangsa Malaysia and in recent years, 1Malaysia had remained as a pretty slogans and nothing more.

It is for the same reason why I rather not have Hindraf running for politics and instead work with a more multi racial political parties like DAP and PKR. We don’t need another Indian political party that will only look after the Indians & not the rest of Malaysians – not in the year of 2017.

And talking about classification by race, back in July, the notion of Bumiputera (aka Sons of the Land) was stirred up but from a very unlikely source:-

The government will study in depth the request from the Indian Muslim community to be recognised as Bumiputera, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said last night.


The question is why now and why only Indian Muslim?

What about Chinese Muslims? What about other races who are not Muslims who have been in this country for generations and have sacrificed their time, money and blood for the nation? I know for fact that the war against the Communist would not be successful without the brave Chinese special branch officers and the ultimate sacrifices that they made.

What about Orang Asli – the original Bumiputeras – who have been in this country longer than anyone else?

The Beer Festival Fiasco

(To tell you the truth, I was not aware of this beer festival until PAS made it as a big issue. Image source: TheStar)

PAS today called an annual craft beer festival here next month a “vice festival,” warning that Kuala Lumpur could become known as Asia’s vice centre if such programmes carry on unobstructed.

“The hatred of the majority community towards vice activities should also be given attention and celebrated, not only celebrate the desires of some humans that worship their desires,” he said, further warning that there could be “extremist” actions when society is unable to accept the “treachery” and feel under pressure


Such rants from PAS fellows are nothing new – they have been making noise on beers all these years but the problem is they often protest based on flimsy reasons and ignore the giants in the room. This is why they lose their credibility. I mean have you seen any protest from them on pressing issues like the flood mitigation in Kelantan (which happens on yearly basis), increase of HIV cases in the state, abuses in 1MDB, Tabung Haji and Mara and the growth of ISIS influences in the region? And yet, they protest against a festival that is held once a year and only opened to non-Muslims (actually it is held more for foreign tourists) and held indoors where Muslims can easier barred from entering.

And if beer festival is deemed a vice festival, then how PAS justify the many pubs, coffee shops and supermarkets that are selling alcohol on the daily basis and since the British days? Pubs that I know are usually jam packed on Saturdays. And how many drunken driving you heard of in the papers on daily basis against other more serious crimes like robbery and snatch thefts? I see more idiots on the road on daily basis who drive as if they are drunk to the core and yet sober – they poses danger to other road users even without any beer festivals.

Although tasting “250 beers from 43 breweries worldwide” was rather tempting, frankly speaking I rather have cold beer at the comfort of my home whilst watching a good movie. Seriously PAS use of religion against the beer festival is certainly misplaced.

I guess this why we have people like this 21 years old in this country who is bend on killing non-Muslims and destroying worship places of the non Muslims. Just like Zakir Naik who often talks bad about other religions so to promote Islam, you cannot call your religion as compassionate & peaceful if you are going to kill others who have different beliefs from you.

So it was not surprised when the beer festival at the end of the day got cancelled.

Festival organiser, MyBeer, confirmed the cancellation with “disappointment” on Monday.

“At our meeting with DBKL [Kuala Lumpur City Hall] officials, we were instructed to cancel our event as there are issues with the licensing,” it said. “We were further informed that the decision was made due to the political sensitivity surrounding the event.”


If it had been cancelled due to organisers had not fulfilled the approval requirements, it would have highly understandable but to say that it is cancelled due to the political sensitivity surrounding the event leads back to the notion that an event for the non-Muslims was cancelled due to the protests by PAS. The government had not banned beers or even decided to ban beer festivals so why DBKL is citing political sensitivity now?

Now MCA says that it was cancelled due to security concerns – if so, who made the threats first? Didn’t PAS promised that there could be “extremist” actions if the festival went ahead? Isn’t this sound ridiculous when you have beer sales and parties on a weekly basis elsewhere and it is safe for the patrons but when PAS protest on it, the event becomes unsafe for the patrons? Will we be cancelling other non-Muslim functions / events in the future whenever there is a protest and threat of security?

It is not a big secret that PAS uses religion as their political agenda and often use it to further their political mileage.

And this is more obvious when PAS proposed the changes under RUU355 (Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355)) although it is about amending an existing law had in existence last 33 years. End of the day, we know that it has nothing to do with religion but rather it is politics. This is why the opposition to RUU355 should not be construed as anti-Islam.

