Tuesday, June 19, 2012


The kettle with a steam whistle; the pitcher like metal vessel which you heat water in and makes annoying whistling noise when the water hits boiling point is quite an invention don’t you think? A piece of genius.

Usually made out of wrought iron and pressed steel plate, it is probably the most ancient kind of cooking utensil in the history of mankind. Even after hundreds of improvements, even the most modern one still looks like that of the original one. It’s a testament of how good the original tool already was.

Talking about the word genius; did you know that the word originated in ancient Rome? In ancient Rome, the genius was a supernatural entity, believed to be the guiding spirit or tutelary deity of a person, family or place. So, whenever someone during that time came up or produced something or anything of extraordinary quality or something novel, they will always say that it was the work of a genius. However, in time, the word developed its secondary meaning of talent or inspiration etc. Now, the word is being used to describe the level of intellect of people like Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci etc.

Anyhow, I really think that this kid is some genius . I like the way she writes. 

I should’ve written something about the air sirap and fanta strawberry and the cucur bawang and keropok lekor sold at our school’s canteen when I was younger. Maybe then I could stop Malaysians from being obese a little earlier!!!..

Friday, April 27, 2012

"i can read only the pictures"

I like mangoes. Among all the fruits, I think I like mangoes the most; I like them better than rambutan and pulasan. 

When we were younger, in Sheffield, I can still remember the red skinned mangoes ayah would buy from the corner shop. I remember them smelling very sweet (can you smell sweetness? I don’t know). I can’t really recall how they tasted like, but I’d imagine them tasting very good.

During my stay in the states, mangoes were very hard to get. I’d buy them at Wal-Mart for $3 a piece whenever the season comes. Yup, true to the supply-demand law, it was that expensive.

In Kelantan, mangoes are called pauh. One of the most outstanding local ones which I know of is the mangga raja. It turns light green when it’s ripe enough, and it smells good.

One of the most common one is the chokanan. This type of mango originates from Thailand. It is also called the honey mango and sometimes the Miracle Mango because it often fruits twice a year. I think that’s really the reason why it’s ayah’s personal choice of mango when it comes to his hobby. He has quite a few chokanan trees he planted himself. Right before it ripens, ayah would wrap them up with newspapers just to make sure bugs or bats or birds won’t eat them up. The sweet smell produced attracts the three Bs.

Well, I just like mangos. 

And I got the Shanghai job. 

re-watched cidade de deus. awesome movie.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Soul suckers, taking everything back

I’ve been commuting between Penang-Subang-Melaka-Seremban-JB since the beginning of the month. And tonight is only the 4th night this month which I’m spending at my humble rented room which looks more like a shipwreck than anything else here in Melaka.

Since I was planning to do nothing but sleep and rest (which means more sleep), I managed to watch a few movies I found in my HD; too much sleep can be tiring you see, so the movies in between kinda helps.

I just finished watching this movie Repo Men. Jude Law, Forest Whitaker and Alexis Braga starred.

For the synopsis, go to IMDB. The movie was an OK movie to me, nothing WOW about it.
Anyhow, what I find enlightening was the part when Remy (played by Jude Law) came to a realization where a job is not just a job.

At one point in the movie, he told himself that “At the end, a job is not just a job, it is who you are, and if wanna change who you are, you have to change what you do...”

I think it makes perfect sense. Most people spend the majority of their days and lives doing their jobs. Most plan their schedules, their lives around their jobs. As much as you hate to admit, nearly everything revolves around it. The dollar bills for sure, your social circle, and probably in the later part of your life, the state of your physical and mental health. Yup. You are pretty much your job.

So, lately I’ve been thinking, am I adding any value to the people around me, the society, even to myself by doing what I’m doing?

Ahhhh.. maybe I’m just tired of all these inefficiencies and all the people and all the crap I have to deal with everyday.

Ouhhh, the chairman is already out. On another note, I’ve been entrusted to perform 2 different duties since last month, with no extra pay. On top of taking care of the dealers, I am also an acting sales branch manager. And did I tell you that I’m still an executive, a small fry at the very bottom of the ladder? Yup. And business has not been very encouraging these past few months with tighter financing policies and all. Double the target, double the pressure, doubles the headache............. of course with no extra gain.

Yes I am complaining.

