Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Carols: Alternate Names

I got this in my mailbox (from A-Joke-A-Day). These are all Christmas carols described using alternate words, and I think they're pretty cool. I haven't figured many of them out (except "Silent Night") and that reflects how limited my knowledge of carols is. :D

How many can you figure out?

1. Quadruped with crimson proboscis
2. 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. without noise
3. Miniscule hamlet in the far east
4. Ancient benevolent despot
5. Adorn the vestibule
6. Exuberance directed to the planet
7. Listen, aerial spirits harmonizing
8. Monarchial trio
9. Yonder in the haystack
10. Assemble, everyone who believes
11. Hallowed post meridian
12. Fantasies of a colorless December 25th
13. Tin tintinnabulums
14. A dozen 24-hour Yule periods
15. Befell during the transparent bewitching hour
16. Homo sapien of crystallized vapor
17. I merely desire a pair of incisors
18. I spied my maternal parent osculating a fat man in red
19. Perambulating through a December solstice fantasy
20. Aloft on the acme of the abode
21. Slumber in ethereal quiet...
22. Hey there! The announcing celestial beings carol...
23. O greetings of ease and happiness...
24. On commencement of Yuletide my honey bestowed upon me...
25. Decorate the passage with branches of evergreen sprigs...
26. Once upon a misty night prior to Christ's birthday...
27. Ooh, celestial body of marvel, celestial body of strength...
28. With a vegetable stem smoker and clothes fastening snout...
29. It's a fluff-ball sphere in the cold season...
30. Come on, come on, come on, get moving...
31. O scared darkness, the asterisks are brilliantly shimmering...
32. It's fixin' to appear extremely similar to December 25th...
33. Small children with their optical aids entirely illuminated...
34. Loyal buddies that are important to ourselves collect closely to ourselves again...
35. Boppin' while circling the tannenbaum…
36. Royalty of royalties always and always…
37. O approach, y’all devoted happy and victorious…
38. Urban walkways, congested walkways, trimmed in a festive manner…
39. Ah! The atmospheric condition beyond is terrific…
40. Percussion instruments jingle, are you harking…
41. Remarked the evening breeze to the tiny sheep…
42. Wishing your dates be gleeful and intelligent…
43. Harmony on the planet, kindness to Homo sapiens…
44. Hop in the sack, hide your noggin, since the fat man comes this evening…
45. Ourselves bid yourselves a joyous Noel and a cheerful neoteric 365 days...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!

Answers here =)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Throwing Out The Past

I really hate to throw things away. I like to keep things. I hate to throw anything out... but throwing was what I had been doing for the past couple of weeks. Much as I treasured the things that I threw out, there just isn't space for them anymore (as in, physically no space!). Some of the things I had to get rid of (the ones I was most reluctant to part with):

1. A chair and a table made of wooden clothes pegs (been kept 16 yrs), given to me by my closest friend in primary school (I was 'kura-kura' and she was 'siput babi'). We learned to make them in art class. I remember we also made a chicken using clay and real feathers from a feather duster, but I simply cannot remember what happened to that. I really didn't want to throw the wooden-clothes-pegs-chair-and-table out, but they were already falling apart...

2. My St Johns file (been kept 12 yrs) containing records of medicine purchases, public duty assignments (for when I was the Medical Storekeeper), and budget plannings for various activities, club fund accounts (for then I was the Treasurer), and photocopied notes on first aid, nursing and bandaging. There was even a map of our town, marked for Hari Bendera collections plan, and a long list of the names, IC numbers, addresses and phone numbers of ALL our members, in my friend's (the Secretary's) own hand. Gosh. What the hell I was thinking when I kept all that... but it was a really great rediscovery, right before they became thrash.

3. The remains of a bouquet of Ferrero Rocher (after the chocolates were consumed) (been kept 8 yrs) that my precious room mate, CS, had delivered to me - during Thermodynamics class, on Valentine's Day! It was one of my happiest moments during that time of mourning (ngam-ngam kena dump by first boyfriend). Our lecturer (Ms Susan!) was talking when someone knocked on the door, and then came in to class with that BEAUTIFUL bouquet in her hand. And then, she called my name, and gave it to me, and the whole class went "Oooooh!". I was a tiny bit disappointed to find out it wasn't from a cute guy... and then I found out CS's club was the one selling them... but hey - of all people she sent it to me! I must be kinda special to her...? (neil, give yourself a slap. *piak*)

4. The whole stack on course notes from my college days (been kept 8-9 yrs). Well, yeah - contrary to most people, who'd immediately incinerate their books and notes upon completing the final exams of a course, I kept everything carefully... in case I need to refer to them again in the future (ever heard of 'pre-requisites'?). Obviously, that never happened, and they were never looked at ever since they were packed away and kept in a box. Quite an apparent reason for them being gotten rid of now, I think.

5. The GIGANTIC stack of course notes from my 3 years in university (been kept 5-8 yrs). Being kept and now thrown away for the same reasons as the above...

6. The little card that came with a single stalk of rose (been kept 6 yrs) that a guy sent to me on Valentine's day. It's nothing really - just "To neil. Happy Valentine's Day. From (if you really expected to read a name here... please lar!)" I don't really know why I kept it (ok, I couldn't keep the rose forever, so I kept the card instead, but that's not what I meant when I wrote I don't know why I kept it). It's a plain, 2"-by-1" piece, and the message was not even in his handwriting! I guess I really appreciated him, but... (next item please!)

Well, the next items must be in another post because I have another drawer stuffed full of things to clear out. One of the things there - a handwritten apology note by the chairperson of St John, on a piece of art paper, with a cartoon she drew of herself kneeling on durians and holding a pineapple on her head, given to us during one of our competitions, because she was unable to be there with us. It is 11 yrs old, and I am still thinking if I should keep it, or throw it...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

HamSap Man

The term casanova is used to describe a (usually) dashingly handsome man who is eloquent and charming, who goes after many girls. However, if the goes-after-many-girls man is un-tall, un-handsome and has oily hair and face, we simply refer to him as a hamsap man.

Most men are more or less hamsap but this fellow that is sooo hamsap (and everyone knows it) that if he puts himself in the second place for hamsap men challenge, nobody would admit to be in the first. While everyone here always strives to maintain friendly, professional relationships with those we teach, this man's ultimate goal is to buaya all the girls in his class, except for the taller ones (lucky them!) And as if buaya-ing current students is not enough, he also buayas former students. I can't imagine the lives of the male students in his class (neglected, cast-aside, left to rot away...)

At the company's annual dinner, most staff were enjoying themselves relaxing and having conversations, other than enjoying the food. However, the hamsap man's mission at the dinner was to spot as many beautiful ladies as possible, stalk them, find out who they were and where they're from. If he went about his filthy business discreetly, I wouldn't be writing this post right now - no - he had to announce how many ladies he's spotted, how many times he's walked around to stalk them and count his "successes" (this so-and-so sits at that table). That should be more than enough to disgust all the ladies (and even some of the gentlemen). Then, I heard from a lady colleague this morning that he actually went over to our lady boss and commented "You look very sexy!" The boss said nothing, but the moment she turned away from him, her face turned as black as RGB 000000! SIGH. That's what we call hamsap-ing without using brain. Sick.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I saw this DVD player last night at a shop - it boasts to be DVD, DVD-R, DVD-RW, CD, VCD, MP3 etc. compatible. Very impressive. Then, I saw the advertisement sign for the player on top of it: the slogan went something like "What you have, we can play" and in bold caps "KING OF PLAYABILITY". I laughed out loud reading that (and people who saw me must had thought I was crazy). Well, there is nothing wrong with the word "playability" - it just strikes me as a really funny way of describing a DVD player :P

Monday, November 13, 2006

What - It's You!

