Friday, October 22, 2004

A letter for Ariel who was recently deemed tak cukup syarat

slug: letter.sya

Dere Ariel,

before I start - we missed you last night! If I have my way with that plonking toilet of yours, I'll.. I'll... I'll... (trembles with geramity)

Anyway. Truth is I've got a confession: I've gotten you a birthday pressie way back in August. It's a lovely, proper, functional yet stylish gift - a truly remarkable piece of something that deserves only the remarkables (such as yourself) for a master.

I got it nicely wrapped in blue wrapping paper, but I haven't got a card to go with it. So then, then way back in August, I stashed the gift in my closet and told myself that "I'll get the card right before our next so-called "book-club" meeting."

And so lies the perfect gift for a perfect pal in my closet, bounded beautifully but cardless, like a beauty forgotten, like a stray coin under the bed, like a new kite hooked on a wall... You get the drift, right?

Till the night before last. The night I took out the gift and said, "Tomorrow I'll pop it in my backpack and get a nice, small, pink card that says -Happy Burfday- to go with it."

The next morning I woke up with a start - tis 8.30AM and I'm supposed to be at Kampung Cyberjaya Hulu for a peecee with Uncle Lim at 10.00AM! Aramak!

Rush the bath, rush the grooming, rush the ride, rush the assignment.

At noon I was finally done. Uncle Lim's still entertaining the press with his give-a-monkey-a-banana and wazzit-Wi-Fi-or-wifey jokes, but I'm done - besides, it's more fun to skodeng that cute TVTiga reporter packing up as I myself pack up - and GASP - whaddaya know?

I realized I've forgotten to 'pop-in' your gift, your perfect gift, into my backpack!

So the truth is, last night I giftlessly marched to Midvalley's Pizza Hut armed with only a little pink card, on it written 1] a charming apology for forgetting to bring your pressie and 2] a lame attempt to persuade you to "enjoy the mystery of the waiting game" and 3] a sincere promise to deliver you the gift soon.

I don't know what possessed the person who came up with the saying "two wrongs made a right" - he obviously had never forgotten to bring a cardless present but bought a card anyway and written 1], 2], and 3] (refer the above paragraph) then didn't even get the chance to give it cause the intended recipient's toilet busted so she could not make it to the date.


So now I still have that perfect gift I was telling you about, and now not-so-perfect card I was telling you about. So when shall we meet?

Before I pen off, let me just wish you a slightly early Very Happy Birthday, May All Your Dreams (including that weird one about you and me winning an RM100,000 cash reward in a susu tepung contest, oh wait, that's mine isn't it?) Come True.


p/s: Yo Ariel, I'm practically addicted to your blog loh! Each post cracks me up like a dozen of Thunderclaps with the sumbus tied and lighted together on a simultaneous launch! And don't bother about that tak cukup syarat issue, you're more than cukup syarat in all aspects in my book. Happy D!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Hence hold yer tongues...

Here's what I found at as I was browsing for background info for my story on the recent launch of the Content Code ....

MALAYSIA: Blogger rapped for posting insult to Islam

Internet censorship laws protect Malaysian blogger Jeff Ooi after his controversial discussion about Islam

The Straits Times
Saturday, October 9, 2004

By Carolyn Hong

Malaysia's most controversial blogger Jeff Ooi is making headlines in the mainstream media, but it is not the type of publicity he relishes.

The author, who identified himself as Anwar, wrote that it was wrong to compare Islam Hadhari and money politics in Umno to 'water and oil'. They were more 'like s**t and urine', he wrote.

The pressure on Mr Ooi was stepped up this week. Deputy Internal Security Minister Noh Omar warned that writers of insensitive comments on religious issues over the Internet could be detained without trial under the Internal Security Act.

'We have detected a website with unhealthy news. The operators have been warned to stop discussing religious is sues on the website or risk facing stern action,' he said.

Investigations have been started by the police and the Internet service provider, Mimos, is tracing the author of the offensive comments.

The handling of the controversy will be closely watched as it has a bearing on how Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, who promised a more open style of democracy, puts his words into action.

International press freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders condemned the response so far as 'a bid to intimidate' the blogger.

Energy, Water and Communications Minister Lim Keng Yaik defended Mr Ooi, saying the latter immediately stopped Anwar from posting another message after the offensive comments were made.

Mr Ooi, a business strategy analyst in an international telecommunications firm, told The Straits Times that his blog, Screenshots, focused on issues of governance.

The forum section is used occasionally by commentators making strong criticisms.

'I want to provoke thought but I can be firm if people hijack my blog topic,' he said, adding that he banned Anwar before his offensive posting sparked a public outcry.

This is not the first time that his blog, which discusses issues of religion, race relations and corporate governance that are rarely aired in the newspapers, has attracted strong opinions from commentators.

In recent months, he crossed swords with well-connected companies such as cable television firm Astro and mobile phone operator Maxis, as well as with New Straits Times group editor-in-chief Kalimullah Hassan.

In his Sunday column last week, Datuk Kalimullah wrote: 'This was not the first time that this Jeff Ooi allowed postings that hurt the feelings of others.

'His own writings smack of prejudices against certain ethnic groups...I feel the anger because I, too, like dozens of others, am a victim of the likes of Ooi.'

Mr Ooi defends his writing as being true to the nature of a blog which, being a personal journal, has room for the biases of its writer.

He said there was nothing personal in his criticisms and if names were mentioned, they were those of the main decision-makers who should be accountable for the shortcomings of their companies.

'It is to make sure that the buck stops there,' he said.

Not everyone will agree with his strategy but his forthright style has won him a wide readership, especially after the news website Malaysiakini began carrying a link to his blog in April last year.

What does Malaysiakini, which itself has had a brush with the law over its content, feel about the new episode?

Chief executive officer Premesh Chandran said: 'There is no issue. It has already been pointed out that the laws will be applied to the author of the posting, if he is traced. We don't think that Jeff Ooi has broken any law.'

The authorities have taken action in the past against the authors of Internet content, charging four persons in 1998 for spreading rumours via e-mail about an imminent riot by Indonesians.

Last week, a lecturer was arrested because of a series of hate e-mail messages against pop singer Siti Nurhaliza and several entertainment journalists.

Mr Ooi has no plans to give up his blog, which he said had become a passion for him. But he is considering vetting all messages before publication.

Date Posted: 10/9/2004

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Pricey prices

They must have unanimously decided that since the price of fuel has gone up, so must all the tepung pelitas, ayam perciks, air sirap limaus and the rest of the food items sold in Bazar Ramadhan. Some stalls were selling kuehs at RM2 per five pieces and RM3.50 per small bag of sugarcane juice!

What happened to those lima seringgit spring rolls and puteri tiga sebilik? And those nice RM1 packs of murtabak and air sirap selasih? Gone, all gone, if there's some, it's a rare reward in the form of compromised sizes. Heartless I tell you!

So I have given up all aspirations to fully depend on Bazar Ramadhan stuff for buka puasa. Cook at home if we must, but buy another bungkus of nasi kerabu at RM4.50 again - never!

It's a good thing that I've received several break fast invitations from the IT corps, as well as some pals and schoolmates. Even if I need to spend, then I'll be enjoying food with good company, and that's something!

Which brings me to yet another good thing to look forward to during this fasting month - the chance to get together with family and friends, catching up, hanging out. Ain't that fun...

Monday, October 18, 2004

Selamat berpuasa

Hello hello! It's been some time since I've written anything worth reading here. Firstly I'd like to wish every Muslim Selamat Berpuasa, and to non-fasting individuals out there, c'mon and flock the Bazar Ramadhan!

Speaking of Bazar Ramadhan, have to say it's one of the reason why the fasting month is something I always look forward to! This is the time and place where you can find excotic meals like nasi kerabu, akok, ayam percik, ikan bakar, limas up for sale.

Yeah, sure these stuff are available at pasar malams as well, but during Ramadhan they become more desirable! Know what I mean..?

Ugh, I really gotta take my mind off food! It's only noon la!

Hmm, how bout if I share with you the work of a colleague - Wan - he's a tech journalist too, but he's also a very creative guy with a cool sense of geek humour! Check out his comic strip below:

Disclaimer: The strips (including the text and characters) above belongs to Ridzwan A. Rahim.

By the way the above are two sets (of three boxes) of Wan's One-On-One which has USB-Man in it and a very comely villain, IrDA Babboon. I did a nasty cut and paste job so that's why Wan's byline was missing in the third box...

So whaddaya think? I shall paste updates if anyone wants to know what happens to USB-Man (currently the "fearsome Dr USB").

I already have Wan's little volume of "The Hassle-Free Adventures of USB-Man" - he printed it on plain A4 paper and using Epson's DuraBRITE ink hence no seep-throughs la. It's autographed as well, and I'm planning to sell it 20 years from now...

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Spam, spim, spit

Yep, that's the latest thing I'm looking into. Spam is those annoying messages that you get via e-mail, spim is those annoying messages you get via instant messaging and spit is those annoying messages that you get via VoIP.

Boring stuff.

But I'm finally done with the article - albeit shabbily done, it's bound to be read by the Ed tonight when he opens his inbox - sorry Boss!. I'm such a bad writer nowadays, so bad I've not even blogged for days.

The thing is, Ideas don't come easily, and don't even mention Good Ideas. For an untrained writer like me, the susahness doubles.

In fact, for a person whose English is not grammatically correct all the time, the susahness triples! Can you believe that I have to grab an Enid Blyton just to check if my past and present tenses are correct?

I bet the kids I saw performing at the concert last night can speak and write better English than I can. (Kids = Q-Dees Taman Midah kindy-goers, concert = Q-Dees Concert 2004 at IYC, Cheras - see my nephew was dancing to a remix version Turn Around last night - his teacher coloured his hair red, and he's got eye shadow and lipstick applied - woo hoo!)

OK la, the things is, sometimes when writer's block sets in, you'll feel so bodo sometimes. It happens from time to time la but that's not an excuse to deliver your stories late. So I'm chanting my personal I-must-write-that-bloody-story-now mantra now...

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Anwar = Pahlawan Asia? Not quite

Here's what I found in my Y! mail today:

Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2004 16:55:49 +0800
Subject: Sila Undi Kalau Berminat..........

Time calonkan Anwar sebagai 'Pahlawan Asia'
Thursday, September 30 @ 11:52:51 MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, 30 Sept (Hrkh)- Ketua Pemuda KeADILan, Ezam Mohd Noor menyeru rakyat Malaysia untuk memberi sokongan kepada Dato' Seri Anwar yang dicalonkan sebagai salah seorang 'Pahlawan Asia' oleh sebuah majalah terkemuka, Time Asia.
Anwar adalah salah seorang daripada 20 tokoh-tokoh Asia yang dicalonkan untuk diundi secara online di laman web rasmi majalah tersebut.
Dalam undian yang masih berjalan sekarang, Anwar yang dibebaskan pada 2 September lepas berada di tempat ketiga di belakang tahanan politik Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi dan pejuang kemanusiaan Tibet, Dalai lama.
Setakat berita ini ditulis, Anwar memperolehi 9.7% undi , manakala Suu Kyi memperolehi 46.4% dan Dalai lama 39.5%. Anwar adalah satu-satunya calon dari Malaysia yang menerima pencalonan tersebut.
Sehubungan itu, menurut Ezam, rakyat Malaysia seluruhnya harus berbangga dengan pengiktirafan ini dan mengambil bahagian dalam pengundian yang masih berjalan sekarang.
"Saya menyeru seluruh rakyat Malaysia tanpa mengira fahaman politik dan kaum supaya memberi sokongan kepada Anwar dengan meluangkan masa melayari laman tersebut dan mengundi Anwar sebagai tanda sokongan," kata Ezam kepada Harakahdaily.
Pelayar laman web boleh mengundi untuk memilih tokoh masing-masing. Keputusan akan diumumkan pada 4 Oktober 2004. -ER/zs

I got the above email for subscribing to one particular KM e-group, and responding to this message, another member wrote in:

Date: Fri, 1 Oct 2004 09:13:46 +0800
Subject: Sila Undi Kalau Berminat..........

Tell me, or even list down 3 deliverables during his tenure as DPM what
he has done to Asia or even to Malaysia to deserve this recognition.

Somehow to me that's aptly put. I mean, minus all the charges about sodomy etc, I still don't see him contributing much - frankly speaking the only thing about Anwar that I can remember is his suggestion that we all use sebutan baku for Bahasa Melayu. And I hated it.

Probably I'm just not being the good Malaysian who remembers who did what for the country - *sigh*.

Since the results were supposed to be released yesterday, I layaried Time Asia's website... And here's the list of those nominated in the same category, and the results:

Aung San Suu Kyi Imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate
40.4% 37,617 votes
Anwar Ibrahim Former Deputy PM, finally free
35.9% 33,379 votes
Dalai Lama Global spiritual leader
20.3% 18,879 votes
Anuradha Koirala Saving those sold into prostitution and slavery
0.5% 482 votes
Yang Liwei China's first man in space
0.5% 482 votes
Narayana Murthy Infosys founder, IT entrepreneur
0.4% 373 votes
Corazon Aquino Post-Marcos savior
0.3% 266 votes
Liu Xiang Track star and Olympic medalist
0.3% 264 votes
Manmohan Singh The unexpected Prime Minister
0.2% 227 votes
Sakie Yokota Working to bring North Korean abductees home
0.2% 173 votes
Kim Dae Jung Political prisoner turned President
0.1% 124 votes
Shaukat Aziz Banker, finance minister and now PM
0.1% 116 votes
Martin Lee Longtime campaigner for democracy
0.1% 98 votes
Chen Chih Hsin & Chu Mu Yen First Olympic Gold Medallists
0.1% 97 votes
Lee Hsien Loong Taking up the reins
0.1% 86 votes
Dat Nguyen The first Vietnamese-American in the NFL
0.1% 84 votes
Liang Congjie Environmentalist and founder, Friends of Nature
0.1% 83 votes
Medha Patkar Fighting to save the Narmada river valley
0.1% 74 votes
Tarun Tejpal Editor of, investigative journalist
0.1% 67 votes
Wang Shuo "Punk Lit" pioneer
0.1% 49 votes
Total Votes Cast: 93,022
- compiled from