Anyhow, looking at the bright side of things, hopefully both my branch and my area hit our respective targets. So I can get a 5 figure pay-check for the 2nd time this FY. Come on!!!!.. And better, hopefully I can start working in a new company before May. Hopefully doing something with more value. Or at least something that is more worthwhile – no more phone calls during weekends or 10 pm at night, and no more late night meetings and irate customers and incompetent bosses to entertain.

I think Remy represents me very well as a salesman. That’s why I prefer managing, and not interested in doing personal sales.

should get some more sleep, and do the stairs early in the morning....

Saturday, December 31, 2011


2011 was a year of learning.

2012, I would need to:

1. Get a new job. A new challenge. A better one. Top of the list!!..

2. Travel more
- A trip in June.
- Cheap trips

3. Start something new
- Re-learn how to swim
- Cycling
- A duathlon
- Kick boxing
- A new minor business venture (Joe/Brian)

4. Improve (self development)
- god
- Negotiation/deal closing skills. conversations
- reduce teh-tarik/junkfood/fastfood intake by another 20%
- community
- technology
- books

5. Watch where ze moola is going
- Increase total yearly savings by another 10%
- Minor investments

6. Continue
- brokering – 6 units/year
- Running – 5 runs
- Friends and networks
- Rebong the 2nd coming… yeahh!!!..
- consulting – 1 RM5k job
- modeling – 3 minor jobs

In general, I would just like to be more positive, hang around with more positive people, to love more, and hate as little as possible… hehehe

Wednesday, May 18, 2011



i tried to get some extra sleep by going to bed at 9pm. but that didn't work.
The roti kaya and peanut butter sandwich from the kopitiam session with 2 of my dealers and the nation's top insurance branch manager (which halted my plan to go for a jog.. again..) were not enough to fill me up until late.
so, i went out to find some mee goreng telur mata along with a cup of teh o limau panas kurang manis. and yup, now i still can not sleep because i'm too full.

anyway, yesterday my sister and her husband came over to Melaka to do some shopping and for the good food. during coffee, i was telling them about this article in The Star on diplomacy which i couldn't really recall at that point of time. so. i Googled it up again.

Towards the end of the article, a veteran diplomat shared some basic rules of conduct in diplomacy, which i find interesting.

The points (as written in the article) are as follows:

> Diplomacy is always about making friends; never say anything that is unfriendly.

> Diplomacy is about being even-handed at all times; never take sides at anytime.

> Diplomacy is about contributing towards peace; forever hold your piece if you do not have anything constructive to contribute.

> Diplomacy is about being tactful on every occasion; never be indiscreet.

> Diplomacy is about being cautious every time; never try to be clever anytime.

So, it's basically common sense, but common sense is not so common, right?

I believe that most of the things we have to go through on a daily basis should be done diplomatically;well, we all attend meetings, and do business presentations and attend discussions of some sort, and we all have bosses. You don't have to become a big-no-good-ass-kissing-bastard, all you need to do is be diplomatic, and make sure you do it with tact.

But again, in making or closing a deal, well, basically in dealing with people for whatever reason, you need to understand that not everyone is a diplomat.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

the son of Alcumus

So, we got this mentoring thing going on. Nope, I’m not that brilliant of a staff that I got into the scheme, it comes with the ‘job’.

Like what all good mentors do, they ask you the hard questions, make sure you stay humble, they make sure you dream big, and they’ll do their best to guide you through by giving very random answers. And as usual, they’ll ask you these questions:

I told him I’m not good at dreaming, but what the hell, for our next session; maybe I’ll just tell him this:

· Major goal for the year – Get a hold on life.

· Travel goals – Turkey, Eastern Europe

· Financial goals – get my first million by the end of the year. hahaha

· Spiritual goals – khusyuk dlm solat. To be in control…

· Mental goals – to be as sharp as his tongue… (I have no idea what a mental goal is)

· Physical goals – to get a 300 ripped body by November, to run 2 full marathons, to hit a hole in one, play in the NFL

· Social goals – Spend more time with friends. Get to know more people on a personal level. Meet more people my age. Start dating.

· Business/Career goals – Master the operations. Improve business contacts. Increase personal sales. To work like a manager. Learn about investments

· Future goals – Get a better offer. Leave the company

Yup. I hope he won’t stab me to death or terminate me on the spot.

