29 December 2011

An unforgettable urinating experience in the Land of the dragon

It may sounds a bit weird or perhaps utterly nonsense to have such an exceptional eye-opening experience during my inaugural and virgin trip to the Land of the dragon which somehow has something related with the loo. In fact it is aptly unfitting to discuss this intimate subject matter in an open forum especially in the first paragraph of a would-be epic journey that I will remember in years to come. The loo by itself presented me with a new life perspective and invaluable insight into what our life would be without a toilet.

This time around the visit to this part of the world really tickled and aroused all my senses. I can still smell that signatory pungent odour even when I type this particular paragraph, or at least the smell kept lingering in my subconscious mind, perhaps for the time being until I come across some other form of life-changing moment.

Modern China was a new territory for me. All this while I kept hearing about the Chinese majestic and huge stone walls and gates, the legendary and hidden myth of the many opulent palaces, the serene and splendour of beautiful landscapes, the food, the people and all the unique cultural splendour associated with that big continent.Those vivid images became like a moving wall paper in my head. This time I got to see them all with my own eyes.

At the time of my visit to Beijing- the Northern capital of China, it was quite chilly, dusty and overcrowded mainly with Peking duck eating dim sum. My first impression on this inanimate metropolis was quite monotonous and lifeless. Perhaps because there was not much colour to feast my eyes during this cold season of the year.Or probably I had already embedded in my mind a preconceive idea that all big metropolis are similar - pollution, rush hour, shellfish and lack of warm hospitality.

One thing for sure, Beijing is no more a sleeping giant and really geared up to become another world economy superpower. Everywhere I turned my head to there were new commercial high-rises being erected. These uninviting sight was really an eyesore to me though. Hutong, a collective name that describe traditional and ancient courtyard residences that was build thousands of year ago is fast disappearing to make way for modern but nondescript skyscrapers. I was actually looking forward to spend some time mesmerized myself with the old China, walking slowly in the narrow Hutong alleys and blending myself with the local people. It never materialised. Five days in Beijing was never enough to deeply get to know this place. I should have spent my entire life there to do so.

I think my bladder is quite full now and it is time for me to visit the loo - this time minus the smell of course.

If you can't speak a word in Mandarin or any local dialects of which could be hundreds of them, I am very sure you will have the highest possibility of going nowhere or worst thing get lost. I was quite lucky because one of my fellow companions can speak Mandarin very well (as he should be)- somehow he told me, he himself got so confused and found out it was sometimes very difficult to communicate with the local. That's the way to go Mr OCW and thanks for being a good traveling companion and our indispensable translator!

Niujie mosque is the oldest and largest mosque in Beijing (996 AD) and was innitiated by an Arabic scholar Nasuruddin. The chinese influence was heavily incorporated - at the first glimpse from outside I thought this was a Chinese temple.

As it was almost past noon, my empty tummy had more command than my head. I was quite pleased to know that the whole surrounding area of the Niujie mosque was lined by halal restaurants. We just gatecrashed into one of the nearest restaurant and the meal here was very
appetizing and tasty.

Tuck in Mr OCW! We didn't realize the portion was that big and even though the three of us were very very hungry that day, still we could not finish and wallop all the dishes. Tapau meh...

It seemed finding a good and halal restaurant was not that difficult after all. That was the only time when I didn't require the service of my mandarin-speaking friend as the signage was written in Arabic. This one was right across the road on the east side of the Tiananmen square, only a few meteres from the National Museum of Beijing. The oxtail soup was marvellous - my friend told me, for me as usual I went for nasi.

This pair of insulated glove permanently mounted on the handle of a moped symbolised the creativity of people in China. Probably the most common sight during winter. I wouldn't try to put my hand inside those gloves though.

I like this photo especially my good-friend pose of which reminded me of the yesteryears in the high school. Leaning against the ornate wooden wall of the Hall of Supreme Harmony inside the Forbidden city, he posed just like a pop yeh yeh stud.

Beijing has a rich history and a fair share of foreign invasions. This big gold jar which meant to contain water for fire-fighting inside the Imperial palace was scrapped for its precious

The sad remnant of Hutong around Beijing. It was not a good sight to see and I was really hoping the next time I visit Beijing there are still some preserved Hutong that survive the brutal onslaught from Beijing fast modernization.

This almost post-card perfect photo (by my own definition) was taken in the Beijing Botanical garden. The water of the lake was frozen hard and almost ready for some nickampook to ice-skate on it.

As I strolled slowly following the quiet path around the lake inside the Botanical garden I noticed this man gracefully practising some form of martial art. Perhaps a Tai Chi. I sat down and watched this man performing his unique moves until one of my colleagues asked me to join in "ajak le dia bersilat bro"

The day we visited the Summer palace it was predicted to be covered with snow. It never happened (the snow fell two days after we left Beijing). It was ear-biting

On our first night, after a few hours of self-acclimatization in the comfort of our hotel, we took a 40 minute trailblazing taxi ride north to the Olympic village to see this beautiful architecture called the Watercube. I personally thing this building looks much better in the night and very photogenic too with lot of distinctive curvy shapes.

Another architecture wonder, Beijing National stadium which is also known as The Bird's nest just a few steps away from The Water cube.

Scaling the stone path of the Great wall is not a joke. It really requires stamina and determination. I only managed less that one kilometer and I know age is catching up too. I should have jogged

Another great view at another section of the Great wall. It is the Badaling section of the wall which is quite popular by tourist for its 'friendliness' and considered quite forgiving for an ageing traveller like me.

14 December 2011

Uncharted mind clogged by rubbish

The lone siput babi that slowly inched away on the bonnet of my car one blissful morning must has some powerful dose of aphrodisiac properties that invoked my dormant state of mind. The docile neurons immediately sprung up and erratically scrambled the right signals to activate the brain. The urge to put some life into my long-forgotten blog was irresistibly strong.

