Thought of the day

I thank whatever gods may be / For my unconquerable soul. / I am the master of my fate / I am the captain of my soul. ~William Ernest Henley, Invictus

Government's promises are like the Ringgit, they depreciate with time.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Little India

A glimpse of Little India.

My buddy from U.Maryland will be attached to my supervisor for 2 months and he has been consistently exploring parts of Singapore for the past 2 weeks with other exchange students from the States. And finally on Tuesday, we decided to go to Little India after work.

Once out of the MRT station, we were greeted by the trademark scent of the Indians: a nice blend of spices, sweet jasmine garlands and indian incenses. Well some may not like it, but being born and raised in a multiracial country, I am accustomed to the aromatic fragrance:) As expected, everywhere we saw Indians: peddling, praying, loitering, eating, along the walkways...etc. I noticed that there were quite a number of goldsmiths there, might be able to get a good bargain for gold here:p

We went to the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, built as early as 1855 by Bengali labourers to venerate Goddess Kali, the consort of Lord Shiva. This is the first time I entered an Indian temple and it's like walking into a Buddhist temple, except more down-to-earthy and simple. The goddess is often portrayed as having many pairs of arms and hands; a close resemblance to the Chinese thousand-hand goddess guan yin.

Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple

Kali, Goddess of Death and Destruction

We stroll a little further to another temple but did not go in as there is a talk going on. While travelling by foot, Ed and I chatted along the way and unknowingly we had made a big round and ended up on the other side of the MRT station exit and then we settled at Banana Leaf restaurant for dinner. I think there is this Banana Leaf franchise in the States in there? Anyway, the food was bud-tantalizing but a little pricey. We ordered 6 dishes for 7 and the meal cost $21 per pax. Nonetheless, would still drop by once in a while for the mango lassi:)

The gang (From left): Ed, Aaron, Gibson, gnu, cm, Thomas and Elizabeth

There are 20 MUST DOs at Little India, which we didn't do much that night...Might go another day probably with my DSLR and CM will get her henna tattoo then...

Pic of gnu and CM in the MRT taken by Thomas.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Je viens d’une petite ville qui s’appelle Kluang

Okay, it turns out that I learnt something very funny yesterday. And after I talked to one of my friend, he extended the sentence to:

Voulez-vous couchez avec moi tous les soir?

It meant, You want to sleep with me every night?

Anyway, here are some very useful simple french in daily conversation:

  • Bonjour. Vous venez d’ou? - Hello, where are you from?

  • Je viens d’une petite ville qui s’appelle Kluang. - I come from a little town called Kluang.

  • Et vous vous appellez comment? - And what’s your name?

  • Je m'appelle Gnustiy. - My name is Gnustiy.

  • Joyeux anniversaire. - Happy Birthday.
Come, learn french with me here:
Ok, my friends...bonne nuit.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Je m'appelle Gnustiy

Started to learn some French and my friend taught me this:

Voulez-vous couchez avec moi?

He said I should start my conversation with this sentence whenever I talk to a French, and they will be very friendly to me. :)

Ok, let's find out!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Outreach Graduate Assistant

First time involvement in departmental activities. Interesting, but rather tiring...
Here we were dining at a Thai restaurant in NUS after one of the sessions...
From right: Han Yang, Niv, Mochao, Teck Wee.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

These days, I am addicted to....

Lay's Classic from Frito-Lay

Kids Today

I was involved in this camp organized by my department to attract younger generations to pick up engineering. Basically, it is a workshop with hands on session to construct electronic circuits for a remote-controlled vehicle. The participants are students from Sec 1 all the way up to JC1, age between 13 to 17 years old. Surprisingly young kids these days are not as innocent as I was several years back...and they say the darndest things, viz:

"Let's put something's like the ribbons with lots of's like very gay lor."

"Do you have balls?" one student asked me.

"Bloody hell."

"Jack and Jill say they want to go toilet together."

"He is gay, and he said you are like rank F. Rank F means he doesn't like you."

"Then who does he like?"

"He likes Peter...normally the best is rank A. Peter is A-star!"


"Hahaha, gotcha nuts..."