So far, from feedbacks, people say I think too much. I need to absorb and enjoy the moment. Carpe diem. I don’t know. Maybe I’m not actually thinking at all… hehe

As you can see, I still have no idea what I want to do with my life. And I’m getting older… I need serious help…… I’ve been moving around too much, both in terms of location and division. But I’m enjoying the pressure.

Anywhere you go its all about the people and the system.

The system, this you can manipulate.

The people, most of the time are fucked up… beyond all repair…. FUBAR… at least in this company.

but then again, don't people behave in a certain way so that they can adapt to the environment, or the system... i don't know

Thursday, February 24, 2011

video killed the radio star

Ok, hi.

Yeah, I’ve been busy…….. and lazy.

Yup, a lot happened; my sister got married, 2 dictators got deposed, New York’s Cosa Nostras got busted, and I was transferred 3 times each time to a different position and to a different state. And it's already 2011. And Al-Fatihah, my grandfather passed away.

Anyway, I’ve just started in my new position 3 weeks ago, so it’s only wise to get to know the people I’ll be dealing with for at least the next 8 months; this time, mafias and people with money….. a lot of money. There’s a term for this whole getting to know and buying in process, it’s called ‘kam-ching’; this is the stage where first impression is key, and concepts like masking and shared-symbols are put to use.

But I digress.

So, yesterday, I met up with this 35 years old Chinese dude, a business partner of ours. An interesting fact about the guy, he was appointed to the board of directors of the company he’s running which is basically a family business when he is not family- It’s like having Don Corleone taking you in as his son, and appoints you to run the show, when your last name is Lee. And he did that when he was only 30. So, yup, he is damn good at what he is doing.

Compared to the other business owners or managers I had to meet, it was a little easier cracking this guy up, as he is exceptionally young, and I am kinda young too. Here, the shared symbol – being where we are at an early age. (usually, they’ll hire someone with at least 6-7 years of experience to do my job). So, the usually interesting ritual of having conversations with really old people got a little more exciting as we had a lot more common issues to talk about as the generation gap is not that big.

We talked about a lot of stuff. One of the things we talked about was how he did it, and the way he runs the business (I was actually trying to understand how he works so that it’d be easier to deal with him later). Along the course of the conversation, he told me something about the Chinese coin, which I find very interesting.

You see, money can’t be a more perfect symbol of wealth or prosperity. And taking the holistic meaning of prosperity, it means having enough of everything, money, health, family and happiness. And the coin shows you how to be prosperous, stay prosperous and be happy while you’re at it.

To those who have no idea which kind of coin we’re talking about, it’s the kind of coin in the picture.
Ok, so he told me that the circular shape of the outer part of the coin symbolizes the environment. And in order to move forward, we need to be flexible. Like a circle, you need to show tact, you need to know how to disguise, to not show too much of your ‘angles’, because only then you can maneuver. In matters of trend, swim with the currents as how Jefferson would say.

But then again, you need to have your principles, your values, and it must be strong and always protected. Thus, the rectangle built in the middle of the coin. While busy making your way through, it’s important to have your own point of view, your values which all judgments should be based on. In order to make the best decisions, you need to have a strong base, like the right angles of the square. It must stay the same and stay strong throughout. As what Jefferson would further comment, in matters of principle, stand like a rock.

So, yup, do it like a Chinese coin I would say. You have to do what you got to do, but when the time comes when you need to choose, decide wisely. And in this line of work, you need to be on your toes at all times - money and girls come easy as they say, and its kinda true. It’s either you blend in and dissolve, or you’ll make it through and stand up tall at the end of the journey.

He didn’t look like a pain in the a** like he is known to be, but then again, he is a born salesman. I won’t trust him that easily. Hmmmmmmmm……..

Just in case you’re wondering, I’m blogging because I don’t have a tv to watch...... yup...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

kapal terbang kertas

It should be about time it gets cold in WL, late fall, or autumn if you’d prefer to call it that. I like fall and winter, a little bit of spring, but not too much of summer.

Ahhh, we owned the wolverines in their own sweet big house, but I missed the game.