The pace of my life has to be dangerously close to the lightning speed, especially during last two quarters of this year. It superseded the sonic boom barrier. I've almost lost count of the passing days. My life has been very hectic but yet very fulfilling. Many things happened which undoubtedly make this life very interesting. Even though I am no longer chasing the rainbow and never intended to, I found the colors of the rainbow are becoming more and more beautiful each day. From my years of observation, I realized that chasing the rainbow can be very hazardous and detrimental to health especially to the aging people like me. The rainbow will come if you are at the right time and right place - God willing.

Despite the momentary lapse of time and I missed all the fun in this wonderful Blogosphere, I can't help myself but wondering - why on earth this slow-pace and interesting creature has to be called by that undeserving name? Which part of the snail resembles a "babi"? The look? The behavior? Or simply because our jolly good nasi-lemak-eating nation found it very amusing to label anything with such a weird name. Perhaps these questions can be addressed in a more academic manner and become a good sociological study in one of our local universities that of late sprouted mysteriously in abundance. Perhaps "The babiness of a lone siput babi" could be a good title.

Somehow, I have to thank that particular siput babi for tickling my brain and become a good precursor for my brain to start wondering again on some rubbish issues. Most importantly I thank that siput babi for making me realize that I still have a blog.

23 August 2011

Ahhhhh...no wonder my pinnacle is wilting!

Yesterday I went to Putrajaya for not one but two reasons. First was to attend a nerve-wrecking high-impact meeting with the very high ranking Gomen officials, and another less important but significant reason was to personally inhale the fresh air of Putrajaya. Despite many tourist buses with full load of eye-pollutants that roamed the area (especially near the Putra mosque), indeed the air was lighter and friendlier to my lung as compared to my sanctuary in Sg. Buloh. It was raining cats and dogs too but that didn't bother me much to cover my wilting head as I know the acid level is considerably low in Putrajaya - average pH of 6.06 (look at the above table). I can only assume that miss Afida of Putrajaya will lead an acid-free life and probably live a thousand years more.

Hard it may seem, it is now scientifically proven that my area, Sg. Buloh has the worst rainwater quality (average pH of 5.47) in term of acidic level as compared to the other sampling areas, which also explains the reason why my head feel lighter and lighter each day as the vegetation up there is getting thinner and thinner. This rainwater result however puzzled me as all this while I though I am living in a safe haven full of oxygen-rich rubber trees, which act as a good guardian against all the bad elements. Looking around me however reveals some sinister fact of which I failed to notice all these years. There are rubber processing factories that whenever in operation emit nauseating odor, numerous laboratories that discharge copious amount of volatile corrosive vapor into the atmosphere, chemical stores (nobody seems to care if there is any leakage or not) and zombies with bad mouth odor that move around aimlessly in the compound. My playground has becoming a dangerous place to be.

Kerteh is a clear winner in this test (average pH 6.41). It has the best rainwater quality. In fact MULAN can save a lot of her water bill by just collecting rainwater not only for her domestic use but also for their consumption too as the pH range for drinking water is around 6.5 - 8. Actually I didn't expect Kerteh to have such a good air quality (which cause acid rain) as Kerteh is very close to a big oil refinery plant that continuously vomiting gasses from its huge distillery that rival any alien cities. I think its location close to the shore with load of gusty wind that blows inland has a cleansing effect to the atmosphere. With such good air quality probably Kerteh is a good place for me to settle down in the future (after pencen lah).

Result from Cheras (5.95), K. brang (5.85), Kuching (6.14) and Pokok sena (5.95) exhibit almost a similar good rainwater quality and can be considered quite normal on a slightly acidic level. They still don't fall below pH 5.6 (a level that is considered acidic). By now the lucky Bloggers must be very happy to know that whenever it is raining in their area, they can simply go out into the rain and wash their hair with the rainwater without worrying to much on using any shampoo to neutralize all the harmful elements.

To conclude my short report on rainwater quality and assuming there is no cheating involve in this experiment, it is clear that most of the sampling areas are safe to live except my area, Sg. Buloh. It is a very sad conclusion but again it is proven that scientific discoveries may change the world views which more often than not are based on many fake assumptions .

Thank you very much to all the participating Bloggers. Your endless sacrifice and timeless effort have made scientific discoveries as interesting as eating budu with petai. Perhaps for the sake of humankind and pure curiosity, we may embark into another bigger scientific endevour in the near future. May Allah bless you all.

16 August 2011

Semalam, sembilan belas tahun lalu

Buat sekian kalinya
Juragan cinta ini ingin bermadah
merayu agar bayu pagi
membisik kepada angin laut China Selatan
membawa ghairah cinta juragan ini
mengulit mimpi permaisuri
nan lama bertakhta dihati

semalam, sembilan belas tahun lalu
juragan cinta menobat permaisuri dihati
meninggalkan pelabuhan solo itu
tidak berpaling lagi
belayar bersama dermaga kasihmu
mengalun seruling bambu syahdu mendayu
bahtera kemudi dilautan api asmara tiada henti

sumpah setia juragan cinta ini
lautan luas sama direnangi
gunung ganang sama dijelajahi
susah senang mainan hidup ini
jika sumpah keramat derhaka sekali
biarlah jasad ini tidak dimakan bumi

dan jika kasih ini bukan milik duniawi
wahai permaisuri dihati
jemputlah jeragan cinta ini
biarpun sekali cuma
mendampingi kamar cintamu
disyurga firdausi mu hakiki

Puisi semarak gurindam kasih sejati
ku tuju buat permaisuri hatiku
sembilan belas tahun mengulit asmara ini
juragan cinta mohon tiada noktah akhirnya
biar dakwat cinta ini kekal abadi

12 August 2011

Seriously, it has nothing to do with the itch.