Monday, June 9, 2008

Happy 2nd Anniversary

Last Friday (080606) was our 2nd Anniversary and ironically we were far apart as CM was outposted to Hsin Chu, Taiwan. So it's just me with the brown sweater and CM on the other end of the line...

Miss you...and the camera:p

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Say No to Passive Smoking

Returned to my hometown today. The ride back wasn't smooth: Had to wait 2 hours at Larkin Bus Terminal for the bus...Aahh, they have change the schedule again...fortunately the fare was not raised despite the recent hike in petrol and diesel. The bus station really needs a facelift after more than a decade in operation. If it is possible, I think it's time to install air conditioner so that the passengers can wait for their rides more comfortably indoor. Moreover, it will thwart the people from inhaling the hazardous exhaust fumes while waiting for the buses. And indirectly, the smokers can only smoke outdoors which again will hinder the innocence from being victimised by some inconsiderate die-hard puffers and contract lung cancer. (Johor State government and Ministry of Health, please take note.)

I was wondering how the livings on two lands separated by a strait not further than 2 kilometres can behave (and live) so differently. Back in Singapore, the public transport is practical the only transport needed by the people. It is nothing but efficient, punctual and convenient (even switching between different lines, unlike transiting from PUTRA to STAR and vice versa in KL). Not to say that there aren't many vehicles on the road, but I just don't see any (especially buses and lorries) releasing black cloudy fumes like those on Malaysian roads. Somehow, I feel that the air has less pollutant as compared back home.

In Singapore, smoking area is very constricted in public. At bus stands, you don't see smokers drawing in a mouthful of nicotine and harmane and simply breathe out ambient smoke in the face of others like nobody's business. At least they stay away from the public. In food courts or restaurants, only 10 percent of the seats are allocated for cigarette lovers located in specific areas outlined in yellow boxes. Of course, the seats are far apart from the non-smokers. Public toilets? Strictly no smoking. The universities adopt the smoke-free campus concept...etc. And, you don't see cigarette butts strewn all over the ground.

The problem in Malaysia is that there is no specific place for the smokers to get their fixes, so they smoke everywhere! In kopitiam, restaurants, bus stations, along the road, parks, schools, universities, public toilets...etc. Merrily mingling with the innocent non-smokers who had to endure the secondhand smoke. I believe most of you have had the experiences of walking into a smoke-filled toilet after watching a movie, don't you? It feels like a freaking gas chamber. Well, that's not all. The latest trend now is that the express bus drivers would smoke while driving with justification stating that smoking keeps them awake. And so, now the passengers are threaten to succumb to their sordid act just to fulfill their addiction. Why should we tolerate this kind of Nazism?

There was once while I was waiting for a train to Singapore, this Malay guy sat beside me and immediately started lighting a cigarette. I pardoned his ignorance, but felt unjust to be a passive smoker. So, I gently tapped on his shoulder and politely advised him to smoke elsewhere as there are others who are also annoyed by the smoke just like me. He replied scarcastically,"Biarlah, aku suka rokok di mana pasal aku. You tak suka, edarlah!" And in the end, I have to forsake my seat just to move away from the inconsiderate, selfish retard.

Note that annually the Ministry of Health is forking out billions of Ringgit in treating smoking-related disease. As of Nov 2007, it is reported that sufferers of smoking-related diseases had burnt a RM3.5 billion hole in the government's healthcare services and unless preventive measures are taken, 2010 will see a staggering RM3.8 billion in expenditure to treat patients suffering from these diseases. Note that the Ministry of Health receives RM7 billion funding annually and half of it being spent on smoking-related diseases. Obviously, this is not a wise way to make use of our budget (taxpayers money) as the adage goes, “Prevention is better than cure." And, raising the cigarette tax doesn't make sense anymore since the money was channeled back to the tobacco users.

Astonishingly, I do not see any effort from the government to reduce the smokers’ population in our country except for the conventional campaigns and rise in cigarette price. Apparently, these conventional approaches are not effective as the population of smokers continues to soar higher from year to year and the relevant authority needs to realize this as early as possible and come up with creative solutions or even iron fist enforcement to reduce the prevalence of ever and current smokers. (e.g: Smoking in public places has now been banned in the United Kingdom, As of July 1st 2007.)