Imagine this - by sheer coincidence, your apartment-mate in college was your secondary school senior; or your university friend's father was your own father's school-mate; or the karate guy you knew in college happened to be your husband's bestfriend since childhood... I've had all of that - and more. And it keeps happening.

Recently, I attended my husband's high school reunion dinner. I don't usually like such intimately nostalgic functions full of strangers to me, but I know quite a handful of them, because we went to the same university (yeah, this world is that small), so it wasn't a completely stangers-ful for me. And there I was - enjoying my food and watching MTV while the old friends sought one another out. All of the sudden, out of the corner of my right ear (ok, there's no such thing, but it adds drama to the sentence *wink*) I heard a familiar name pronounced. Casually, I let my eyes roll the the direction of the voices, and there she was - a familiar face, right there in front of me. I grabbed her hand, not sure of what to say, not sure if I'd gotten the right person. After all, I have not seen her in person for almost ten years - since college days!

In college, we were of different programs so I'd never had met nor knew her had we not both joined the karate club. Here's a photo from nearly ten years ago:

She circled in red, me in blue (to the left of me is my beloved CS!)

We squealed and hugged and were totally at a loss for words. Truly - it was such an unexpected meeting I was delighted, bewildered and for the first five minutes, cast into a mental stupor. Locating an old friend is like suddenly stumbling upon a little treasure you'd lost track off and forgotten as lost - it is most wondrous.

Readers - if you happen to be one of the people standing of sitting in the old photograph above - drop me a line immediately!

Sunday, November 5, 2006

More One-Liners

I enjoyed the last post (doesn't matter if nobody else did - yet), so here's more:

- Help a man when he is in trouble and he will remember you when he is in trouble again.

- Complex problems have simple, easy to understand wrong answers.

- Behind every successful man, is a woman who is surprised.

- Alcohol doesn't solve any problems, but then again, neither does milk.

- Forgive your enemies but remember their names.

- The number of people watching you is directly proportional to the stupidity of your action.

One-Line Quotes

This is what happens when someone (i.e. me) wants to post just for the sake of posting. (I got the following from an email years back...)

The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office. - Robert Frost

The trouble with being punctual is that nobody's there to appreciate it. - Franklin P. Jones

We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like? -Jean Cocturan

It matters not whether you win or lose; what matters is whether I win or lose. - Darrin Weinberg

Laugh away...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Tales of No Importance...

... to sum last week up.

The Cockroach

It was early in the morning - I just got to work. I was reading the news online, and rather absorbed in it, when I noticed a shadowy movement at the edge of my keyboard. I looked harder and I saw them - two long, thin, black antennae feeling the side of my keyboard, my monitor, my keyboard again... followed by their owner, a two-inch long, BIG cockroach. I gave an involuntary squeal and jumped away from my table. The faculty was empty save for Ms W, who came over immediately to see what was wrong. I told her about the vermin. She stood watch while I rolled up newspaper and prodded the thing out of the underside of my keyboard. Came out, it did, and flew towards Ms W's direction. I screamed; she screamed and ran. The cockcroach disappeared under someone else's table, then crept towards Ms W's table. That was the last straw for her! She took the rolled-up paper from me, and whacked the disgusting 6-legs while it was on the carpet. It stopped moving, but it's legs were still wriggling a little. Ms W said it wasn't dead yet, and whacked it a few more times. OK - stopped moving completely (what with being a little flat now). Ms W then pulled some tissue paper to clean the mess up. She threw the tissues on top of the cockroach, but didn't pick it up. Instead, she lifted her foot and step-step-stepped on it a few times. "Just in case" she said. Then, she picked up the mess and threw it into the wastepaper basket. Problem solved! Hurrah Cockroach Killer!

The Coffee-Bag

It was one of the typical mid-workday whim - a nice, big mug of steaming black coffee. The water was boiled, my thermal mug was ready and I was holding a 2-in-1 coffee and sugar mix bag wrapped in plastic foil. The top of the wrapper was cut zig-zagged, so naturally one would tear the wrapper from that end - which was what I did. And there - the wrapper was torn along with the coffee bag in it. Yikes. So how was I supposed to make my coffee now, without spilling the coffee powder into the drink? Think. Think! Tie the rupture up with a string! That's right! Where to get a string? I took a look at my messy table and at a corner, bits and pieces of strings from the semesterly final exams. Amongst these, are small strings that students use to tie their answer scriptes together. Perfect! I took one, cleaned it, tied the torn part of my coffee bag the best I could, and went on to enjoy my mug of strong, steaming, black coffee, without coffee powder leakage. Another problem solved :)

The Smart-Asses

Two of my students from last semester came to look for me. I was wondering why, since they were the ones who gave me really bad evaluation that time. I met them anyway - one guy asked me outright "how to solve" two very classic programming tasks (1. convert decimal number to binary digits; 2. determine if a number is a palindrome). I looked at him for a moment (with a smirk on my face) and I asked if he was expecting complete solutions in softcopy from me. " No, no!" he immediately denied, and said they only wanted me to "teach" them. I looked at both of them for a moment longer, and I noticed both brought no stationery with them, except for the second guy holding a USB memory drive in his hand. "Oho!" I said - no pens nor paper (for making notes of the "teaching") but a memory stick (hopefully to copy solution from Ms neil)? They had nothing to say (looking sheepish now). Upon further questioning, I discovered that the two tasks which solutions they tried to pry out of me were actually their assignment questions this semester, by another lecturer. So, try to get solution from previous semester lecturer (who failed you, by the way) for this semester's assignment? Smart, but not smart enough. Problem not solved - but this one's not my problem =)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Adorable Childish Minds

Have you read Kate's post on the amazing things children write? I found the following lot in my mailbox today. Enjoy! :)

Proverbs From the First Grade...
A first grade teacher collected well-known proverbs. She gave each kid in the class the first half of the proverb, and asked them to fill in the rest. Here's what the kids came up with:

1. Better to be safe than... punch a 5th grader.
2. Strike while the... bug is close.
3. It's always darkest before... daylight savings time.
4. Never underestimate the power of... termites.
5. You can lead a horse to water but... how?
6. Don't bite the hand that... looks dirty.
7. No news is... impossible.
8. A miss is as good as a... Mr.
9. You can't teach an old dog... math.
10. If you lie down with dogs, you... will stink in the morning.
11. Love all, trust... me.
12. The pen is mightier than... the pigs.
13. An idle mind is... the best way to relax.
14. Where there is smoke, there's... pollution.
15. Happy is the bride who... gets all the presents.
16. A penny saved is... not much.
17. Two is company, three's... The Musketeers.
18. None are so blind as... Helen Keller.
19. Children should be seen and not... spanked or grounded.
20. If at first you don't succeed... get new batteries.
21. You get out of something what you... see pictured on the box.
22. When the blind lead the blind... get out of the way.
23. There is no fool like... Aunt Edie.
24. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you. Cry and... you have to blow your nose.