Even the Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali sees it as a political move:-

“The purpose and intention of this is to reap political mileage. Have you heard anybody from the public clamouring for increase of powers of the shariah court? No, nobody asking is asking for it, isn’t it?

“To my reading, it is mainly political. He (Hadi) has to satisfy the states that have already established hudud laws.


Always remember that united people of all races professing different faiths, as well as varied cultures and lifestyles has been our uniqueness and source of our strength for many years. Don’t change that. Never lose our uniqueness.

Have a great weekend ahead and happy holidays to all


MH370: Time to Reassess the Shortcomings


(Substitute the chill beer, wine and other liquors on a board with locally made, sugar high cendol and a plane is guaranteed not to crash into the sea – so says a joker in Malaysia. Perhaps he is right but then again this is not the right time and the place to say these things. Some people just don’t get it, do they? Image source:

The fate of the missing plane has somehow been determined – more or less. We can only say our deepest condolences to the families of the crew and passengers of MH370 and hope they would find some kind of closure and peace over the lost of their loved ones. MH370 will be remembered.

Despite this affirmation after 4 weeks into the incident, this however does not mean it would be the end – we still have the daunting task of finding the MH370’s black box. As one Australian commander had said, it is not an issue of finding the needle in a haystack but rather it is an issue of finding the haystack first. And once this is found (no doubt will be with great difficulty), we will still a long way to go before we can determine with surgical certainty on what had really happened to MH370. It’s our solemn duty to ensure that we get down to the actual reason for the MH370 deviating from its original flight path and ending up in the Indian Ocean. It’s strange that a plane that was heading north ended up deep south for no good reason.

Having said this, we should not also lose sight of the existing weaknesses that need to be addressed to avoid a similar incident in the near future. And over the last few weeks, other than the need to relook into how we can improve on crisis management, there have been calls to relook into beef up the security and control at airports:-

Has Malaysia paid a high price with its Third World standards and attitude towards security and asset management issues, was the question posed by a veteran newsman when commenting on the missing Malaysia Airlines Beijing-bound flight MH370.

Former New Straits Times editor-in-chief Datuk A. Kadir Jasin said that while waiting for news on the missing MH370, it cannot be denied that the control and security checks at Malaysian airports, including the Kuala Lumpur International Airport can be said to be “relaxed” compared with those in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.

“Is this the repercussion for the corruption, abuse of power and negligence which have reportedly happened repeatedly in KLIA?” he asked in his latest blog posting, adding his voice to the growing criticism over poor airport security at the country’s main gateway.


As angry as Kadir Jasin may be, one cannot dismiss the fact that the 2 Iranians had easy ride out from KLIA on fake passports and this does raises some serious questions on the security and controls in our airports. Even if the 2 Iranians had come in legitimately (using Iranian passport), then why no red flags raised when they exited on fake passports? Why didn’t the system showed the Immigration officers that no one had entered using the fake passport (for them to exit with the same passport)? Is because our immigration system does not keep track of passports details coming in and out OR is it because some one had been careless and failed to check this important fact?

MACC seemed to have an answer:-

“However, we did find that the Iranians managed to slip through due to the policy of speeding up the clearance of foreign visitors. “We recommend that the government gives more weight to security to prevent such instances instead of giving priority to customer oriented service,” he said during a briefing session on “Is MACC Credible?” at Wisma Bernama, here Monday.

He added that it was quite impossible for Immigration to check all passports against Interpol’s system which lists more than 40 million missing passports in a short time.


Unfortunately, it is not a good answer as this also means criminals, terrorists and other parasites of the society have an easy way in and out of the country. And in MH370, we were dealing with Iranians. What about the string of the so-called Nigerian students who come to this country for nothing but scams and drug peddling? It seems to be on the rise too. When we going to ban these parasite “students” outright from coming to this country and contributing to the crime statistics? When another plane goes missing? When there have been a massive shootout in public over a failed drug deals?

And then there is an issue of the failure of the Malaysian military to properly track and intercept a commercial plane that had deviated from its flight path. This issue has been a big question for many people.

The Time reports:-

The world wants to know how a rogue Boeing 777 can fly at will over Malaysia without military jets being scrambled. “Clearly they had let an unidentified aircraft pass through Malaysian sovereign territory without bothering to identify it; not something they were happy to admit,” writes aviation consultant David Learmount, who had previously decried “a chaotic lack of coordination between the Malaysian agencies.”