Apart from reducing the prevalence of smoking habits among Malaysians, I am more concern about actions to save the impeccants from the environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). The impact of inhaling the secondhand smoke (SHS) is fatal, lung cancer, breast cancer, premature birth, heart attack, negative effects on the development of cognition and behaviour, to name a few. As such, I personally view smokers who smoke in public disregarding the health and comfort of others as murderers! Yes, especially those who does it in the presence of their friends, families and love ones. So if your boyfriend or girlfriend, daddy or mummy, sons or daughters smoke in front of you, ask yourself, "Do they really love you?"

I urge the Ministry of Health and the relevant parties to develop more structured and systematic measures or acts to protect the health-conscious ones from being victimized by the tobacco users. Please create an SHS free environment so that anyone can step up against those who disrespect the public's health like the guy I mentioned above.

Say No to Smoking! Say No to Secondhand Smoke!

Royal Malaysian Circus

Some said there will be none this year...
So it's a lie!
Another fool said maybe this August...
Again, it's a lie!
And then they decided to deter aliens from the North and South
From taking further advantage...
From the citizens of Bolehland...

Some said, "Aahh! So the crew has awaken from the slumber."
Others,"Aahh! the 308 aftereffect is taking its toll."

But personally, I think the approach is insensible...
The ban, obviously upon an impulse...
Was oblivious to the consequences.
And the question is,
How do we enforce the ban effectively?
Apparently, there was no plan, was there?

And, when everyone least expected,
The hike took everyone by surprise;
Like the Nargis cyclone in Myanmar,
And the Si Chuan earthquake in China...
As if a solution was found,
The ban was lifted barely after a week...

Is he slapping himself again?
Poor old fool,
Has he lost his mind, direction maybe?
Or his son-in-law?

Explicably, the hike was unavoidable...
As the fuel hungry globe is also in a spin.
All frenzy about the black gold price,
Which soar and soar unreasonably day after day.

But the point is,
Obviously, there is no coordination in this regime,
Least to speak of the coalition,
That never exist.

Running our beloved land like a circus,
Except it was run by the circus' clowns...
While the globe claps and cheers and gloats,
At the comical act...

"Aahh, it's still the good ol' Royal Malaysian Circus."

Inaudibly, the wheel of the chain started rolling...


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Labrador Park

Had a bad Saturday last week, so I decided to make up on Sunday. So off we went to Labrador Park after a very heavy lunch at Tiong Bahru Plaza. Why Labrador Park? Well, a friend of my friend went there once and since there are so many parks here, I might just start with some place that I have heard of.

To get there, we took the MRT along the East West line to Outram Park MRT interchange, switched to the North East line towards Harbour Front and boarded bus #408 at the Harbour Front which will take us directly to Labrador Park. While waiting for the bus, there is only a couple with their son in line and I thought, “Great, it’s a place where nobody wants to visit on a Sunday.”

My worries vanished right away as the greeneries and warm sea breeze greeted us once we alighted at the park. Besides, there were cluster of people scattered all over the park: An assembly of cheerful Indians teambuilding somewhere in the middle of the park, another cluster of foreigners relaxing in their recliners under the shades, children running around at the playground while some young lads played soccer…

CM started to shoot some pictures but remarked that the trees in the park are not as “natural” as the ones in Penang’s Botanic Garden. Other than shooting trees, we did some candid shots but they turned out to be too blurred for sharing:p

I caught a Brokeback Mountain couple in the act.

Oya, and the sea was nice…except that the horizon was lined with ships and yachts and container cranes…

We walked further towards the south-east direction and discovered some relics from the British colonization era.


Machine Gun Bunker

CM and I

Dragon's Teeth Gate: Famous landmark during those British India days and hideouts for notorious pirates.

And then when we were about to exit the park, we discovered this path which led to more relics from the 1890s.

Old Fort Entrance

All of a sudden, I started to imagine my grandpa running out from the bunker fighting the Japs during the Pacific War…

Back in those days, they called this a gun, not canon.

Some son of the gun waiting to be blasted in the face.

By the time we emerged from the nature reserve, it was already 6.30pm…I took one last picture of the sea and we headed back home.

Some more pics: