Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Three-Course Classic Comedies

Entrée: I am sure this is one of the most watched comedy clips at all times, but this is for those who have not watched it before. Racist contents, but hey, as with all other comedies, it's to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Be a man, do the right thing!
Another classic, from George Carlin. You gotta watch this, it borders on being vulgar and inconsiderate, but if you can't accept those, just censor them and the rest are damn good jokes! Anyway the part 2 of this clip is below this.
Anyway some of the other George Carlin clips are also hilarious, but I would warn you that some of his clips mock religions quite insensitively and hence are best avoided if you aren't ready for that. But be assured that the clip I put here is clean of those elements, just sit back and laugh your lungs out! :)
And for the dessert, top 10 George W Bush moments! :D


Sunday, January 28, 2007


Some others here.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Stupid JPJ

Warning: This extremely long post consists of a string of rants and nothing else. But it is a story about what every Malaysian loves to hate - the inefficient government agencies. So you have it there, reader's discretion is advised.


In my recent encounterS with JPJ, I am forced to reach an unkind conclusion: 做鬼作怪无影无迹

Here's how the story goes. I study in Melbourne, Australia, and sometimes I need to drive when I want to go on road trips. According to what I have heard, in order to drive legally in Australia, I need to have some documentations from JPJ in order to prove that I am a holder of a valid driving license. But I am not sure about the details, so I decided to go to JPJ to ask for more details.


First Visit to JPJ - One Day in December

In a lovely afternoon, a very excited me embarked on the journey to JPJ after asking for directions from my parents. I wanted to renew my license anyway, so it's a journey with two purposes. I was filled with joy in anticipation of my new license and the needed documentation for me to drive in Melbourne.

My sense of direction was proven not so bad as I reached JPJ without much trouble. When I reached there, naturally the first thing I did was to look for somewhere to park. Public vehicles aren't allowed inside the JPJ compound, so I had to look for some where else, preferably on the roadside nearby. Left, right, left right. It was a very remote road, the road was very wide, and there was no traffic except JPJ visitors. Everywhere I laid my eyes on, there was no place for parking on the road. No, you got it wrong if you guessed that it's because the roadside was fully parked - it's almost empty. There was no place because someone put up a sign that says "no parking" along the whole length of the road. Yes, no parking on the broad daylight although it's a damn broad road with no traffic.

All right then. Obviously there must be some where I could park my car, right? Yes of course. A huge empty space was conveniently located opposite JPJ, and of course you guessed it right, a money collecting booth was conveniently located at the entrance of the space. Okay, okay.. no problem. Just pay for it, just this ONE time. Someone politely asked for "seringgit dua", and I politely paid it.

So, maintaining a joyous mood, I went out of the parking lot and proceeded to the JPJ office. I got to the right building after asking for direction, and patiently I waited for my turn. It was not long before I got called. For the part of renewing license, it was swiftly processed, and their speed was pretty fast, which I presumed was because that's their routine work. Now come the tricky part - asking about driving in Australia. The friendly counter abang told me (not in exact wording):
Kalau nak pandu kat Australia ada dua cara.. Yang pertama itu dapatkan IDP (International Driving Permit) la, kalau tidak boleh tulis satu surat rasmi ke JPJ, katakan nak memohon bagi memandu di Australia, dan kemudian masukkan alamat JPJ di Australia, alamat kamu di Australia, dan sebagainya. Bagi jugak fotostat dokumen-dokumen itu lah, dan serah dua puluh ringgit. Kami akan keluarkan satu surat dengan butir-butiran lesen kamu lah, dan bila kat Australia gunakan surat itu sahaja
Wow that was a fair surprise for me. I could actually get it done for twenty ringgit, instead of paying one hundred and fifty ringgit every year for the International Driving Permit. Since I need to prepare the official letter and the photocopies, I went home so that I could apply on another day.


Second Visit to JPJ - 23 January

Alright, I admit that I am a procrastinator. I didn't visit JPJ again until 23 January as I went to KL, was busy online and so on and so forth. But all in all, yeah, I procrastinated until 23 Jan.

Yippie, I thought, I could get the whole thing done on that day! Painstakingly I prepared a formal letter, printed it in a shop, and photocopied all the relevant documents. And I went to JPJ again.