The Malaysian military spotted the missing jet passing through three military radars over the country’s far northeast, before it headed out over the Strait of Malacca. But despite its erratic behaviour, the American-made F-18s and F-5 fighters on alert at Butterworth Air Force base sat idle. Had the jets been scrambled, the world would have been saved a massive and extraordinary search operation.

“There was clearly a significant failure of response on behalf of the Malaysian Air Force. There’s no real way around it and you might imagine heads would roll for that,” says Anthony Davis, Bangkok-based analyst for defence-and-security-intelligence firm IHS-Jane.


And this:-

According to the NYT report, a four-person air force crew based in Butterworth watching for intrusions into the country’s airspace either did not notice or failed to report a blip on their defensive radar and air traffic radar that was moving steadily across the country from east to west, heading right towards them.

Even the crews at two other radar installations at Kota Baru did not designate the blip as an unknown intruder, while the jetliner continued to fly across the country without anyone watching or alerting a superior or the national defence command, despite the fact that the radar contact’s flight path did not correspond to any filed flight plan.

And as a result, combat aircraft never scrambled to investigate.


Once again, the question is whether it is a failure of the system or the people behind the system? And it cast a dark shadow on the integrity of our air defence system and tracking of what flying in and out of the country (never say that Malaysia is immune to attacks like the 9/11, not after we had the Sulu intrusion in the past).

Then RMAF responded with this:-

In revealing this today, Deputy Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Bakri said the air force decided to ignore the radar signal because the aircraft was categorised as non-hostile in nature.

“We thought the aircraft was non-hostile, we assumed it was a directive of the control tower that had directed the plane to turn back,” he told the Dewan Rakyat today.

Many have pointed out that a telephone call from the military to the air traffic control on that morning could have alerted the tragedy, saved lives and millions of ringgit used for the search and rescue operations. The civilian air traffic control was also faulted for not raising the alarm when the aircraft went missing off its radar.


Now that is out in the open, it is unsettling to know that the military assume things (some commentators mentioned being lazy) when they detect something out of the ordinary. And there seems to be a massive breakdown of escalations when the DCA failed to contact the plane.

Moving on, here’s one to turn your stomach around and puke in disguise:-

Amid the frantic search for the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370, a pro-government Islamic talk-show host has drawn up a list of lessons to be learnt from this saga, including the advice that female flight attendants be allowed to don the hijab. Ridhuan, in the Sinar Harian column, also urged Malaysia Airlines not to imitate Western values and suggested the airline stopped serving liquor on its flights.

“Those who ask for liquor are those who are used to drinking. Distract them with more nutritious local food like cendol and such,” said Ridhuan, referring to the sweet coconut milk dessert.


Frankly speaking, I don’t know whether this supersedes the Bomoh coconut clown show at KLIA in this crisis but thing for sure, it by far most, this has to be one of the dumbest statement coming from a fellow Malaysian. Then again, there’s nothing new from this Chinese who tries too hard to be a Malay.

One would just hope that the foreign media does not pick up this little bit of insult and turn it around for another round of laughter at the expense of the missing crew, passengers and the country as whole. It is dangerous too as he now implies that the plane had crashed only because the airline had served liquors and female flight attendants not wearing to the “right” uniform. Has he forgotten that the iconic current uniform itself is a modern manifestation of the baju kebaya, itself is part of the Malay traditional dress? On the case of liquor, no one is forcing anyone in the plane to take them – it is just part of the service. Just fly Emirates (the largest airline in the Middle East) and you will know.

Didn’t I say that this has to be one of the dumbest statement coming from a fellow Malaysian, did I? The joker is barking on the wrong side of the tree.

Let’s focus on what is more important in respect to the tragedy and have some courtesy and due respect to all those who had perish in this tragedy and hope we make amend on shortcomings without any delays so that the nation will not face another tragedy at this scale.

Childhood Memories – Part 26

Read the whole series here


(No Deepavali is ever complete without the crunchy murukus – I am sure everyone agrees on that. Photo taken on Deepavali last year)

Certainly Deepavali was not like how it used to be back those days, some how some things have changed, don’t you think so? Perhaps it is because we have grown up and life has gotten slightly more complicated or perhaps large family gathering getting out of fashion these days, I don’t know.