Finally I managed to break the three month's blog-a-pause. At this juncture I have to make it clear that this unprecedented time-lapse has nothing to do with any superstitious belief or to commemorate any special events but for sure the longest Blogosphere dormancy period by my standard. It is neither a disease nor my ideas getting into a gestation period but a symptom of mood disorder which manifested from an intimate love-hate relationship with this virtual space. Somehow I am quite relieve now to be able to associate myself and start my intimate relation again with this domain and share some interesting stories with my fellow Blogger friends.

I have to admit though. It must be these intimidating sea serpents with tentacles from the darkest abyss of the South China Sea that woke me up from my deepest slumber. For the past three months I had myself so occupied with none other but myself and somehow got lost into another psychedelic dimension. In order not to feel very guilty leaving this blog in the longest solitude mode ever, I think the best thing to do and what most other good citizens of this Bolehland normally do is to give lame excuses or find some poor scape goats. This time I shamelessly put the blame on my broken laptop - the one that broke my heart but luckily not my spirit.

A week before Ramadhan I traveled back to the Keropoklekor land for a short family holiday and some self-defined top secret/covert activities. I met some of my old friends and in one of our important kedai-kopi-tepi-jalan meetings the word 'sutong sumbat' (stuffed-squid) became a topic of heated debate. Normally when we, the nasi lemak eating nation meet our old friends or long-lost schoolmates in kedai kopi the type of topic that top the list would revolve around the family matters such as the current number of kid and future wives, nostalgic and funny school experiences that make us continuously giggling, future business venture that will never materialize etc. Weird as it was, the delectable dish Ganukite called 'sutong sumbat, dominated the discussions.

I then realized the reason we talked so much on food rather on some other serious matters was because there was not much point in talking seriously on any serious matter because it seems nobody is serious these days. We are surrounded by jokers that make fun of each others. Whatever your belief is, religious matters for example are being ridiculed and mocked indiscriminately without any shame or self-respect. The world economy doesn't help either and crumbling down faster than a sonic-boom speed. Even keropok lekor become an expansive commodity. Who knows in the future 'sutong sumbat' won't have any more 'sumbat' (stuffing) to compliment the salty taste of the squid.

After such a long break, I think it is not superstitiously good and nice to indulge in some serious topic to start with. I don't want to talk very seriously at the moment as my mission now is to find out whether there is any 'sutong sumbat' being sold at any of the scattered bazaars around my neighborhood. That is to find the answer to some of our dispute during the old friends meeting while in Ganukite.

...Selamat Berbuka Puasa folk!

16 May 2011

Free is always good...come and get them!

I think many of us are having a similar dilemma or share the same 'problem' as I do. We sometimes failed to realize that our home sweet home, over the years had and could become a good dumping site for many unused usable items laying idle somewhere in every corner the cockroaches can reach . I won't be surprised if we look closely and list down every single items in our house and come out with a good and discernible asset inventory we will find for example an extra rice cooker that was given during our wedding day sit on the top of the shelf, branded handbags from annual mega sales shopping frenzy hidden somewhere in the closet, extra golf set to impress prospective business partner but at the end failed, an expansive-underutilized and problematic maid sitting aimlessly in one corner of the kitchen or even a stockpile of Scud missiles post-Iraqi war at our own backyard as a unique memorabilia. Those unused items and artifacts if left idle much longer will surely degrade, rot, gather dust, reduce in aesthetic value (read menyemak) or even pose a health hazard to us.

With all that scary possibilities in mind and after some poking into my left and right brain, I've come up with a "syok sendiri', bombastic but holistic idea. I've decided to set up a special platform in this Blogosphere with the intention to share the items with you, my trusted fellow bloggers in hoping that those unused items will find another good home, good owner and good use. It is a concept of recycling things and the best thing is they are free (if you don't include your petrol for traveling).

You can have a peek into the new blog "khas untuk Blogger aje" to get the feel of the concept and see if there are items of your interest for a quick grab. It is still in its infancy and any suggestion to make the idea to flourish and metamorph into a community playground is very much anticipated. More items will be added up from time to time. I just have to find the right time to gather all those items and convert them into a photogenic material.

If you want to take one step further though and make this effort a blessed one which hopefully can becomes a future saham in our next life, a sincere donation as a token for those items which can be used for many good causes is very much treasured too. One immediate recipient that come into my mind is a surau in my neighborbood (Surau Al-Hikmah) that is now being upgraded into a KAFA. I hope the work can be finished just before the fasting month. You can bank in your token/donation into the Surau's account and come and get the item(s) of interest and value to you from me.

Those items could actually well be featured in our local lelong scenes or other international auction platforms but I don't feel like doing so because by jumping into that bandwagon this effort will loose it personal touch, exclusiveness and not cool anymore. That however is just my personal opinion.

Perhaps another idea is, other Bloggers can chip in too in this effort by disposing and recycling their unused item through this platform for the benefit of the others. Just email me the details and I will post them in the new blog. I promise I will accept and post anything but please don't dispose your grumpy husband/wife here - those kind of thing if you know what I mean.

Summary of the new concept :

1. Free unused but workable items to dispose/recycle
2. Collect yourself (small items can be posted/couriered but at cost of the recipient)
3. If you feel a bit generous, donate for any good cause (optional and no obligation)
4. Exclusive to our Blogger friends only!

Please feel free to comment, critic and give suggestion to improve this effort. Your endless support, my Blooger friends is very much appreciated.

This is just the beginning and I hope it won't be the last.

07 May 2011

The first rainwater test kit

The first test kit for rainwater collection was safely landed on my table last week, the day after it was dispatched from the land of the hornbill. I was very excited because the samples were all in good condition and had already analyzed the samples. The report will be published here when I receive all the test kits from the other volunteers for all our bloggers to share and talk in office canteen and comment in kedai kopi. This small scientific effort could give some insight on the real condition of our atmosphere.

I am looking forward to receive the remaining test kits from our volunters and thank you very much for taking part in this small project.

03 May 2011

It all started innocently enough

The first time somebody officially asked me about my ambition and I seriously replied with full of enthusiasm to become a scientist was in 1978. Without much thought on the dark secret life of a scientist, that was exactly my answer. I was in standard two at SIS Kemaman, my first year at the primary school after the hijrah from SOS Dungun. The person who asked me that significant question which later influenced the way I think and shaped my future was the bubbly Cikgu Zubir.

At this point, I have to make it clear that my ambiguous decision to pursue that ambition however had nothing to do with the prospect of how many girls I could charm with that bombastic ambition nor that I could change all the zombies into productive monkeys. But it has all the reasons in this world to influence my future romantic journey which took precedence over my entire life.

Oblivious to me at first, that childhood ambition was actually the precursor that endlessly ignite the fire that flamed the greatest love story ever - "cinta monyet di menara gading". The flame never died ever since. As any other great love epic- among others, the place was one of the important settings for this romantic journey to take place. My feeling over the years, subconsciously evolved and influenced by my surrounding, which were diverse in their complexity, unique characters and major players.

1st phase : The setting

The sparkling new laboratory at the deserted new KUSZA campus marked its inaugural opening with load of enthusiasm by scientist wannabes. The first experiment we were asked to take on was on the exciting concept of endo and exothermic reaction of chemicals. As we were still very innocent, ignorance and careless - evidence from the naive faces in the photo, the idea of mixing chemicals that release or absorb energy was very alien and intimidating. The idea of courting and flirting with girls was also very alien and intimidating too. The natural surrounding dictated boys and girls should mind their own business. I hardly knew who were the backbencher girls in the laboratory or even in my class. They all looked very similar to me and I assumed they treated me the same. Teropong iman at that time was still in its infancy and under-developed.

That fateful day however, we saw one of our colleague at the end of the experiment had almost burnt down the whole laboratory (the one at the back who was seen seriously meddling with the Bunsen burner and he was also the one and only ardent fan of Eddie Lawson that I mentioned in the earlier entry - Dharma Kasuma). He lost his eyebrow as well.

My subsequent jihad to Bangi had presented me with a totally new perspective on life and a bigger laboratory to experiment with too. Suddenly the atmosphere had totally changed. Nothing seemed to dictate the way you dress, to whom you should talk to, where you should eat or even how long you could have your leisurely afternoon siesta and missed your important lecture. It seemed like a total anarchy. To survive one had to be strong and of course discipline.

I could not remember what experiment I was doing (in the photograph above) or what was the name of my project partner or in which lab the photo was taken because my mind was not focus as it should be. Luckily I managed to finish all the assignments, thanks to my project partner of whom I still could not remember his name. There were so many distractions. The only thing I remember was how excited I was and so looking forward to go to the biochemistry practical laboratory to do my assignment. For the first time, something had caught my eyes and motivated me to spent time doing my experiment obediently in that particular lab. For the first time I stayed focus. That laboratory was the perfect setting for some serious chemistry reaction to take place. It was irresistibly powerful and I am helpless. I blamed that on my puberty hormone. The jeling-jeling and senyum-senyum process started here.

I later also found out and realized that playing with fire in the biochemistry laboratory could be one hazardous endeavor especially if the fire is so big as what happened to my friend Dharma kasuma. Luckily I didn't loose my eyebrow. But over time I learned to control the flame and harnessed its affectionate power. Life was full of flowers and its smelled nice too. Flamed by unfamiliar but a pleasant feeling, that was the exact time when my teropong iman started to activate.

Ah...now that my mind is starting to focus a bit, I remember my poor partner was actually Dr. Asri of the RMC, the guy who endlessly broke the glass test tubes in order to prove that his hand was made of steel.

next stage : the chase

27 April 2011

An inordinate fondness for kapcai

I got my first motor-kapcai after completing my SPM in 1985. It was not because I wanted to join the indigenous mat rempit and terorizing the folk along Jalan Pasir Panjang by 'rempiting' all the way to Bandar KT but simply because I got bored waiting for the offer letter from our local 'menara gading' and have nothing productive to do in order to fill in the void. Those time the word 'rempit' was hardly heard of and biking was still considered a healthy and safe activity because the road was less congested, the lipat kijang skill was well mastered and for some freak reasons it seemed that most kaki motor possessed a 9-cat-life.

The motor-kapcai was a Yamaha Y80 of which I bought (partly subsidized by my father) from my cousin, who upgraded to RXZ 135 which had just hit the market. Instantly the kapcai became the joy of my life. Pantai Batu Burok became my regular lepak place almost every afternoon with my other motor kaki. Occasionally I cruised along the beach alone just to feel the salty breeze slap gently on my face before settling down to stare at the the seafarers passing by in the horizon while enjoying the heavenly keropok lekor. The original keropok lekor and not the one so elastic and jawbreakingly hard which tasted and smelled like a selipar Jepun.

It didn't take that long before my curiosity got the best of me and the kapcai underwent some major cosmetic adjustment and minor body surgery. Under the srong influence of my younger brother and Eddie Lawson's achievement as the world champion in motorcycle Grand Prix, a new 'exzos potong' was fitted to to give the kapcai some distinctive sound identity, a new and bigger piston was dumped into the bored-engine and different size of sprockets were experimented to transform this timid machine into a super-kapcai. The best modification in my opinion that made this super-kapcai looked a Grand Prix worthy was the excessive addition of Nolan stickers onto the body parts.