Let’s talk about sleeping. Why is sleeping not listed as a hobby? Anyway, there’s this one semester during my Purdue days when sleeping was done only 4 days of the whole week. Understandably, I was struggling both to jack up my grades so the sponsor continues paying the tuition (after F-ing up the grades the semester prior) and the courses I took that semester were actually architected to torture. (It was also the semester where it hits me that sports coaches and athletes aren’t the only masochists I’ve had the privilege to work with).

Anyways, back to the sleeping part, well, not really the sleeping part, but the waking up part. Imagine that you went to bed at 430 am last early morning, you wake up at 7. And you stayed up late last night not to watch random youtube videos, but to finish up assignments that were specifically designed and tuned so that they are impossible to finish; something better than proving convoluted theorems or equations, something of that order. Then, u drag that heavy messed up head of yours into the bathroom for an early morning shower; you turn the lights on which would at the same time trigger the radio who an electrical engineering student has installed and integrated into the bathroom’s wiring system. Then, this random radio station situated within a certain radius away from the bathroom decided to transmit this song called Paper Planes sang by the daughter of some prominent Sri Lankan political activist.

So, now to the important part; imagine the significant virtual banging that the little woodman is making merrily in your head after that long night losing your head off on some divine problem, now topped up by this somewhat confusing low beat I-don’t-know-what-genre kind of song from the radio, with every trickle of warm water from the slightly yellowish shower-head adding to a more physical kind of banging motion into the equation….. You’ll find yourself venturing into another world. Everything pitch black, the only things visible were glowing little planet like objects, orbiting around a non-physical energy, even Pluto was there as far as I can remember. The whole body turns numb, you feel like you’re flying on thin air, elevated. It just makes you high; high in the bong sense of the word. You should try it sometime.

I imagine that it was nearly the same kind of high I get during fitness tests; when you’re trying to catch up with the rest of the team, and you just happen to be the weakest. The differences are that the fitness test kind of high lasts only for a few seconds and it hits you while you’re struggling to get enough air to survive, while the high because of this simultaneous banging in and to the head could last a whole 3 minutes in a relaxed environment. I don’t know if that getting high without the help of pills was nice, but it was definitely cool. And imagine going through that kind of messed up situation at least 5 times in the duration of a month.

Anyways, I don’t think I’ll be enjoying getting high anytime soon, because in the past 2 months, on average, I go to bed, (well, not necessarily a proper bed, but anywhere good enough to land my messed up head on) and black out at 10 pm on an average weekday. How twisted is that? Though on a smaller marginal benefit, I still enjoy the sleeping part, but the idea of having nothing to do after work is really annoying.

We were told to come up with this 10-year personal plan. Now I need to fit in people into it. Anyone interested, just let me know. Hehhh

Ahhhh… I’m going to Harvard Business School, or Harvard Law maybe? Hmmmm… maybe I should go beg someone for a million bucks. Then I can take some friends to explore nice places in a pimped up hot air balloon.

I got a non-HBR book this month. Hoyeahhh!!!...

Kembali bermain hoki, dan harap-harap tak hujan minggu ini, mahu bermain bola sepak bersama geng buruh kasar.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

as nervous as the stock markets

33 steps, 9.58 seconds, woww… You can nearly smell the rubber burning, watching him run. He could beat a cheetah on steroids any time of the day.

Sprinting is something I’m not good at. I lack the red muscles my coach said, or in layman’s term, I was just not born for it. And other than sprinting and music, I’ve discovered a couple of other things that just won’t suit me this past couple of weeks. Sales, and P*D kind of jobs are out of the question. So, a good thing, there’s a shorter list to choose from.

Anyways, I just got back from a surprisingly interesting 2-days-and-1-night assessment center. So, they are offering [XXXXXXXXXX] in the bag. It’s an okay deal I guess, coming from a non-oil-&-gas and a non-multinational-semicon corporation, and a good enough offer for a job I didn’t apply for. But it’s a managerial position; something engineering management related, but I don’t know how much engineering stuff will be involved. Should I take it? They need an answer in 24 hours.

By the way, the 3 hours drive to and from the program wasn’t really a pleasant one. It was raining rhinos on one stretch, and elephants on the next, and a combo of both with hints of capybaras on the following ones. It was like driving with your eyes tied up with a piece of black cloth, and having your attention threshold further reduced by a whole class of kids from kindergarten banging up drums and empty pails to the beat of an African Shaman dance, and the bottlenecks created by the road-upgrading activities along the way weren’t of much help either. There were at least 4 big collisions, and a total of 5 cars ended up in the ditch in the 2 different days.