Back then, the tasks for Deepavali celebrations actually starts couple days (sometimes weeks) before the actual date. Two things happen before we celebrate Deepavali – the making of Deepavali cookies (the usual “culprits” are there – achi-muruku, muruku, butter biscuits, etc) and shopping for new clothes. The making of Deepavali cookies was done on a “gotong-royong” basis with a number of neighbors (or my aunties if we had gone to my grandma’s house couple days earlier) and all the kids pitching in. All share the cost of purchasing the raw materials and the hard work of mixing the flour, the ghee, the sugar, the eggs and finally the cooking. As kids however, it was not hard work but rather it was a fun thing to do especially when my Mom passes some of the work to press the murukku to us and we try to outdo each other with the best shape that we can do without breaking the pressing (although excitement runs out fast and we all soon will get bored to help out).

Shopping for new clothes however had to wait until the last minute when my Dad gets his pay (sometimes with some extra festive pay from his Boss). If the pay is good (provided my Dad did not take too many medical leave for the month), we can look forward to more than 1 pair of new clothes but if it is not, we were more than happy to have just one new T-shirt (and all others recycled from previous years). No matter what, our parents made sure we had something new to wear on Deepavali although they often do not buy new clothes for themselves. We would then rush to the one place we can expect to buy new clothes dirt cheap – Petaling Street (back then, we did not have pasar-malam or hypermarkets near our place)

The night before Deepavali

This is far more important than the morning of Deepavali itself – for one reason only – the prayers to my late grandfather and my youngest uncle (both from my mother’s side) who had passed away when I was still small. We usually do a quick prayers for my grandfather and grandmother (from my father side) couple of hours before we take the bus all the way to Serdang (change bus half way in Puduraya) and to my grandma’s house where my grandma and my aunties had already prepared for the prayers – the hall has been half cleaned, the chicken & the glorious dishes have been cooked and the altar has been readied.

We would arrive at my Grandma’s house hungry and tired but very excited. We would place our new clothes at the altar and head for a quick shower (my grandma would insist on it). Then the prayers starts with all at the front of the altar and taking turn to do our own prayers asking for blessing and hope for a better year ahead. Once that is done, we would have our dinner and it will be one of the best dinners we will have for the year with chicken, mutton, prawns and more. But that is not the end of the activities for the day – the house would still be in a mess so after dinner, we will start with even more cleaning and decorating of the house. Whilst the ladies get themselves busy with the usual cleaning, changing of the curtains & sofa cover and making more murukus & preparing for breakfast in the kitchen, one of my aunties would started “drafting” kolam using chalk at the main entrance (she kept a scrap book full of various designs). Once done, I would be assigned to paint the kolam with white paint as my cousins would be busy with other cleaning tasks.

It would be quite late before we go to our beds. Even so, as we are sound asleep, my aunties, my mom and my grandma would be still be awake, doing last minute cleaning and cooking. We have no idea what time they actually go to sleep but one thing we are sure of – they are first to be up before us next morning.

The morning on Deepavali

We would be fast asleep when we would be “rudely” awakened early in the morning. No thanks to the late bedtime the night before (or early morning), we would be struggling to even open our eyes. My mom on the other hand would be the next person standing by our bed and making sure we march off to the bathroom for our morning shower. And she expects us to do it without further delays as we need to do the morning prayers before breakfast can be served and they need to serve breakfast early for my uncles and my Dad. So there was no excuse for late prayers (it some how changed a couple of years later where we were allowed to wake up late). Perhaps due to my Mom’s persistence or the prayers songs in the background, we would somehow forced ourselves off the bed and stand up but with our eyes still closed. My grandma would come over and rub the oil on our head and leave us alone to catch up on bit more sleep whilst waiting for the bathroom to be free (being at the grandma’s house means the kids gets VVIP treatment – hot water all readied by the time we are ready for our morning bath).

Breakfast was simple – hot thosai with spicy chicken curry but that is the beauty of it. Simple but heavenly delicious and there is no end of hot thosai served on our plates. We were made sure that we had a very hearty breakfast before we don the new Deepavali clothes – all waiting for us at the altar from last night.

The rest of the day on Deepavali

The activities for the rest of the day on Deepavali are usually divided into 2. First, to entertain my uncle’s guests who will visit him without fail every year – kids had to make sure that the drinks (soft drinks and beers) are replenished on time. And my uncle usually have 10 – 15 guests coming in all at the same time, so imagine the chaos the living hall would be. And they usually come for lunch, so my aunties, my Mom and my grandma would be very busy as well in the kitchen. We kids need not be around all the time – our “services” is usually needed at the start of this activity. Once done, we would be busy with the second activity for the day – playing (and more importantly experimenting) with firecrackers. We usually start playing the usual way of playing firecrackers but boredom would soon get better of us. We would “open” up the firecrackers and use the powder to blow up things at the garden including ants colony (ya, we were Ants Bully too once)

Soon after lunch and after my uncle’s guests had left, it would be time for other guests to come over. It is also time for the ladies in the house to get a break from all that cleaning and cooking. It was also time to watch the Deepavali special on the television (another round would at night – still remember Dunhill Blockbuster those days?). It is also time for us kids to visit the neighbors. No afternoon nap on the first day of Deepavali – it is either watching TV or munching up the murukus or playing firecrackers.