Despite all the illegal modifications by my father's standard, I'd only involved with only a few minor accidents. One that I clearly remember was that fateful Saturday morning, I sped off with my super-kapcai for my weekly town tour and in such hurriedness and rocket-speed I forgot that the previous day the main road that lead into my kampung was loosely tarred. For a while I think I could easily become a stuntman. The other unforgettable accident involved a cat that had clearly no civic-minded who jaywalked and crossed the road without looking left and right. Luckily both the victims survived with only minor scratches.

My intimate relationship with my super-kapcai continued and flourished further to the ivory tower in Bangi. That was the time when 'Fansasia bulan madu' was the no. 1 hit in my local pop chart and soup ekor and daging merah became a food of envy to any students who didn't have any mode of transportation to reach makeshift kedai tomyam at Bandar Baru Bangi (BBB fasa 1). The distinctive supersonic sound from my exzos potong that echoed nicely in between the hill and Pejabat Pentadbiran UKM had in many occasion caused some dispute among the varsity's Pak guards. Not until they banned the motorbikes from entering the campus which almost caused another student riot that put the end to any sound pollution in the campus.

At the end of my campus year, I was very proud to say that my super-kapcai was still a virgin. During the first 4 semesters not a single awek was shuttled here and there around the campus on my super-kapcai simply because having an awek on a 80cc kapcai (even though a super-kapcai) didn't look cool at all. It was a misfit and considered a taboo and unacceptable by my kaki motor.

My allegiance with my campus kaki motor however was tested to its limit and about to be broken when I entered my third year and some unexpected turn of events happened along the way. I was totally taken off-guard and it happened all of a sudden. Suddenly my teropong iman was activated and I smelled flowers all around me.

But that was another long and interesting story to tell.

14 April 2011

Acid rain for bloggers-funded project

Any piece of information that could save life or improve our quality of life can be considered as important. I consider the information in the form of a bar chart above is very important as it could change our life and the way we interact with nature. I didn't realize its importance until one day I took that piece of bar chart information back home, discussed the finding a little bit with my significant half over dinner, digested the fact halfheartedly, went to bed and had an unforgetable nightmare about the consequences we are about to face in the years to come. Naturally being a self-professed scientist I decided to jot it down in this blogosphere in hoping that this piece of eye-opener may perhaps assist my blogger friends to take some 'iktibar' and probably some preventive measures in facing our bleak future.

In the wake of Japan's nuclear crisis and all the uncertainties that are looming in the air, our weather is responding and continuously changing to match the temperamental tempo of it's surrounding. Nevertheless most of the environmental changes so far seem quite adverse and not so kind to humankind. With all the exaggeration, I predict by the time we achieve our Wawasan 2020 almost everybody in Bolehland will be hairless and more iresisistable than Kojak, suffering constant severe migraine or probably having burn and dented scalp with some holes here and there up our pinnacle.

The reason I come to this concluding remark because the water that is pouring down from the sky kingdom is getting more and more acidic by my acceptable standard (look at the chart - the lowest pH so far is 4.29). It is just like someone up there who happens to suffer osteoporosis and eat load and load of lemon then piss down on you. I don't mind if the taste is like lemon but this one is no way near even the dreadful cough syrup. That data by the way came from the rain that was collected for almost a month perioud at my own office backyard, a place that is surrounded with all the lush green and the air is considerably thin as compare to the other less 'green' area.

Since then I have been thinking. My thought has nothing to do though with my noble idea of converting hujan batu into hujan emas (supposedly to be a top secret project) but it has everything to do with our daily life and future generation. I am thinking and taking the initiative to start a small blogger-orientate project just for the sake of scientific curiosity and a little bit of fun where at the end of the day everybody who participate can also claim themselves a true mother-earth guardian angel.

Thus I am calling all my blogger friends from all over Bolehland to enthusiastically contribute to this small but meaningful project. The idea is to have rain samples from various part of Bolehland so we get a general idea on the severity of this pressing issue or how fast we will become another Kojak. This project will at most take one month (depending on the rainfall). What you have to do is simply send me some water of the rain samples from you own backyard and I will collate the data and churn the results and present it in this virtual realm for us to discuss further. I cannot promise any monetary reward to any good Samaritans out there who are going to participate in this ambitious project but an illustrated presentation of simple correlation between different geographical representative is guaranteed.

If you are interested to be part of this interesting project that perhaps change the course of human history, please email me your address and I will send you a simple sample collecting SOP (standard operating procedure).

Any taker out there?

05 April 2011

The story of hujan batu and hujan emas

I was at first quite reluctant to publish this rather peculiar 'letter'. The letter that was circulated through e-mails and probably spread widely in all underworld domain as chain letters way back in 2009 could get me or anyone who read and circulate it into trouble. Firstly, this may look as very un-patriotic and secondly thousand of nasi-lemak-eating nation after reading this shocking revelation will most probably jump the gun and start the mass migration to the promise lands. The worst thing is, I could be labeled as a person or one of the persons who are forever complaining and whining like an ungrateful clown. Nobody like a whiner, even a clown.

However, as I had some limited experience living in the UK for 4 years and now staying in our beloved Bolehland probably until the end of my day, I found the truth is agonizingly hard to digest. That was because I had just finished a plate of nasi lemak without the normal teh tarik to flush everything down into my gut. After contemplating the fact that this is very relevant to the daily life of every breathing soul in Bolehland and looking at the standard of living we are facing now, so my blogger friends and just to be fair to the original author I enclosed below the above-mentioned letter as original as it is without any editing whatsoever so that I don't distort anybody's mind.

p/s: Read only if you have ample time or when you are not watching any telenovellas. With all the seriousness, this piece of information needs you to think, reflect and re-think and probably realize at the end of the day nothing can be done. I however do not take any responsibility if after reading this very important information, you start to pack everything and buy a ticket to London.