And yes, I paid 1.20 Ringgit for the parking again. I was starting to get annoyed with the daylight robbery, but it's okay, that was the LAST time I was going to pay it. Fine.

I repeated the whole process - going to JPJ office, getting a number, waiting for the call. So the PA system announced the sweet number, and I presented to the counter with the documentations. It was a different guy from the first encounter, and then came the moment of truth:
A Receptionist: *Flip flip flip* *Read read read* *Double check with another receptionist* Eerr... Adik, ini tak boleh buat lah... Kami tak buat macam itu bagi Australia. Bagi Singapura boleh lah buat surat macam ini, tapi... bagi Australia, perlulah beli IDP. Yang Singapura itu kami ada buat perjanjian boleh gunakan surat bagi konvert lesen, tapi Australia itu tak ada perjanjian...
What the ****?!!

After the previous trip, the whole shebang of printing and photocopying process, now they were telling me this whole thing didn't apply for Australia? All right all right. Fine. I would just accept the fate that I couldn't drive in Australia, since 150 ringgit per year is too expensive for me. I have wasted all the parking fee, photocopying and freaking expensive printing all for nothing. FINE.


After the Second Visit

I was discontented. Boh Siok. I went online to look for more info, and with the help of Chang Jie I managed to find the VicRoad page with the information for a foreign driver. Basically it says that for an international student, if I have a valid overseas license, I can actually drive in Australia as long as that license comes with an English translation. So that means just make an English translation for my Malay license, I could already drive in Victoria (the state Melbourne is in) legally.

It was such a good news for me. No extra charges, no 150 ringgit, no formal letter. I just needed to print out an English translation, get JPJ to certify it, and I was good to go!


The Third Visit to JPJ - 24 January

It was not as easy as I thought to translate a small piece of license, but I managed to do it anyway. I paid for the printing again, and off I went to JPJ, again in a relieved mood. Of course I was fairly positive about the trip despite it being the third trip, as I was going to end the whole ordeal.

At the parking lot, I grudgingly paid for the parking for the third time. I almost wanted to punch that collector lady when she nonchalantly called out "Seringgit dua!" Alright. Three ringgit and sixty cents, that's all you were going to get from me, greedy parking lot!

All right, let's cut the redundant part and get straight to the office. So I went to the counter with that translation, and the receptionist asked me to deal with the more "tua liap" people inside the office.

I presented the translation and asked whether she could translate certify it for me.
Tua Liap Officer: *Read read read* Yang ini, kamu buat sendiri kah?

Sei Liap Me: Ya.

Tua Liap Officer: Aiyorr, tak boleh buat macam itu. Kami tak boleh sign la macam ini. Kamu mesti tulis satu surat, katakan mau memohon JPA keluarkan satu surat rasmi dengan butiran lesen kamu, dan... [blah blah blah, the same things the guy told me in the first visit]
TULAN. (Visit this Kennysia post for more visual effect)

I was sure my face must be as black as a charcoal when I heard that. Yes, it's a bit vulgar, but no other word could describe my feeling better. They went on pressing on how illegal it was to have them sign that and how I did not "follow their ways". Alright, I told the officer about what happened in my previous two trips. She didn't seem very apologetic about it, and went on lecturing me what I should do. At the end I think she must have seen my face colour, because she eventually said "Sorry la kena datang berapa kali".

At least she apologised at the end. Okay. I was magnanimous.


Fourth Visit to JPJ - 25 January

Okay la this was the last time liao. The real last time. I had a weird feeling that it's not going to be a smooth day, but that's impossible, I thought.

This time I was smart, I parked on a roadside a bit further from JPJ, where there was no sign but a faint yellow line on the road. That was a bet, of course, 1.20 Ringgit vs. an offence summon.

I entered the office by myself as the officer told me the previous day, and gave her the letter.
Tua Liap Officer: *Read read read* Adik, perkataan atas surat itu tak begitu tepat ni... Kamu kata "pengesahan untuk memandu di Australia", kami tak boleh mengesahkan, kami hanya boleh mengeluarkan butir-butiran kamu sahaja.
I must consider myself to be very civilised as I didn't burst out in the office. That was just way too much for anyone to bear. What, the wording in an official letter? It's just for the purpose of archiving applications, now you were telling me that my wording was incorrect, on my fourth visit? (Update: Read my p/p/s for this event)
Another Not-So-Tualiap Officer: Eerm kenapa tak apply IDP?

Tulan Me: *Black Face* IDP mahal lah, seratus lima puluh ringgit setiap tahun!

Another Not-So-Tualiap Officer: Kamu belajar kat luar negara, mesti ada duit itu...

Tulan Me: *Black Face*

Another Not-So-Tualiap Officer: Okay la macam itu. Saya bagi satu kertas putih, kamu tulislah satu surat baru mengikut format dia.
I settled for a neatly handwritten letter at the end. After four visits, twenty ringgit and half an hour, they finally got me the precious official document that I asked for. Reading the motto of "Kedah Maju 2010" and "Mesra Cekap Telus" in the document, I had a mixed feeling.


Seriously, what the heck with all the red tapes and the bad attitudes? Why can't they improve the whole process to this work flow:
  1. Visit JPJ one day with my license, passport and its photocopies.
  2. Ask at the counter about driving in Australia.
  3. Fill out a form so that they could archive the application, and pay the money.
  4. Wait for their processing.
  5. Get the document.
Wouldn't the world be a better place? I think Pak Lah needs to pay a visit to JPJ Kedah one day. The last I heard, since he paid a surprise visit to Immigration department a few years ago, the department has become super efficient. He should pay more visits to all the other departments, seriously.

He might want to visit the parking lots and the "no parking" sign too.

p/s: After the whole incident, I am suspicious that they purposely made it hard to apply for that particular document. It's obviously a valid procedure, as they did show me many other similar applications when they showed me "the right way" to write that official letter. I suspect that they might make it hard for people to apply for it, you know, so that people apply for the more expensive IDP instead. But of course it's not for sure lah, it's just a guess. So don't sue me for defamation.

p/p/s: I just realized that I remembered wrongly. I actually wrote "memohon kebenaran daripada JPJ untuk memandu di Australia" instead of "pengesahan". But that doesn't detract from the "ketulanan" of the other events.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Amazing 3D Photographs

Hibiscus, Malaysia's national flower.
If you are wondering what the hell the two identical pictures are doing there, you must have not watched a stereogram before. A stereogram is just that, a stereo - 3-dimensional, gram - picture or drawing.

At the first glance, of course there is nothing 3-dimensional about these two images. They are simply the same 2D pictures we see everywhere. But that's not the whole deal. Just try to cross your eyes and combine the two pictures into one... Then the magic appears! The combined picture literally jumps out of the screen, and you end up with a vivid 3-dimensional picture!

For me, stereogram-viewing is relatively easy as I can cross my eyes at will. However, as far as I know a lot of people can't do the same. If you have a problem with that, try to do this: extend your index finger, look at it at a distance, and then pull it back towards your nose as you track it with your eyes. Your eyes are now "crossed"! Then come the tricky part... Get the finger out of your vision without changing your eyes' position, then look at that stereograph, maintaining the eyes' position throughout the process. At this point, you should be able to see 3 pictures in your vision (instead of 2), and the centre one is the 3D combined picture that you are interested in. If they seem to be out of focus, try to relax your eyes, again while maintaining the position. Of couse all that is easier said than done.

Isn't that wonderful? There are hundreds more of stereographs which I found in this page. Have a nice bug-viewing day, but please don't overdo it as it may cause eye fatigue.

p/s: If you are interested in the mechanism behind stereogram, there is a lot to learn in its wikipedia article.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Banned Books

107467_booksSpurred by a news about the banning of various books in some countries, I came across a web page about banned books today. Guess what, you wouldn't have known how much a source of amusement it turned out to be:

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll. Ace; Bantam; Crown; Delacorte; Dover; NAL; Norton; Penguin; Random; St. Martin. Banned in China (1931) for portraying animals and humans on the same level, "Animals should not use human language."
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. C.S. Lewis. Macmillan. Challenged in the Howard County, Md. school system (1990) because it depicts "graphic violence, mysticism, and gore."
Zen Buddhism: Selected Writings. D.T. Suzuki. Doubleday. Challenged at the Plymouth-Canton school system in Canton, Mich. (1987) because "this book details the teachings of the religion of Buddhism in such a way that the reader could very likely embrace its teachings and choose this as his religion." The last thing we need are a bunch of peaceful Buddhists running around. The horror.
While it might seem all hilarious and amusing, there are grimmer sides of the banning of books. You can truly feel for all the great works that were buried for various reasons, all of which never fully justified. In my opinion, in a free and intelligent society, no book should ever be banned. All books have some truth and lessons in it, no matter how evil it really is or seems to be. It's only by a liberal and intelligent discourse of opinions that we could learn to co-exist with each other; instead of self-fulfilling and biased views, facilitated by years of scarce knowledge. No great man has ever grown up hiding in the comfort zone of preconceived notions and reading books which serve to perpetuate one-sided world-view. It's only by a balanced and level-headed learning of all ideas that one forms his integrity and humility.

"They" always say censorship is for your own good - no, it's more likely for their good rather than yours. For those who have a sense of humour, perhaps you may want to read this to have a feel for the bliss of censorship. If you don't like that, perhaps we can start reading more romance novels at home. Oh wait, do they know that most romance novels contain "obscene" stuff that they always edit out in our cinemas? If so, why don't they blacken those pages lest our pristine thoughts are poisoned?



Sunday, January 14, 2007

Be a Man!


Flash changed to a link due to the annoying flushing sound. I thank the feedback from those who complaint. :P


Try this flash game for "Male restroom etiquette"
[From akarcade.com]

Be a man, do the right thing!

Urinary FrogRestroom etiquette is the most famous unwritten social contract in our society. It stands proud as the mutual understanding of half the world's population, but magically remains unbeknownst to the rest of the world. Urinals, the most efficient sanitary equipment ever invented by human being is easy to use, almost-perfectly clean, and is where you can look for frogs for a little game of shooting. Not a real one, of course.

Anyway ya, restroom etiquettes. Before you read this, and if you are among those who have never had the privilege to use a urinal, please try the flash game above first. After playing the game, I find myself agreeing with most of the "etiquettes" implied inside, except for the 0/1/0/0/1/1 case. For me, I would go next to the single person instead of the couple... Seriously, what are people thinking? If I go next to the couple, there two persons what will potentially see me, okay?! I will not be so careless leh. As for the 0/1/0/1/0/1/door scenario, I find myself in agreement with the game - unless the urine in my bladder has reached the critical mass, I wouldn't think about breaking the tension in the toilet. It's too dangerous.

Why is it dangerous? Haha, I just learnt that urinals can be a potential trigger of a toilet war... Amazingly, someone actually made a not-too-short video about restroom etiquette and toilet war, and youtube crowd made it one of the most popular videos of all time. It's awesome, and sounds logical except for the part where people start fighting each other.

So I hope you enjoy your "urintiquette" lesson, and put it to good use in the future.

p/s: Haha, while I was looking for a "urinal frog" picture in Flickr, this picture came out. Apparently a doctor ordered for an "urinary frog" in a lab test :P


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Be a Voter!

Be a voter! Do the right thing!

That is, if you are a Malaysian and you've turned 21. I went to the post office a few days ago and registered as an official electorate in Malaysia. It's like a piece of cake:

1. Go to your local post office.
2. Enjoy your (preferably short) queue.
3. Ask the staff "Boleh daftar menjadi pengundi pilihanraya tak?"
4. Show your IC, and with a smile tell the staff "Ya betul, saya sudah 21 lah..."
5. Wait for 5 minutes while the staff looks for that particular alphabets while poking around on the keyboard.
6. Sign on a piece of document.
7. Done!

It's our responsibility to be a voter in Malaysia - there's no use in empty talks, it's our votes that will walk our talk. We decide our own future, and let's all begin our first step by becoming a voter!

p/s: I made a few changes to my blog interface, namely deleting the "peek-a-boo comment preview" feature (it's slowing the overall loading speed of my blog) and adding "instant messaging" feature on the sidebar. Basically, from now onwards, if you see me online while you are browsing my blog, you can talk to me in real time.. That's just way cool and convenient.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Cool Eye Candy for Firefox

Wow!! Simply wow...

Tab Effect, a Firefox extension that allows you to see "box-turning" animation while changing tab is available for download! If you think that it's going to be very memory hogging and slow, nah, you are wrong, the extension is only 38kb and it works very smoothly on my relatively slow laptop.

It's definitely worth trying out, just for the "cool" factor. Admittedly it gets slow and annoying as the novelty wears off, but that is exactly what "uninstall extension" function is for. Enjoy!


Saddam Hussein's Death - A Reply

Yesterday, a columnist in SinChew Jit Poh wrote an article about Saddam's death and the rights to kill him [view it here], and I couldn't help but to write a reply to rebut his message. I would like to share it with the rest of the world, and forgive me as the letter below will be in Chinese.




可是郑先生,您用这些故事所带来的结论,恕我有些异议。 您用一句话来终结您的文章:"想想,怎样才是残忍"。这世上,有多少人不正是因为这种心态而大动干戈,以冤冤相报的心态燃烧战火呀!一个回教恐怖主义分子难道不是都会想:"嘿,说我残暴,那美国喂我们吃了多少粒炸弹,想想怎样才是残忍?" 而支持战争的美国人,对于反对战争的人,还不是每天都说:"哼,你那么同情那些被杀死的伊拉克百姓,那么我们那在双峰塔里丧生的亲友就不值得同情吗?想想怎样才是残忍。"



当然我知道他罪该万死,甚至可以说是死有余辜。我想您一定也知道,许多不满这次处死沙旦的人不都是反对死刑这项刑罚,还有更多,包括布莱尔,是因为他在死刑里遭人凌辱,以及他所受到不公平审判程序而感到不快。关于不公平审判,也许有人会说:"哈,你难道需要十年才能判出他的罪吗?"可是司法是司法,他的意义在于当人被情绪及煽动蒙昧时,有一个不可动摇的基础,让人终究会作出廉正的判断。再罪大恶极,司法都不应为其折腰,因为司法是我们廉正的资产,更是我们文明社会的体现! 至于死刑这刑罚,世界各国各有自己立场,而反对死刑的人自有宗教、人道等立场。我最近也读到了有关"死刑比起终身监禁的经济成本还高"的论点,同时也了解这死刑争议里立场皆是主观所导。可是,无论如何,我觉得我们都不应说"甚么残忍,难道他不残忍吗?",因为这和"你杀了我父亲,我亲手杀你偿债是合理的"没多大差别。您所叙述的悲惨故事让人心碎,可是冤冤还是不应相报啊!

在逻辑缪观(logical fallacies)里有一项著名的叫"两个错误不代表就变成对的" ( two wrongs don't make a right). 隔壁的小强偷了我家的荔枝,不代表窝偷摘他芒果就变成合法的了. 我觉得在沙旦这方面也是这样.我们为了显现我们的文明,以司法来制裁沙旦;可是因为人情的积愤及政治的手段,我们也成了不文明的人,何苦呢? 我重申,多少生命是赔在那思想,好像说"你那么残忍,我来报复让你也常常残忍的滋味"?


The big news over the last couple of days has been the execution of Saddam Hussein. I want to put in my own two cents about it. It's not math, but it does at least involve a bit of logic.

I wish I could remember who first said this, but I really don't know. But the important thing, in a moral sense, about the whole mess with Saddam is that he was a thug. A vicious, bloodthirsty, sadistic, evil thug who believed that power justified itself. He was the strongest thug in Iraq; therefore, according to his own worldview, he got to do whatever he wanted until someone stronger came along. Rape, torture, murder were all perfectly acceptable to him - he had the power to do it, therefore he was allowed to do it.

We, Americans, claim to not believe in that calculus of power. We claim to believe in the idea of law: a set of fundamental rules that transcend the individual humans who are in positions of power, that limit them and their actions. No matter who you are, no matter how strong you are, no matter how many guns or bombs or soldiers you have, there are some things that you simple are not allowed to do.

And that's where the problem with the execution of Saddam comes in.