Hey, I just discovered that posting stuff that I get in my emails can be fun. Hahah. Hope you've had fun reading too.

Close Encounter

There I was - in the train, on my way home, sitting and reading. The train stopped at a station, the door opened and a big crowd boarded. There were two empty seats to my left, and two rather large girls took them. The one who sat right beside me sat so close to me that I was, well - literally squashed. On my right was the glass partition so I couldn't really move away a lot. I scooted from her as much as space allowed, but she continued to shove her ample self into my side. Her enormous backside pressed on the side of my thigh and her big big spare tayar on my arm. She was so into her "super-exciting" conversation with her friend that she didn't even realise what she was doing to me. Really cannot tahan! Luckily I was going off at the next station (which was less than 5 minutes' journey away). And luckily she was a she. If she was a man, I would've kicked "his" balls. Left ball, then right ball. Then left ball again.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Big and Little

A computer's memory design, at one of it's lowest level of abstraction, can be either Big-endian or Little-endian. The smallest chunk of addressable memory is usually a byte, and each byte in memory has a memory address. Big Endian computers store the most significant byte at the lower address, and the least significant byte at the higher address. Little Endian computers, on the other hand, store the least significant byte at the lower address, and the most significant byte at the higher address.

(Heuring & Jordan, 2004)

From the time I taught this to my class, I had known that the terms big-endian and little-endian came from Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. The big-endians are those who broke their eggs on the larger ends whereas the little-endians broke theirs on the smaller ends - and that was the cause of a war between them. Recently, after watching the last half hour of Gulliver's Travels (mini series) on TV, I got hold of an old copy of the book and started reading.

For a lot of people, Gulliver's Travels amounted to no more than a child's fairy-tale of a man who ventured into a land inhabited by diminutive people. There are actually four parts of the travels of Lemuel Gulliver: 1st, to Liliput where the people are about 6 inches tall; 2nd, to Brobdingnag where the people are about 60 feet tall; 3rd, to Laputa (a flying island!), Balnibarbi (which has an interesting Academy), Glubbdubdrib (which means 'The Island of Sorcerers'), Luggnagg (where some children are born immortal...) and Japan (unlike all the rest, Japan is real); and 4th, to the country of the Houyhnhnms, who are a race of very intelligent, talking horses.

The big- and little-endian tales are from Lilliput, where traditionally, the people ate their eggs by breaking the larger end. However, when the grandfather of the (then) current Emperor was a boy, he cut his finger once, breaking an egg according to tradition. His father, the emperor then, therefore ordered that thence, all eggs must be broken upon their smaller ends. Such then -

"The people so highly resented this law, that our histories tell us there have been six rebellions raised on that account; wherein one emperor lost his life, and another his crown." (original text)

The people who insisted on breaking their eggs on the larger end (big-endians) were then exiled (some rather die than break their eggs on the smaller end). They published many books on the controversy, but their books were forbidden. A neighbouring kingdom, Blefuscu, accused Lilliput of a schism in religion and provided for the big-endian exiles, resulting in a war!

"Now the Big-Endian exiles have found so much credit in the Emperor of Blefuscu's court, and so much private assistance and encouragement from their party here at home, that a bloody war hath been carried on between the two empires for six and thirty moons with various success; during which time we have lost forty capital ships, and a much greater number of smaller vessels, together with thirty thousand of our best seamen and soldiers;" (original text)

By now, surely you'd have felt the pettiness of these little people. However, the author was actually referring to the real thing - read the first paragraph here.

Gulliver's Travels is no children's tale. It is a clever satire.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Villette - Completed

A couple of months back, I commenced on reading this book. (Would anyone care to read it too? Online text here.)

It is a story of loneliness and unrequited love, and how the heroine had to live with them all her life. I find that I can really connect to the emotions portrayed in the book - well, can't we all! Solitude is something that I am no stranger to - in certain times of my life, it so invaded me that I could feel it in all its emptiness, despite being surrounded by people. And what of unrequited love? I had a great depression over one unrequited love, and several other small ones... heheh. But, as I said - who'd never?

So back to the story (should I say, er - spoilers warning?) - the heroine, Lucy Snowe, after a family misfortune of some kind, was left all alone in this world. She bravely took up a position as an English teacher in a French-speaking boarding school (which is why there are so many French sentences in this book!) in the capital city (Villette) of a foreign country (Labassecour - which is imaginary, by the way). Her loneliness was forged largely on her being in a foreign land, not being able to speak their language at first, and having no true friends. After some time, she chanced upon meeting a young doctor, who turned out to be an old acquaintance. She fell in love with him by-and-by, but ... well, you can guess. Someone else loved Lucy - a Professor of Literature (but I really dislike him, because he seemed such a control freak!). After he'd professed his love to her, he had to leave for India for 3 years! And at the time he was sailing home, a terrible storm raged over the sea for 7 days!

So what happened then? Well, I have a pretty clear idea, but you'd better read the book and make your own conclusion. (OK, I know nobody's really interested) :P

Friday, September 15, 2006

Something Else to Read

I'm sure we've all read lots of stories of ridiculous law suits won by ridiculous people for money-related ill-intentions. Here's one I found in my mailbox today:

A Charlotte, NC man having purchased a box of very rare, very expensive cigars, insured them against fire among other things.

Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of cigars and without having made even his first premium payment on the policy, the man filed a claim against the insurance company.

In his claim, the man stated the cigars were lost "in series of small fires". The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason - that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion.

The man sued...and won! In delivering the ruling, the judge agreed that the claim was frivolous. He stated nevertheless that the man held a policy from the company in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure against fire, without defining what is considered to be, "unacceptable fire," and was obligated to pay the claim.

Rather than endure a lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid the man $15,000.00 for the rare cigars he had lost in the "fires".


After the man cashed the check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of ARSON!! With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the man was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000.00 fine.

And this is what we call... PADAN MUKA! hahahahah

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Something to Read

Well, I'm just givng my readers something to read - from one of those many forwarded emails that we receive everyday. This one stood out pretty much, being an impressive academic analysis on the existence of Santa Claus, which is amazingly clever, although ridiculous.


There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or Buddhist (except maybe in Japan) religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the population reference bureau). At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming there is at least one good child in each. Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get onto the next house. Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false, but will accept for the purposes of our calculations), we are not talking about 0.78 miles per household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks. This means Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second - 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a pokey 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour. The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized LEGO set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that flying reindeer can pull 10 times the normal amount, the job can't be done with eight or even nine of them -Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch). A mass of nearly 600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reaches the fifth house on his trip. Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 m.p.s. in .001 seconds, would be subjected to acceleration forces of 17,000 g's. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim considering all the high calorie snacks he must have consumed over the years) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo. Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead now.