The night on Deepavali

Another round of good delicious food to be savored on Deepavali night as we would get another stream of guests at night – mostly from aunties’ side. We would soon get busy watching another “blockbuster” movie (the same movie that we had seen on pirated VCDs but just clearer version this time around). But soon, we would get bored again and it was time for another experiment with the firecrackers. However, we had to do that at the side of the house, away from the front where my Dad and my uncles are having their drinking session and their long chat. It is one of the rare moments when you can get everyone at one place and enjoying themselves. One or two experiment gone wrong from the side of the house (it usually do but without anyone getting hurt) would be enough the disrupt the drinking session at the front and sends one of my uncles to come over to check and see what the kids are doing – a quick reminder on safety and we are let off to continue. By now, the tiredness for past 2 days of preparation and waking up in the morning would have started to settle in. Nonetheless, it would be late before we go off to sleep, waking very late the next day. Things are so different these days.

And before we go off on holidays and get high on murukus & beers, I leave you with this quotable quote (good one, Durai) to ponder through during the holidays:-

“PM even announced that the cut in sugar subsidy would actually help to improve our sex life; which is important because the government needs to fuck us all the time”

Hulu Selangor Poser 4

With no new ideas, it has now turned into a “battle of the bottles”, so some quarters say.

Malaysiakini reports:-

Former Selangor Umno liaison chief Dr Mohd Khir Toyo believes that the repeated attacks on PKR Hulu Selangor by-election candidate Zaid Ibrahim’s past as a drinker was a good campaign strategy.

The move to highlight Zaid’s admission that he used to consumed alcohol in his younger days was a way to discourage PAS’ grassroots from supporting the former minister, said Khir.

If that is true, perhaps Khir can comment on this:-

(No word on the street that Kamalanathan also drinks but Indians are known to take alcohol like water. Image source:

Interestingly the above evidence did not come as an “issue” during the last general election (in fact, there was pin drop silence from people like Khir on this). Is it because when it comes to BN, past is past, bygones are bygones and not for others?

Even if we accept that Zaid used to be a drinker, does it really matters?

RPK said this in Malaysia Today:-

Zaid, in turn, is being whacked for his alleged ‘drinking habit’. Okay, let us say he does. So he drinks. So what?

Does he buy his drinks using the taxpayers’ money? Does he rob the rakyat to support his drinking habit? Is his liquor being bought using our money? Or does he indulge with his own money and not the money he stole from us?

So you see, even if he does drink, and I am not saying he does, does he hurt any of us or only himself?

Compare that with this news:-

Bakti members comprising wives of ministers and deputy ministers, who were travelling home via Europe, had to reschedule their return as most airports in the continent remained closed due to lingering volcanic ash from Iceland.

The group, which arrived here on Thursday after visiting a children’s handicap centre and a youth high-risk centre in Washington last week

(Source: TheStar)

Surely there are not “drinkers” in the eyes of BN but how much of tax payers’ money went into their travel expenses, accommodations, shopping and “sounds important to justify the trip but it is not” visits to handicap and youth centres crap.

What is the need for the Bakti members to be travelling to US and returning via Europe (cough for “shopping”?) when they do similar “welfare” work right here in Malaysia?

And some people say corruption is at a manageable level in Malaysia. I rest my case – Zaid can have all the drinks he wants (not that he wants it) but he will come out cleaner than some of the people claiming to be better.


It looks like beer, it smells like beer and the people are drinking as it is beer but certainly it is not beer.

(Great stuff from Holland!)

Iran, I guess is the second country that I have been to without any drop of cold beer. Brunei was the other country although I could have brought a crate of beer after declaring to the customs. Interestingly there are plenty of non-alcoholic drinks from local and European breweries to choose from here. And the drinks which come in many colourful can also come in many flavours – plain, lemon, apple, etc. And here is one part of the drinking “style” that I found very peculiar in a country who not only allows anyone to beer in the open but also bans the sales of beer – that the non-alcoholic drink is served in the same nature of serving alcoholic beer – in a iced beer mug.