Did he get what any objective observer would call a fair trial? No. The justification we keep hearing is "we know he was guilty". But that's not the point: if we really believe in the rule of law, then even if the accused is obviously, undeniably, unquestionably guilty, we have to give them a full and fair trial, with the right to hear the evidence against them, confront their accusers, and present their own defense. Not because they deserve it - but because we require it. The laws, the fundamental rules that make us different from thugs like Saddam, say that we must do it; if we ignore our laws, even in the case of an outrageously evil person like Saddam, then we validate the things he did, the way he acted.

After the trial is over, and a sentence is selected, the way that the sentence is carried out is also dictated by laws. Even in the case of a death sentence, there are rules that must be followed about how the condemned criminal is treated, and about how and when his execution must be performed.

Under pressure from the American government, the Iraqi government executed Saddam in violation of their laws concerning executions. In the execution chamber, being led to his death, the guards spit at him and cursed at him. Witnesses were allowed to bring in cellphone video cameras and tape his execution, and take souvenir photos of his dead body. His execution was illegal under the law of the land, and it was carried out with the same kind of spectacle as the executions that he commanded when he was in charge.

Saddam himself summed it up well. On the way to his execution, he said "I am a militant and I have no fear for myself. I have spent my life in jihad and fighting aggression. Anyone who takes this route should not be afraid." He spent his life as a thug ruling because he had the power to do it. Now we came along, and we were stronger than him. So by his own standards, his own rules, he did nothing wrong. He wasn't being punished; he was simply being killed because his opponents were stronger than he was. He knew it; everyone who sees the video of reads the news reports about his execution will know it. He was killed by a mob of thugs.

We could have done something different. We could have given him a fair and open trial, with all of the charges against him clearly set out, enumerated, and presented with evidence. We could have allowed him to try to defend himself and justify his actions. We could have seen a genuine, fair conviction of him on the basis of public, open evidence. If (as one would expect), the fair trial ended with the sentence of death, we could have executed him in accordance with the law, with the dignity that he denied to his victims, but which is required by law.

We could have shown that we were different from him. But we didn't. In the end, we and the Iraqi government we created acted as a gang of thugs. We allowed Saddam Hussein to die secure in the knowledge that his view of power was correct, and that he was justified in doing all of the evil things that he did in his life. We betrayed everything we claim to stand for, everything we claim to believe, and everything we claimed that this war was meant to bring to the people of Iraq.

It's a crime. Literally.



I would like to hear more about your thoughts on this issue. What do you think? Are they right to have done what they did?


Thursday, January 11, 2007


Almost certainly, the only times people talk about life is when deaths occur. And when life occurs, no one would ever give a thought about death.

Life is 100% fatal, but that is one of the reasons we cherish life so much. We all know that there's an expiry date for our organic bodies, but nobody knows whether their due dates are 50 years, 10 years, 1 year, 1 week or 1 second from now. Actuaries may look up tables to calculate your statistical odds of living to a particular age, but for practical purpose death, or life for that matter, is a sheer uncertainty. It's this very uncertainty, however, that gives us comfort, that confers us with the precious hope and bright outlook on life, that propels us to live life to the fullest. We know that hopefully, there is a long way ahead of us, a life akin to a box of chocolate. So we live, knowing that when we close our eyes every night, we will rather certainly wake up the next morning and live for another day.

But life is never fair. Some of us are unfortunate enough to be robbed of the hope of uncertainty. For some, what dawns upon them is the certainty that their loved ones would be gone in a year or two, as their bodies are rummaged by rebellious cells that won't give up dividing or attacking other cells. No, no soap drama is required to learn more. Just imagine having to prepare for your imminent death in a few months from now. Imagine the fear of the knowledge that you will lose your loved one any time from now. Imagine losing your closest one tomorrow morning. Imagine feeling your body fail you. I wouldn't even allow myself to linger in such thoughts for an extra moment.

Death is debilitating, more so to the people around the deceased. As we go through the cycles of live, we relish, relieve, relive and finally relinquish. The dead will not come back to life, but who are we to say that their lives only lived on their bodies? Gone are their breaths, but their souls are within us, their spirits live on.

Through deaths, we strive to see more in lives. I dedicate this to my bereaved friends. May they gain more strength through the difficult moments.

p/s: I wanted to post more on my birthdays and new year, but due to recent events I had to delay those posts.