Pretty long one, eh? Have a great day :)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bad English vs Bad Attitude

The Star has this section which allows readers to spot and publicly humiliate people with poor English usage, called Mind Our English. It created a whole new breed of stuck-up, snobbish people who think that their English is sooo good, who submit photos of signage or labels with bad grammar and/or spelling, who make (in my humble opinion) insulting comments or jokes on these mistakes. I would think the ridicule acceptable if these mistakes were committed by professionals (eg, the academicians: I have heard this from a fellow lecturer - "Are you cook yourself every day?") or were spotted on official government property. However, some were simply handwritten cardboards signs put up by farm owners, hawkers, coffeeshop owners - the likes. One can imagine they probably didn't had much knowledge (nor the need to know much of) the English language. (No, I am not being discriminating) So is it really fair to point out (and make fun of) their errors in public? Give them a break! Another thing I absolutely cannot stand is how some of these peacocks make fun of how people pronounce certain "English" words which are actually not English to begin with - brand names originating from French, especially (the most famous examples: carrefour, peugeot). How can you label a person as having poor English for not knowing how to pronounce a word which is essentially French? Cacat.

My readers may conclude that I appear to be a hypocrite, since I too, have a habit of pointing out and making public (as "public" as my blog could be) certain mistakes made by others. Well, sure I do - but I don't insult people like snobs do. (Do I?) If I want to quote and make fun of all the bad English that I encounter everyday, I wouldn't have time to breathe. I only quote those that are unusually interesting and amusing, such as the following:

Would you believe it, I saw on this online album of what looked like a wedding ceremony, with this title: Wedding Day - Broom Arrival. I was sure the author meant "Groom" instead of "Broom"! Afterall, the letter "G" is adjacent to "B" on the keyboard, and a typo like that is absolutely possible. Just a typo, I told myself. And then... I saw the next album, also of the same wedding ceremony, labeled: Wedding Day - Broom meets the Bride. A little romantic alliteration? Maybe. No, I am not going to make any derogatory remarks about it. ;)

Saturday, September 9, 2006

The Shame

What is worse than making a fool of myself on the tracks, with everyone watching? Not making a fool of myself by chickening out of the event before it even started! Yup, that's what I did - stood by the sidelines and cheered those who ran. Haha. What a lucky escape. :D

And the shame of having opted out the last minute - hey, I can live with that. I never was a runner, to begin with, anyway!

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Testing 1-2-3

I am going for a test run in two hours' time. I had to - of course. If I were to die halfway around the tracks, then I'd rather do so in a practice session (with no spectators) than during the actual event (with students and staff and their children all watching!). These are the things I am going to pay attention to:

1. Where to start and stop running
2. The optimum speed to run at without appearing excessively lame or wearing myself out too soon (I at least know they are trade-offs!)
3. How to lift and replace my feet so I don't look funny and won't tumble and roll in the dirt

It's not too bad at a glance, isn't it? Still, I'm all freaked-out. How about taking this up as a personal challenge? Hmmmph. I'd much rather sing off-key in front of 300 guests at a wedding dinner (wait, I've already done that!)

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Run Away

I don't like running. For one thing, I have legs lacking in lengths, so I take more steps to cover the same distance than my regular-height friends. Secondly, I get breathless really quickly, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, I firmly believe that running or jogging hurts your spine and knee-joints. :)

When I was in school, I had always come up last in any running (or worst, cross-country jog) events. I remember we had this set of funny "tests" called Ujian Daya Tenaga Asas (UDTA) in which we had to do sit-ups, push-ups, stretching our fingers past our toes with legs straight, jumping into squares labeled 1-2-3-4 on the floor and (the dreaded) 1500m run. We were evaluated based on a standard grading scale, and I remember I could manage the highest or second highest score in each task - but for the stupid run. For that, I would get the lowest score in the scale - if I could actually finish the whole run (which I usually did, by walking half of it).

Although I now sometimes run after my bus or train, the last time I ran competitively was more than 6 or 7 years ago. We were at a karate training camp and a smart fella suggested a long jog around a kampung area as part of the morning warm-ups. That was killing enough for me, but apparently not enough for the karate masters. We were stopped about 100m from the gate of the training center, and forced to race 2-by-2 to the end (the gate), and the loser had to do like 10 or 20 push-ups. My partner, Ghost, and I came up with an (so we thought) ingenious plan - we would run as if we were racing, but we would synchronise our steps so that we could finish together, at the same time. If we ended our race in a tie, then (so we thought) there would be no loser, and no push-ups. And guess what - we were so good and precise in carrying out our plan, that the masters actually could not determine who finished first. Therefore, both of us had to do the push-ups. Bummer!

Why all these tales about my lame running history? Well, this - I have been asked to run. Yes, run - as in a race. The event is 4x400m. (!!!) I was informed about it two days ago, and the race will be three days from now. Not only have I not been running for the past few years, I have stopped exercising regularly altogether, and am now a qualified couch potato. Gosh, losing the race and losing my face aside, I can think of a lot more dreadful things that are going to happen. :(

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I saw this sign a couple of days ago, posted outside a shop in a shopping mall. I think it'd be fun to share:

Wanted: Sales Assistant. Preferably female or male, with or without experience.

It reminds me of a joke I once read somewhere - it goes: "I drink only when I am alone, or with company"

Monday, August 7, 2006

Lame Excuse

Check this out:

To: Miss neil

Sorry, Miss neil because I pass up my laboratory report lately. Actually, I already finished my report on last Tuesday. Unfortunately, I sprained my ankle on that night. My wound was very serious and I couldn't walk for the whole week. So, I couldn't pass up my report at last week. I hope Miss neil can forgive me.

From: ... (name omitted to protect privacy)

I got that message on a piece of paper clipped with a lab report which came waaay after the deadline. It gives a whole new literal meaning to the phrase a lame excuse. Poor fella! Here's an egg... take it home and boil it for your ankle.


Dinner-Date with my Old Roommate

BeeRee was my housemate for a year, and roommate for 2 years back in university. According to her calculations (I don't dare to count the years...), that was 8 years back. *whoa!!!* We exchange email messages every now and then, but I have to say it was two years since we last met each other. Thus, I was thoroughly (pleasantly, but still pretty much) shocked when I got a call from BeeRee, with an invitation to dine at her place last weekend.
We took some photos at the dinner, and she said she was going to post them on her blog. Today, when I looked, I found the most delightful post ever written about me... well, sort of about me. Heheh, actually no, it is about us. I must say I can't think of a better way to enjoy university years than what we've had.

Thank you very much, BeeRee, and a jolly good bwera bweralar to you too!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Test Attitude

At the end of every semester, we have to provide a convincing answer to this standard question: Why are there so many failures? Would you really like to know the reaons? Well, everyday #$@&*^% classroom behaviours aside, this is how they behave during a class test! (read on...)

At 8am I arrived at the class, about half the class were already there, most were hanging outside of the classroom, talking, joking, fiddling with their phones, idling. One of them was sitting in the room in semi-darkness, flipping his newspaper. I went into the class and switched on the lights and air-conditioner. Those who were idling outside entered the class and found themselves seats. Books, files, bags, newspapers etc were strewn all over the empty tables around the students. I had to remind them several times that I do not want to see anything on the tables except stationery - and still, the newspapers were still there on the tables! I am beginning to hate the sight to newspapers in classrooms. When I finally managed to get them to keep their stuff off the tables, I distributed the question papers. Even then some were still turning left, right and back, and whispering around. I had to warn them to keep quiet (gosh as if they do not know they're supposed to shut the hell up during a TEST!)

Test began at 8.15am. At 8.20 a few more came strolling in, dumped their bags on the unoccupied tables, and came straight to me to take question papers. What - they expect me to hand them the questions whilst their books and notes are lying openly on the tables? Argh! There were still students arriving for the test all the way until about 8.30am. By then, most of them were in the class already - except for one. That one - never turned up at all.

During the test, there were questions posed by the students which I do not know if actually required an answer. One of the questions goes "Write one statement to ..." ("one statement" was actually printed in bold) and a guy asked me "Miss," pointing to the question, "This one means write one statement ar?" I answered "Yes", but the actual answer I really wanted him to have was a slap. Most of the rest were simply moping over or staring blankly at their papers. The test was a 100-minute one, but before the 60th minute was over, someone had given up, submitted his answers and left. Cool. About half an hour before the end of the test, a guy sitting in the last row got up abruptly and left the room. I didn't even have the time to stop him (he was sitting right next to the door). I went to his table and took a look at his answer sheets there, and it was quite apparent that he was not ready to submit them yet - so he probably just needed to go to the toilet. I waited for the guy to return - which he did, a couple of minutes later, and got to his seat oblivious to the fact that I was staring at him. I asked him where he went, and he said the toilet. I asked him if he felt that he needn't inform his lecturer first, and he didn't answer - just looked a little sheepish. At this point, another insolent idiot sitting just in front of the toilet-goer actually laughed out. It wasn't loud, but it was audible. And the toilet-goer gave a little laugh himself, as if the whole scene was supposed to be amusing. I glared at him harder and asked him if he thought it was all very funny, and he said no, and then resumed answering the test questions with a straight face. All through the interview, he did not mention the word "sorry". Bet he was not the least remorseful, and still thought he had every right in the world to walk out of an exam venue as he pleased.

End of test - some submitted 3 pages of answers (with 2 half-pages scratched out and blanks lines here and there); some submitted 2 pages, some only a single page. Some of the single-page answers had only writing on half the page.

Now you have your reasons.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Today started off rather poorly, with a heavy downpour in the early morning until noon. I went to class and there was nobody in it. I waited for 5 mins and a girl walked in. Three others came in 15 mins late, two 30 mins late, two more 45 mins late, and (are you ready for the finale?) one strolled in 60 mins late. My blood was 0.005 degrees away from the boiling point. I gave him the coldest and fiercest glare I was capable of, and asked him if he knew what time it was. And then, it was excuse, excuse, excuse, and more excuses. Fine. Whaaaaaatever. He's a gone case anyhow.<

Today will end, however, in a much more amusing manner. It is close to 5pm now and I had just received an email sent by someone (to everyone), and it goes like this:

I found a group of keys (6 pieces) in xxxxx at 2 pm (27/7/06)Want them back? Come and get it.

I couldn't help laughing, and couldn't help wondering whom this guy had learned in English from. If my memory serves me right, this wasn't the first time I received a lost-and-found email with "come and get it" in it. Do any readers of mine actually get this variety of amusement at work? Do share!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Counting My Blessings

Whenever my daughter gets into the whining, howling, crocodile-tear-crying, I'm-not-listening-to-a-word-mummy's-saying mood, I get all stressed up, wondering why my child can't be the kind that sits quietly in a corner with a book in her lap. I also get stressed when she refuses to take her milk, making up stories like she's 'full' (but offer her biscuits, she'll take two!), or her stomach is 'aching' (the moment her milk is gotten rid off, the pain's gone too). At one time, she tried to avoid going to preschool by making up 3 different stories, and telling them with tears in her eyes:

1. Her teachers always punished her (to her grandmother)
2. Her friends didn't want to friend her (to her Daddy)
3. I want you (to stay with me)! (to me)

This morning, sending my daughter to her preschool, we saw this little boy (coincidentally, a classmate of my daughter's), who was so reluctant to be in school, that he had to be pried away from his mother's car by two teachers, all the while struggling and crying "我要 Mummy!!!" repeatedly at the top of his lungs. (The screams were loud enough to be audible two houses away!) The screamings and limbs-trashing continued even after his mother drove away. And as I sat in the car, watching my calm, composed daughter walk into school, past her uncontrollable, screeching classmate, I told my husband - well, at least she's not like that!

Thursday, July 20, 2006


About a month ago, I finished reading Shirley. It took quite some time, but I guess I was making good progress for someone who reads only during train journeys. The novel ended the way it began - without grandeur; yet, it proved to be a deeply emotional read.

A couple of weeks ago, I started on another Charlotte Brontë novel, her last, Villette. Like Shirley, I had started and stalled on reading this book several times previously. This was, however, due to the extensive use of French phrases and whole sentences in the conversations in the text. (I could've ignored the parts I can't understand, but it would not do!) At first, I bought a mini English-French dictionary so that I could do the translations, but it was too tedious, and the French grammar proved to be beyond the dictionary alone. In university, I took a semester of beginner's French class and then, attempted to read Villette again. It was still too tedious. Argh!

After the many failed attempts, here I am again, and I am quite determined to finish reading Villette this time. J'espère que je réussirai. Souhaitez-moi la chance! (what?)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Vivo Per Lei


I first heard this song, sung live by Andrea Bocelli and Hayley Westenra, on a video clip of a couple skating. The melody and the voices captivated me. I later got hold of the studio recording of the song, Vivo Per Lei / Je Vis Pour Elle (don't ask how) by Bocelli and a lady singer with a wondrous voice, Helene Segara. The song was sung in part Italian, part French. It is one of those songs you can listen to 20 times in a row and not get tired of - one of those that makes you want to stay in the office past going-home time, just to continue listening to it. The only other song which invoked the same feelings within me is the duet by Sarah Brightman and Josh Groban, There For Me, from a live performance.

Coincidentally, both songs were recorded and released close to a decade ago. I came across There For Me a couple years back, and had just only stumbled across Vivo Per Lei (Bocelli has 5 versions of this song in 5 different languages; 6 if counting the one performed in part English with Westenra). A decade! How deaf can one be? :D And I wonder how many such great songs there are out there, which we, in our common, ignorant lives have missed...

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Pre-school Conversation

My daughter had a slight fever over the weekend. Even though her temperature was not high this morning, as a precaution we let her bring her fever syrup to school. We arrived at her pre-school at the same time as another child, a little boy, and my daughter and the little boy sat on a bench together to remove their shoes. My husband, who was nearby, then overheard the following:

My daughter: I got medicine! (waving the plastic bag with the fever syrup bottle in it in front of the boy's face)

Little boy: I got Ultraman bag! (holding the bag up in front of my daughter's face)

My daughter: I got handkerchief!

Little boy: Yes meh?!

(OK, enough). My husband left them and we went to work.

Friday, June 23, 2006

On Apology

Where I work, a lot of meetings and stuff are made compulsory, and if anyone were not able to make it, he/she will have to submit a written apology. One such meeting was held a couple of days ago, and it was a pretty important one since we held discussions with our counterparts from a university in UK through a speaker phone (and yes - long distance phone call). Still, naturally, there were some people who were not able to make it.