Life as a Malaysian

The cost of living in each country (especially UK and Europe) based on what you earn in the respective country and whether the standards are higher than in Malaysia.

I tried to point out that many Malaysians always convert and that is why they say the UK is expensive. In fact, the cost of living is much cheaper than in Malaysia.

In actual fact, Malaysians are being conned because for such a rich and resource rich country, the pay in Malaysia is way too low compared to the cost of living and inflation.

One good example is Singapore.

Singaporean’s (average) earns around S$3000 to S$4000 and nearly everything is half the price of Malaysia. E.g. Clothes, computer parts, electronics etc.

But the average Malaysian still earns RM2000 plus and goods are double the price of Singapore. This is the same as the UK. If you earn around 2000 pounds, you can liken this to the person earning RM$2000 in Malaysia. I give you some examples below. Maybe you can understand.

1) Good terrace house

It is more or less the same. If you want a house in KL, it would most probably be in Puchong and not Damansara Heights. So your house would be RM200,000. In UK, you can get a decent new house in Zone 6 (still within the tube) for 200,000 pounds.

If non London, you can get a nice house also for less than 200,000 pounds outside London. The same also applies to buying a house in Seremban, Kajang etc. You can buy a nice house for RM200,000 below.

So buying a house is the same for the local and the Malaysian. Renting a place is the same too or maybe cheaper than in Malaysia (I am Not sure of this). A 2-bedroom flat in London is about 750 pounds (Zone 2). 500 pounds outside Zone 6 but still able to commute to London. A 2-bedroom house in Nottingham is 450 to 500 pounds. A 3-bedroom house in Belfast is about 300 pounds.

2) A car

A good Wira is RM55,000. Most Malaysians have to take 7-year loans and be in debt all the time. If you are earning RM2000 a month, you take nearly 3 years saving the RM2000 with not eating at all just to buy a Wira.

In UK, the average local earns about 2000 pounds. He saves 3 months, he can buy outright a good Ford Fiesta or a Vauxhall Corsa without being in debt. If buying a second hand car, even better. A 1990 Mercedes 190E cost 500 pounds. My 1996 Mercedes E220 cost 2000 pounds. My friend just gave me his 1989 Honda Accord (Auto) for free because he said he could only get 30 pounds for it.

I used it for a few months and decided to give it of for free too. That alone speaks for itself. Even if you are kuli or an office boy, you still can drive a Mercedes or a BM. Yes, kuli’s and office boy’s get paid quite well.

Average temp/office boy in London can earn about 7 to 10 pounds and hour. Overtime is 1.5 times or double. A brick-layer can earn 20 pounds an hour.The same Indon who lays bricks in Malaysia earns RM$50 for the whole day.

Before I became a doctor, I used to be an office boy and I earned near 300 pounds a week working about 70 hours a week. My makan was 30 pounds a week. My rent was 70 pounds a week for a room but I still drove a BMW back then. I bought the 10-year old BMW 3 Series car for 200 pounds. Amazing how an office boy can drive a safe and luxurious car.

3) Petrol.

For a UK person earning 2000 pounds, 89.7 pence a litre/gallon is cheaper than RM1.92 paid in Malaysia. If you don’t convert, it is like paying 90 sen a litre in Malaysia

4) Shopping

20 pounds (which is 1% of 2000 pounds) can buy you 1 week’s worth of groceries in Tesco. RM$100 (which is 10% of RM$2000) can also buy you 1 week’s worth of groceries in Tesco, Giant or Carrefour.

5) Utility Bills

(This is what I pay in UK)

1. Virtually non-stop heating the whole day only 20 pounds a month. Only 1% of the 2000 pounds earned)

2. Electricity, I use my electricity maximum only 20 pounds a month.(Only 1% of the 2000 pounds earned)

3. My water bill also comes to about 20 pounds a month (Only 1% of the 2000 pounds earned)

4. My Internet ? I get 2Mbps for about 25 pounds (Bulldog DSL) (Also slightly above 1% of the 2000 pounds earned)

5. Astro Equivalent (NTL cable or Sky) ? 30 pounds per month (Also slightly above 1% of the 2000 pounds earned)

In Malaysia, this is what I used to pay

1. Tenaga Bill comes to RM$200 to RM300 a month with 3 air-cons. This

is more than 10% of the RM$2000 earned)

2. Water (Puas) comes to RM$40 (This is about 2% of the RM$2000 earned)

3. Astro RM$100 (if you take Chinese package) (This is about 5% of the RM$2000 you earn)

4. Internet Streamyx 512K RM 88 per month (This is about 5% of RM2000 you earn)

6) Books

A good book is about 10 to 15 pounds in the UK. This is less than 1% of The 2000 pounds you earn. In Malaysia, you have to spend RM$75 to RM$100 for a decent book in MPH or Kinokuniya in KLCC. This is about 5% of the RM2000 ringgit you earn.

7) Education

I think it is about RM$20,000 per year to do a degree in Sunway Monash and about RM$12,000 per year to send your kid to UM, UKM, USM etc. I am not sure about this.

But in UK, it is only 3000 pounds a year to send your kid to a great university. That also, the white man still makes a lot of noise because The grants were taken away. Previously, it was virtually free for the English man to send his kid to university but now, since the grant was taken away, he has to spend 3000 pounds per year to send his kid to university and less money to get drunk in the pub.

Well, if you are earning RM$2000 ringgit, sending your kid to UM to study is quite difficult. If you are earning 2000 pounds per month, you can easily send you kid to university in the UK.