Malaysia certainly is the best to be drinking beer although these times beer is not cheap. I say it is the best because very rarely I drink alone – there are always friends, colleagues or cousins who are more than willing to be my beer drinking buddies. The thing is I have cut down a lot on drinking beer – one is for slowing down the ever growing tummy and another is due to the fact that beer in Malaysia is not cheap. The day when I can say that “beer is cheaper than water” to my Aussie friend is a far, far away.

(You may have mistaken this for some beer drinking session in some coffee shop in Malaysia)

Ghana is one country where beer was kind of free-flow. It is cheaper but was more diluted as well. One needs to drink 2 large bottle of lager before one can feel the drunkenness a distance away. Perhaps we Malaysians are so used of having heavier content alcohol in our beers that when we are in Ghana, the local beers almost tasted like water. It was indeed diluted. But the locals usually can get drunk with just one small bottle – one of those unexplained funny paradoxes that I encountered when I travelled abroad.

For now, I had to do with non alcoholic lemon flavour drink as my nearest replacement for a good old mug of cold beer, at least until the next round of beer drinking session with friends and cousins.

Read Also

The joke on beer

Beer ban again?

The beer walk

Trip to Brunei – Part 3

It is said that 97% of Brunei’s income comes from the oil & gas industry

It is therefore is not a big surprise that there seems to be a lack of tourism spots and opportunity in the city. Having said, it does not mean Brunei is not trying to promote its tourism sector, something that they will need when the oil runs out one day. There are plenty of tour guides and operators available in the phone directory but the problem is there is not much for one who wishes to venture out on their own. One would hardly see taxis around and during my stay in Brunei; I think I only saw probably 2 empty cabs.


Shopping was one attractive and we went to “The Mall” which supposes to be one of the largest shopping mall in the city. Admittedly the size of the “biggest” mall in town is far smaller than some of the “smaller” one we have back in Malaysia. Within couple of minutes, I have walked the whole mall and found something was lacking. There were plenty of shops to meet almost everyone’s desire but as a tourist, a cheap souvenir shop was lacking. There were supermarkets and food malls for the local but then again, we have the same thing back at home.


Feeling somehow disappointed, I came out and decided to go for a drink in one of the cafes along the walkway. In a normal situation, I would have ordered a cold beer and a small bowl of crunchy nuts and sat at strategic angle to watch beautiful girls walking by. But here in Brunei, that was something impossible. Brunei was an “alcohol free” country although drinking alcohol is permissible in private. I end up ordering iced coffee and a muffin. This was sad indeed but at least I got the angle to watch beautiful girls walking by.


We drove around town and most of them were government buildings that looked more interesting. We reached the main gate of the Sultan of Brunei’s palace but we did not get far. The gates were locked and the palace was “hidden” from sight by trees. If I had stayed longer till Hari Raya, I could have gone into the palace during their open house and probably shook my hands with one of the richest man around. But I did not have the time and therefore had to content with a snap shot of the gates of the palace. Besides, the guards at the main gate were getting suspicious and started to focus on me.


Hotels are plenty and come in various prices, qualities and locations. The cream of all would probably be The Empire Hotel & Country Club, a short distant away from the city centre. It seems to have almost everything and it is next to the sea. I liked the main area with its huge pillars and high ceilings and marble floors. It was almost like I was walking in the Sultan’s palace but without much restrictions and protocols.

At end of the day, we went out looking for souvenirs – something that loudly says “I wuz in Brunei”. We found one small shop with a lot of souvenirs for tourists but many of things there was way too expensive, at least for budget travellers like me. A simple key chain costs about RM7 and the same thing cost less than RM1 back in Malaysia (I got 2 for RM1 once)

Oh Fuck! Aftermath

Got a call from my cousin on Friday night


(At about RM23 per pint, the German beer that we had last week was one of the smoothest – we have found our watering hole for premium beers)

Cousin: Hello bro, I am stuck in traffic jam and I am still near my office. Even motorcyclists are having problem squeezing through the traffic

Me: Hmmm, so how tomorrow?

Cousin: Any free dates in August?

Me: Found one (mentioned the date) but it will be very tight – cannot afford to postpone

Cousin: I am free on that date

Me: So, tomorrow postponed. But any other plans for tomorrow?

Cousin: Let’s have a gathering at home, cook up some spicy chicken curry and have cold beer for lunch and in the evening whilst still drunk; let’s go for some German beer

Me: I approve that!