During the meeting, the kwai-lo on the line posed a question to a lecturer who weren't in the room, and instead of the simple, straight-forward "He is not available today" or "He's unable to come to this meeting", the chair on our side here said "Oh, he's on apology!" - being, I guess, too eager to indicate to the kwai-lo that the absent lecturer was absent with apology, not just absent. Anyhow, if the kwai-lo noticed it, he pretended rather well to have understood what the our guy here said. Probably he's already used to it.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Answer This!

My colleague, sen sen, asked this question - "Why is Superman's shirt so tight?" - and I said "To reduce friction when he's flying..." and sen sen labeled me a 'person without humour' because my answer was not creative at all.

So, here I present the question to all - please answer it as creatively as you can!

original post plus answers

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

(Back To) The Secret Garden

Way, way back in 1994, the Popular bookstore in town had this huge collection of 'complete and unabridged' classics in paperback, selling for RM2.90 - RM3.90 each. That was when my bestfriend and I hauled in a considerable number of the usual titles - Journey to the Center of the Earth, King Solomon's Mines, Little Women, Lorna Doone - and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The Secret Garden is the story of Mary Lennox, her sickly cousin, Colin and Dickon, the boy who foxes and crows loved, the locked-up garden which they tended, and the Magic in it. I loved this story so much I read and re-read the book several times. I am not sure how many times my bestfriend read the book, but I knew the characters made quite an impression on her too. We'd have discussions on the story, the characters and such. And my bestfriend, the ever hopeless romantic, once pondered over who Mary will end up with - Colin or Dickon - when they grow up. She personally favoured Dickon, but a sequel to the book was never actually written.

Last weekend, surfing the TV channels for something to watch, I stumbled upon a movie called "Back to the Secret Garden" on Hallmark Channel, which was just going to start. I didn't give it much thought until I saw the words "Based on characters created by Frances Hodgson Burnett" displayed across the screen. I decided to watch it.

Truly, it was, in a way, a sequel to The Secret Garden. Mary was now the mistress of Misselthwaite Manor, the mansion in which she grew up, and had turned it into a home for orphaned children. Martha, her friend and Dickon's sister, the housemaid in the original story, is now the housekeeper. When I heard Mary addressed as "Lady Mary Craven", I knew that in this sequel, Mary had married Colin. Whatever happened to Dickon then? My bestfriend would be thoroughly heartbroken to know that in this (horrible) sequel, Dickon 'gave his life for his country' - died in war, I suppose. How sad. And the 'secret garden' was mysteriously 'dying' - but ultimately saved by a little orphan girl. It was a silly sequel. A wonderful, magical classic made silly by movie sequels. Sigh.

How sad!

Saturday, June 3, 2006


I have stories of two men to tell. No, they're not related.

First man:
A professor from Australia gave a talk in our campus recently, and presented a book she authored to the school. In the next day, the man in subject previewed the book and was all praises for it! He told others that he finds the professor very intelligent and her book a superb one - and then, he announced that he was going to make a photocopy of the book. As if it was not enough, he also asked around "Who else want copies?" (probably thinking he can ask the photocopy shop for bulk discount) [roll your eyes now].

Second man:
This man is part of the organizing committee for a conference, which is currently facing a lack of paper presenters. At a recent meeting, I asked this man if he would present a paper of his own, and his response was "Yes, I do have a paper, but I don't want to present it in this conference. It's not good enough. I'd rather present it somewhere else with higher (academic) reputation." [roll your eyes somemore].

Well, what can we say? Men!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

I read this book more than a year ago. Right after its publication, The Da Vinci Code quickly made its way to the bestsellers' lists, and was cast into the limelight so much so that numerous other works on the book itself, or on the same subject, or both, were churned out (and are still being churned out I'm sure). Suddenly, we find ourselves suffocated by books (written by other authors) titled along the lines of "unofficial guide" or "separating facts from fiction" or "the truth behind" or whatever catchy (or sometimes lousy) titles, riding on the waves of the "controversy" created by Dan Brown's latest book. (Come on, we all know you people are just out here to make quick money. If you're so good at writing, find your own topics and write about them!) Then, there were documentaries produced by Discovery and National Geographic channels, in which various "experts" in history, theology, archeology, whatever-whatever-ology were interviewed and asked to prove Brown right or wrong. These were at least interesting to watch, but the only conclusion I made watching them was - you know your book is a superb success when they call in experts to prove you wrong. Then, there was even a lawsuit! (Come on la! People will do anything to get quick money).

When the movie was made, there were protests and hundreds, maybe thousands more publications (online and offline) about "fictions" and "inaccuracies" in Brown's theory. Not to be mean or skeptical, I find all these really stupid. How can anyone be 100% sure of the exact events that took place 2000 years ago? You say you have this and that and whatever-whatever authentic documents - but are you sure the person who wrote it wrote the absolute truth and nothing else? Yeah, argue all you want. To me, nobody knows what really took place, which is why religion is based on faith, not facts. If someone wants to question his faith after reading a bestseller, that's his problem and I suggest we let him solve it himself. I had to laugh when I read in the newspaper that people who have not read the book nor watched the movie want to BAN it.

Gosh, I am tired of all of these. I thought I'd never comment on this book and the controversies surrounding it, because well, I don't want to offend anyone. Well, so far I have not actually touched on the contents of the book. What I really want to say, is that once you have such a "controversial" bestseller out there, people don't stop at just attacking your stories and theories - read this. This guy here picked on Brown's writing style and language usage. Have you read the entry at the link yet? (Go read it - seriously!) Do you understand every "mistake" (made by Brown, supposedly) the blogger pointed out? If you do, then you must be either a linguistic expert, or a literature scholar.

Now, if you have not read the book or seen the movie (I myself have not seen the movie yet) don't praise nor criticise. Don't let others' judgement influence you. These people are just jealous because Dan Brown became a very rich man overnight. Go get the book, or go see the movie, and see if you'll enjoy yourself!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

More Scams

Just a day ago I posted an entry about a kind of email scam, and today I got two more! So, what the heck - here they are (you can see there are many different versions of the same scam)

(email 1)

Good Day.

Your profile i saw in our local chamber of commerce impressed me so deeply that i feel i must share this good busuness oportunity with you in order to benefit from your wealth of experience in international transactions of this nature. I have utmost trust and confidence that you are indeed capable of assisting me by acting as my TRUSTEE to enable me withdraw my inheritance which of $18.3 million Dollars, from Kudos Securities Abidjan where my father, late Dr.Joshua K. Nkomo of Zimbabwe,concealed ,but declared as containing just family treasure.He never mentioned it contains physical cash.Today I am here in Abidjan to Claim my inheritance.

Why i need your assistance is because in the Deposit Agreement Certificate,my father emphatically stated that the consignment will be released to me when iam 30 years of age. Alternatively if the war situation that followed the murder of my parents During the war against the farmers in Zimbabwe from the supports of President Robert Mugabe to claim all the white-owned farms to his party members and his followers, he ordered all white farmers to surrender all their farms to his party members and his followers.

Now,i want to leave Africa to get more peace in my life through a reputable foreign investor whom i will appoint as my TRUSTEE before the company can release the consignment to me. This is because the insurance coverage on the deposit has expired yesterday . The trustee will be expected to oversee the transaction and excercise absolute control over the money untill i round up my master's / Doctorate degree programmes in international relations in your country and to invest the proceeds in Real Estate in your country and under your tutelage.