8) Luxuries

Panasonic Plasma TV in Malaysia about RM20,000. If you are earning RM$2000 a month, memang mahal! You have to save 2 years your monthly salary to buy it. In UK, the same Panasonic ironically, Panasonic plasma is made in Japan and Japan is close to Malaysia, so the plasma should be cheaper in Malaysia) is only 2000 pounds. And this is only 10% of the 2000 pounds earned.

9) Health

NHS is free. Though the service is slow, quality is still there. You still can get a top quality by-pass for free although you may have to wait many months. In Malaysia, IJN charges RM$30,000. SJMC charges RM$50,000. GH is free but as many people know, GH and UH have clown doctors.

10) Assessments to local councils

I may pay high council tax but at least my council assures my streets are clean and safe, got no holes (pot holes) on my roads, and they jump and attend to me whenever I call them. When I stayed in Malaysia, I paid my assessment and quite rent but MPSJ (I lived in Subang) told me to “podah” whenever I asked them to come and fill up the pot holes, cut the long lalang, put street lighting etc.

The councils, especially MPPJ and MPSJ, were more interested in eating Nasi lemak and going for 10 teh tariks in a day during office hours and hardly did anything for their residents.

11) Income Tax

My national insurance and income tax also is not wasted. When I was unemployed in 1997, the government via social security paid for my 2-bedroom flat for one whole year and I was given about 100 pounds per week for me and my wife to live on. I am happy to know that one day if I lose my job, I can still claim social security and get my apartment paid and food to eat again for free. It is a good security to know.

All, the list goes on. Here alone you can see, the sterling they earn goes a long way in the UK. So their quality of life is far better in the UK than a Malaysian in Malaysia. It is just that Malaysians are just too content with what they have. But you compare apple for apple. The British just love to complain. They have it made but still they love To complain. Nothing is good enough for the British. The government gives the citizens so much but they still seem to want more and more.

Written by,

Dr Zain Azrai

(update : Somebody pointed out some of the sentences has been 'doctored' from the original script (which later I figured out the reason). Amended)


What say yu mi fren?

30 March 2011

to nuke or not to nuke ?

To nuke or not to nuke, that is not the question. The question is, how long the mother earth can still breathe and survive the continuous onslaught by the ever-greedy and ungrateful humankind. The earth core is molten and becoming more and more unstable each passing days. She is starting to disintegrate and weaken. The sorry state of our earth spread like a mild ulcer, sporadically evolves into a tumorous state, malignant at first but waiting for the right time and the right precursor to be transformed into a full blown dreadful cancer. Mankind calls this a disaster. This is a natural phenomenon predestined to the aging mother earth, but we ourselves undoubtedly provide and become the catalyst. Civilization is seriously at stake. Probably it is the time. Probably we are due for another mass extinction and share the fatal fate which many million years ago had happened to the ancient dinosaurs.

Going by the current rate it is quite plausible that we are going to witness the Doomsday sooner than what the disillusioned Nostradamus had predicted earlier. This year alone, mother earth shivered and shaken more frequent than ever. Was that not the sign she wanted to convey to us that she is not well or unhappy? We just have to wait and see....and pray that it wouldn't happen in our lifetime.

Not in the far distance, the powers-that-be in our Bolehland is planning to feed the power-hungry nasi lemak eating nation with the ultimate energy the earth can offer. Someone is going to build a nuclear power plant somewhere in somebody's backyard. Naturally and predictably this has already raised heated debate especially in kopitiam and kedai kopi as nothing has been seriously discussed in Parliament yet - that if everybody has becoming very serious these days.

I am of the opinion that we still do not seriously explore all the other safer options and alternative technologies that are available. Even if there is none out there, I still think we should find and try to come out with one. Having said that yes, uranium and all those millions years half-life elements which can generate almost endless energy are not a child's toy that we cannot simply take it for granted and later toss them around recklessly. As radiation is something that we cannot see with our naked eyes and we need special equipments to do so and not everyone can afford it, even at a very minute dosage but continuous exposure to that elements could transform us into a mutant. A mutant with a super brain power is an added bonus but imagine if we are all transformed into a chimeric monkey or perhaps a retarded new species. A total mayhem.

In fact I strongly believe, even if the radioactive dust from the recent mishap in Fukushima does not have the slightest chance to travel all the way across The South China Sea to our Bolehland, some of our countrymen are already exposed long-long time ago to the similar potent dose. It is very clear because you can see a lot of no-brainer bullshitting around as their brain has long gone or shrunken into a pea size. In fact, as we speak the Philipine which is only a few nautical distant from Sabah is already detecting some level of radiation in their Islands.

Some power-hungry citizen wrote in our local tabloid recently and tried to justify the commissioning of a nuclear power plant in our Bolehland by pointed out that the current nuclear technology is safer (please bear in mind that when they built the Fukushima plants many years ago, they have the same mentality) But do remember that hundred years from now the current technology will become obsolete as well. And the recipient to that obsolete technology is not us but none other than our future generation.

I do really hope we can give some thoughtful consideration on the other natural power-generated elements out there. We have abundance of wind, water, sun, tidal wave and even tones of rubbish which if we cleverly exploit and manage them all probably can easily outshine and outdone the nuclear power plant in term of the power output and possible safety hazard . The best thing is they are all free.

The other alternative that I can think of is to consume less energy probably for example by having a candlelight dinner every single night for every household throughout Bolehland. People of Nasi-lemak-eating nation are known for our romance aren't we?

14 March 2011

Exploring a secret garden hanging in the sky

You don't have to hail King Nebuchadnezzar for a special invitation pass to visit his famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon in order to admire the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, or travel all the way to the lost city of Simeria to feast your eyes with one of the marvels. Quite recently I was tip-offed by a self-confess garden enthusiast that there is one right here in our Bolehland. A beautiful and inspiring garden hanging mystically above the ground.

With that very important piece of information, last weekend my entire clan headed to the location in search for the mysterious spot and with the intention to reveal that hidden treasure. The location was no other than One Utama Shopping Center. Yes, you hear me right, the place fondly known by our shopaholic kakis as OU has been keeping the best hidden secret to the unwary eyes for so many years (I have no prior knowledge on the existence of this secret garden as well).

This place really lives to its name. I mean in term of its secrecy. The location was so secluded and purposely designed to confuse visitors, it took us 45 minutes in a wild-goose chase to finally figure out through all the labyrinths (read=kedai makan, toilet pit-stop etc) to the hidden lift that lead us to this heavenly sanctuary. It is actually on the upper rooftop of the building and can be accessed via one of the lifts on the New Wing of OU (one situated in-front of HSBC bank on the second floor and another one, for excitement sake I let you guy to use your creativity and find it yourself :).

I can assure you the visit was worth all the sweating and some UV-exposure spending quality time with family. This is the type of place you want to bring your homesick mother or mother-in-law who longed for a serene and lush kampung surrounding. This roof-top garden of 30,000 sq ft. boasts 500 species of rare Tropical and Temperate plants. Admission is free and it open only on the weekend from 10 a.m to 7 p.m. Don't forget to bring along your camera and some sunscreen lotion too.

The garden is divided into many themes. You can get a brochure and a pamphlet at the entrance. This will guide you for a brisk walk through this marvelous garden. I don't want to write all my wonderful experience in this garden as it will spoil your excitement and this garden is supposed to be secret in the first place.

One cautionary remark though, if you want to bring your partner to this blissful and serene place, make sure your partner posses the same plant fetish as you are and doesn't mind exposing him/herself to the sweet smell of nature because you will be spending hours sweating and mesmerized by this natural wonder. Shopping is not advisable to be carried out on the same day.

As this secret garden is also an experimental garden, you will probably see some new plant species introduced to this garden in the future.

Right after the entrance, you will see this small cactus hill exhibiting some arid and semi-arid collection of the world.

My exploration team congregated in fascination and awestruck by some of the plant collection in the garden. Children can be a good candidate for this natural exploration as this garden will promote awareness and the appreciation of plants.

These peculiar plants (far left), Madagascar tree arum are one of the accent plants in this garden. They lead our eyes straight to this spot when we enter this section of the garden. In the background is the weeping willow - the leaves hang freely and move gently by the wind.

Big pergolas and patios provide shade from the raging sun. They provide a perfect place for city dwellers to unwind during weekends.

A cereal crop from Africa, Sorghum sp. can also be seen wilting in the garden waiting to be harvested.

This yellow passion (Pacciflora flavicarpa) fruit hanging down from a pergola among other climbers and vines. This fragrant fruit is used for juice extract and rich in vitamins. There are also purple passion fruits in the garden.

This particular plant, Jatropha podagrica (pokok jarak) shares similar family with the rubber tree (Euphorbiaceae) blooms beautiful flowers. Their sibling, Jatropha curcas is commercially planted for it promising biofuel production.

I didn't capture the name of this beautiful inflorescent, but it can easily become a focal point to any garden landscape.

Multitude array of colors from this cacti make a very pleasant subject to the eyes.

This brightly colored Heliconia lines the garden entrance.

This bizarre flower of a Brazillian Dutchman's pipe (Aristolochia gigantea) that shades the pergolas and patios looks very beautiful. But the smell is not that friendly and gives quite a strong scent to the nostril. My little explorers said the smell resembles rotten fish. (erratum : my life partner cum a full-fledged-botanist pointed out my mistake and gave the correct name for this flower - thanks darling)

My exploration team was very happy and looking forward to visit this roof-top hideout again in the future.

10 March 2011

Chasing the rainbow

A beautiful and brightly colored confocal micrograph of leaf midvein from a native rubber species (Amazon collection).
Naturally, lignified cells give higher excitation (auto fluorescent)
Cross section, 20x magnification, unstained, Blue & Yellow filter.

Of late I think I have seen too many rainbows. The rainbows however were not the regular one which normally appear and show-off their glorious colors accompanying the mid afternoon shower. The usual streak of colorful lines in the sky will surely make our day but these abnormal rainbows work the opposite way. They were distorted and monotonous. Whether it was an illusion that lead my eyes to play trick on me or perhaps I was becoming deeply disillusioned by all the insanity created by the lunatics that believed they are immortal. There is no way to tell and no plausible answer to the question. Those are the same lunatics that believed there are gold pots at the foot of the rainbow.

These whole madness somehow had rendered my brain to temporarily idle and at the same time drained out all my creativity. It was not the first time and it won't be the last one either. Fertile ideas got stuck and frozen dead in between my brain cells, unable to thaw themselves and flow flawlessly out as usual. A month of blog hiatus is a testament to this.

Relatively speaking though, I can consider myself quite lucky as my state of mind has not yet reach the level of brain-dead zombie army which is now widespread not only in my own playground but also in the entire Bolehland. Brain drain is not that bad as we can always rejuvenate and re-energize the exhausted cells. Brain-dead on the other hand is a serious malady of a catastrophic level to the whole human kind as the immortal zombies could not and would not think properly. As the brain is dead, they will make decision based purely on instinct sans good judgment.

At the moment I can only presume that my life is going to be more and more interesting from now on. I am accepting the fact that we have to co-exist and reliant to each other. But still there are many who don't want to understand that our life can sometime becomes very superficial. If we think we are smart, look good, rich, powerful etc. there are many many others that are far better than us. The theory of relativity doesn't apply to some immortals especially the zombie army.

I may see many more anomalies in the rainbow but I am preparing myself with a pair of polarized spectacles to pleased my own eyes. At the same time, I will just let all the zombies to continue believing there are actually gold pots at the foot of the rainbow.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...