I shall give you 25% of the total proceeds if you accept to be my TRUSTEE and assist me to withdraw and invest this Money wisely, as iam only 26 years old and not experienced enough to handle this all alone.I Will be most grateful and relieved if you could please write me or send me your phone number so we can get to know better before i can send you a copy of the Deposit Agreement Certificate to enable you take my message with the seriousness it deserves.

From Jean Robert Nkomo Jr.

(email 2 - this comes with a phone number too!)

Compliments of the season,

Before proceeding, I wish to introduce myself to you, I am Richard Martines a staff of Bank Of Scotland. I am the head of the accounts department. I am pleased to get across to you for a very urgent and profitable business proposal which I believe will profit the both of us after completion. i contacted youafter a careful thought that you might be capable of handling this business transaction, which I explained below.

The sum of ? 22,000,000.00 (tweenty-two-million-pounds)has been floating as unclaimed since 2000 in my bank as all efforts to get across to the his relatives of our client who deposited the money have hit the stones. According to british law if know one appear to cliam this und it will revert to the government.

Hope here from you soon as regards to this claimes or call me with my number.

Bank Of Scotland

God bless you,
Chief Accountant Richard Martines

Kate is sharp enough to notice that these emails don't look authentic (see comments for previous post). Well, they don't look authentic because - well, they simply aren't! OK, you have been warned. :)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Readers, remember the cases where people (a professor, even!) were cheated of their money by individuals who seemingly have a LARGE sum of money which needed help in being transferred from a country to another, bla bla bla, and if the victims helped make the transactions, they will be given a handsome sum as "appreciation", bla bla bla. These "offers" come either by mails or emails (I read of a case where the victim was contacted by phone, too) and if the victims respond, they will be instructed to pay several sums of money over some weeks / months for whatever, whatever. After the victims had paid - that's it. Done.

Five minutes ago, I received one such email. It's not the first time too - must be the 4th or 5th time at least! This time, instead of deleting the email immediately without a second thought (as I did to the previously received emails), I decided to post it. Probably you, my readers, are well aware that the following is a scam, but for those who don't - please take note - NEVER believe an email such as this:

Dear ,

Do accept my sincere apologies if my message does not meet your personal Ethics. Firstly i would like to introduce myself. I am Panca Usaha Savimbi the son of Jonas Savimbi then leader of Angola UNITA MOVEMENT (National Unionfor the Total Liberation) who was killed by Angolan Government in 2002.

Visit this website below for an update;

Since then we have been living on political asylum in Indonesiafor the past 4 years on the mercy of the formal president of IndonesiaMegawati Sukarnoputri. We recently received notification letter from the presidency reminding that our political asylum in Indonesia is about to come to an end, that means we have only few months to go back to Angola.

Please accept my appeal because I have no other choice for the fact that I don’t want to go back to Angolaat this point in time for safety reasons. I want a country where I will feel safe and live happy always. If you accept my request you will be of great important.

I have in our possession Five Million Dollars (US$ 5,000,000) Valued family treasure which I deposited into a Security Company the first time we arrived here under ally property due to there was no search on our properties and belongings the time we arrived at Indonesia but its definite certain that there would be a through search on our properties and belongings any time we want to leave this country.

My proposal is for you to stand in as my ally and receive this treasure in my behalf then arrange to accept us in country of your choice. We need to buy a family house, a car and to invest in any profitable business for day by day income. My offer to you is to help me relocate to any country where I can assume freedom life or resident permit if possible.

I just need a reliable person who could make my dreams come true. From every assessment if I found you to be trustworthy, I will unveil to you the deposit certificate and the formality to carry on the transaction. I will compensate you with 20% of the money for your assistance after achieving the success.

On your interest kindly send the following details of yours;

3, AGE
4, JOB

This transaction is totally 100% risk free as the treasure is a legitimate and does not originate from drug, money laundry, terrorism or any kind of illegal act. On your interest, kindly contact me on my private email:

Sincerely yours,
Panca Usaha

Remember this - if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Beware.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Time Traveler's Wife

I had just finished reading this book by Audrey Niffenegger. I got it a month or two ago during the MPH sales. I'd picked the book up idly, read the preview on the back-cover and thought it'd make an interesting read. Time-travel, afterall, is most exciting and intriguing. However, despite what most of the online reviews say about the book, I didn't like it. In fact, I plainly hate certain parts of the book, and couldn't care less for most other parts. The only thing I'd give credit to the author for, is the novel idea of a person who time-travels as a result of a genetic disorder. It is also rather sensible of Ms Niffenegger to write that Henry, the time-traveler, takes nothing with him when he time travels - not even his tooth-filling (which is why he appears naked a lot of times in the book). However, at one part, Clare, his wife, found him beaten-up and bleeding on the kitchen floor, naked of course, back from one of his time-travels. The description of him included "dirt under his fingernails". Hey, the dirt was not supposed to have followed him home through time, remember? (unless she meant the dirt was from the kitchen itself, and had somehow ended up under Henry's fingernails after he returned *rolling eyes*)

Anyway, what I really hated about this book was that although the author did not describe any sexual activities explicitly, she used words that I found most displeasing, most downright distasteful - words that should never have found their way into a book, what more a book that's supposed to be on love and endurance, and patience and cherishing the now and here - they're just so, SO inappropriate! Amongst these words which I despise, the awful four-lettered "f**k" can be considered one of the not-so-rude ones (in my opinion). Imagine! I am not about to list the rest and stain my blog.

Other than utter rudeness in diction and crudeness in style, certain parts of the book are just plain boring - over-describing of petty events (no-head-nor-tail meetings / outings that leave you "Huh?!?") and stuff (a list of 20 or so grocery items Henry bought).

Reader, if you're thinking of getting this book and reading it, for whatever the reason, I will not advise you against it. Perhaps you'd enjoy the rude shock better than I did. Seriously.

Monday, May 1, 2006

No Laughing Matter

Last week, driving to work, I saw an "AWAS" sign, placed on a very curved road for the obvious reason, was knocked over and left lying helpless and pathetic in the middle of the road. I had to laugh. A sign telling road users to becareful was knocked over by a careless driver. It reminded me of the many times (in the distant past) I had seen HUGE piles of rubbish right under signs that said "Dilarang Membuang Sampah. Denda RM500". Funny!

The public buses I take to get to my work place stop in the midst of going around a roundabout to pick up or drop off passengers. Really funny. I've also encountered a driver who stopped the bus in the middle of the road, left the bus (with the engine still running and all the passengers bewildered), strolled into a mamak shop and strolled back out a couple of minutes later carrying a plastic bag-ful of teh tarik ais, then nicely climbed back into his driver's seat on the bus and continued the journey. Not bad huh.

I haven't been to many places outside of Malaysia, but I bet that some of these things one could only get to see here. Still funny? After a while, they're no more mere laughing matter.

Continuing the talk about road users - many times, when driving, I encountered impatient drivers that swerve out from behind and accelerate whenever I slowed down to let somebody (another car or pedestrians) pass. Once, I slowed to a stop to let a mother carrying a child and holding the hands of another to cross the road, and one of those impatient people was directly behind me, and did exactly what he shouldn't have done - swerved out of the lane and accelerated forward. He nearly rammed into the woman and her children. If I were a six-foot tall bully with muscles like Superman, I'd get out of my car, break his windows and break his nose. A couple of months ago, it happened that I was trying to cross a road, a kind driver slowed down to let me, and another accelerated from behind, only to hit the brakes when I was in sight of the #!$*& driver. If I'd died that day, I'd haunt him for the rest of his life. Really.

What else? Drivers running the red lights, driving and parking wherever they pleased, bullying bikers and Kancils... Where are the policemen when we need them? (Why, they're always up and about - taking bribes from offenders. Shushhh! You're not supposed to say that! Wanna end up in jail? Oops. Sorry.)

And BRAVO to columnist Goh Ban Lee of The Sun newspaper (got my free copy from KTM station! heheh), for he mentioned about the vast occurrences of petty traffic offences (which add up to be a BIG problem) and public littering, and how these remain unresolved, whilst the government wants policemen to spy on couples behaving "indecently" in public parks. *eyes rolling* But please - don't say anything about bribes. Nobody wants to go to jail.

Friday, April 21, 2006

First Year

Twelve months and eighty-two posts and here I am - exactly a whole year since I first started. There were good posts, bad posts, there were long and boring posts, and there was a post which resulted in comments-shooting. There was even a post which so risked controversy that I deleted it the day after it was published. There had been times when there were so many things on my mind I didn't know which to write about first, and there were times when I so wanted to write but there wasn't much to write about.

All in all, I must say it's been an eventful first year, and it's been a grand adventure. Thank you, readers!

Thursday, April 20, 2006


When what could have been a clever piece of satire becomes a blatant, cowardly barking of accusations from behind the cover of the Web, it has me in utter disbelief. The fact that it has happened more than once leaves me flabbergasted.

What was that, the reader wonders? Well, sorry, readers. Ignore this post.

"Do unto others what you want others to do unto you"

I think its time we grew up a little, stop being so petty, so trivial - and stop making a mountain out of a molehill.

Sims ReVisited Again

After The Sims and Livin' Large Expansion Pack, there came a few more - House Party, Hot Date, Vacation, Unleashed, Superstar and Makin' Magic. Phew! I played only until Vacation I think - perhaps a little Unleashed, but not enough to make an impression. With House Party, came new objects and new actions - most obviously, the ability to host parties for entire neighbourhoods. There were buffet tables, caterers and even a Mime, who'd show up occassionally, uninvited. It was a great way to get to make acquaintances, which can later be slowly developed into friendships for career advancement.

There are lots to do during a party. You can buy a birthday cake and get a Sim to blow the candles out, or you can get a turkey and carve it for all. And as for adult entertainment - well, there's always the strip dancer :D If you want the party to be a costume party, just get a costume chest and the guests will automatically change into different costumes. If there is a campfire, a Sim can light it and entertain a few other Sims around it

With more expansion packs, my roomees and I discovered more tricks and actions. For example, if a Sim looked through the telescope long enough, he will be abducted by aliens - and only be returned a day later.

A Sim can die from electricity shock. To kill a Sim by electricity shock, just buy a chemistry set and make potions - one of the potions that can be made will turn any Sim that drinks it into the monster in Frankenstein and it will go around breaking stuff in the house. If the monster breaks the TV, get a Sim (the one you want to kill) to fix it (better still if the Sim has none or very little mechanical skills). Now, you have a high chance of that Sim being electrocuted. Once it happens, Death (Grim Ripper) will appear and collect the soul, leaving a grave / urn behind.

However, if there is another Sim nearby when Death appears, the Sim can beg for the life of the dying Sim that is about to be taken - and if Death grants the dying Sim its life back, the Sim will continue to live as a zombie.

A zombie Sim can do pretty much everything a normal Sim can (eat, sleep, work, go partying etc.), but it will appear greenish, like a ghost.

... to be continued (again?). Well, yeah, maybe. ;)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Mini Skirts

They are skimpy, they are fashionable and they show off your "great" legs - BUT do you need to wear them into the EXAM hall? Why - first of all, it's verrrrrry cooooold in there; secondly, you'd be in a sitting position for 3 hours and everytime you move your legs, you're at risk of opening your coffee shop; and lastly, you distract (or should I say, "attract") all those hamsap male invigilators!

Shame on all of you who love to wear super-short mini skirts to exams. Also shame on all of you who wear low-cut / strapless / transparent blouses with push-up bras. Shame!

Monday, April 10, 2006

More Sims ReVisited

One of the first tricks we learn in playing The Sims is to have a baby grown into a child without any parent losing his/her job, and without any social workers showing up - let the parents take turns skipping work and staying home to take care of the baby. A Sim will not be fired if he skips work on alternate days. And the baby will take about 3 days only to grow into a child. Of course, at first before we knew this, we had to let one of the parent Sims stay at home for the baby (and subsequently be fired!) and find another job once the baby is a child. Once, I tried to cheat my way through. This is what I did - I left the baby alone at home (both the parents at work) and when the baby had cried long enough, the social worker came to take it away. Once the social worker reached the cradle, I went into the build mode and made a fence around the social worker, cradle and all. I thought I could "trap" the social worker there until one of the parents came home at least - but well, after some hours standing there, the social worker simply went "poof" and disappeared into thin air. Not a very good way to cheat, I saw.

A better cheat (which we discovered while surfing around Sims fansites) to make lots of money - the best get-rich-quick trick yet - is to manually duplicate a family, then start the game and move that family into an empty lot in the neighbourhood of the original family. Then, kill all the family members of the clone family and get the remaining member to move in with the original family, bringing in all the duplicate wealth - after that, kill the remaining clone as well. In this way, for every duplication, moving in and killing, the family wealth doubles. I had a Sims family worth over 2 million Simoleons (Sims currency) and a private graveyard! Such then, in that house, there would usually be 4 or 5 ghosts lurking around every night, and spooking incidents occurred very often.

And how to kill of a Sim? Well, put one in a room with a lighted fireplace, take the door off to trap the Sim in, and if a fire breaks out.... well. However, fires happen randomly so to use it to kill a Sim would not be so easy. I have tried also to trap Sims in a room with a TV (so the noise from the TV would prevent the Sims from falling asleep on the floor) and without doors. The Sims would then die of exhaustion and hunger. But it'll still take a few days. The most efficient method, however, a sure-die way, would be to build a small swimming pool, get a Sim to swim in it, then remove the steps by which the Sim can get out of the pool. In a few hours, the Sim would have been so exhausted that it will fall asleep and drown in the pool.

Of course, we can also make same-sex Sims fall in love.

One of the very weird things that happened in my Sims neighbourhood, was the accidental death of the repairman, who was electrocuted while trying to fix a broken TV or computer - I can't remember which. As there was only ONE repairman in the neighbourhood, everytime a family called for repair, the ghost of the dead repairman would appear and do the repair - and would even charge the normal price!

After the original Sims and the Livin' Large expansion pack, there were House Party, Hot Date, Vacation and many more. My roomees and I didn't manage to play all these expansion packs together as roomees, but what we had, we definitely enjoyed very much.

Well, will post more next time if time allows.