Hmmmm…. I’ve been spending too much time on the road, and have been sleeping on hotel beds and floors for too many nights. I think I need to keep track of my carbon footprint; but hey, as they say it, as long as if it’s lower than Al Gore’s than its low enough.

I was just about to ask the guys if they wanted to go for a hike yesterday, but we might have already started fasting. We climbed Gunung Nuang the other day. It was a good hike. Just next time, maybe we should try going on a slower pace, take breakfast before the hike, and leave the fried chicken at home.

It’s my first Ramadan here in Malaysia after 4 years. Everyone was home yesterday except for number 3 who we’re assuming is really enjoying his summer fasting experience somewhere in a hot city in Deutschland, gorging down roasted lamb for iftar.

To those celebrating your Ramadan in West Lala or anywhere else on the other side of the globe, enjoy the long summer days… haha.. And to those celebrating across the ocean, but nearer to home, jangan sedih-sedih… hehhh..
So, selamat berpuasa dan beramal. I’m leaving you guys with this American Ramadan speech.

I am Sam just finished showing on TV…….Dakota Fanning is just woww.

And can anyone just tell me, what the hell does an engineer actually do?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

we are all part of the same compost heap

Errrr…. Hi??.....

It has been a while. I mean it’s been long enough for me to be able to reduce a combo of roti-canai-and-teh-tarik-kurang-manis or nasik-lemak-telur-mata-with-kopi-O into packs of ‘biasa boss’ or ‘biasa kak’ and get the precise info across to the receiving end at roughly 90% of the time. Well, there’s a lot of getting-used-to to do after 3 long years.

You haven’t seen and experienced Malaysia until you’ve found the best (though not necessarily the most decent) roti canai, nasik lemak and tarik kurang manis stall for breakfast in town, until you’ve driven up and down the PLUS highway, until you’ve watched a live superleague football fixture, until you’ve experienced KL traffic and THE Malaysian drivers, until you’ve gone balik kampung and went mengail ikan puyu, until you’ve eaten the king of fruits and his sweet maids and hairy knights and dukes and whatever, until you’ve gone chill out with friends at a waterfall, until you’ve enjoyed some good live music and poetry, until you’ve gone strolling aimlessly at a pasar malam and at one of those super-huge-malaysian-malls, until you’ve enjoyed watching and playing some good hockey and futsal, until you’ve done your wuduk at one of the big Jawa-style kolah, until you’ve gotten yourself a silly parking ticket, until you’ve enjoyed the one thing you can’t find in the states- cempedak goreng for tea, and until you’ve joined a convoy complete with police escorts.

If only we Malaysians can translate the kiasu-ness we show on the roads to the other productive stuff we do…….

Well, a lot have changed in 3 years. 3 years is all it takes for someone to have a change in interest from being passionate about his small banana plantation to giving his undivided attention to his longan and mata-kucing trees, and to see once acres of vast yellowish paddy fields transformed into a jungle of mature enough sawit plantation. Thankfully, at least reuniting and getting along with the family after the 3 years was not really that awkward.

Let’s see…. nothing much has happened since the emotional moment at which the jumbo’s rear wheels first touched the sizzling KLIA tarmac…. I’m still jobless and useless…. haha

The first 2 weeks, I couldn’t stop sweating. And there’s nothing poyo about it. Our body is this one complex and intelligent system which has this ability to adapt to changes, and these adjustments take time. And this whole adapting to the temperature of the surrounding is termed the comfort zone in ergonomics. If you’ve been fortunate enough to visit a 4-season region or you’ve been working in a plant producing these smart thermo-sets, there’s a near 75% chance that you can find a ‘comfort zone’ point printed on the device placed in between the HI and LO, but usually placed slightly closer to the HI point. And just so you get the idea, the comfort zone, which is actually a range of temperature, changes according to the season… blablabla… So, yeah, go attend an ergonomics class.

Hmmmm…. And now I think I get the idea of the importance of money, other than the fact that the stewardess in the business class cabin is always much sweeter. I can’t even join my football or soccer or hockey teams for matches regularly because I’m broke. Ok, I wrote my way off to some RM76.12 the last 4 weeks in the courtesy of Sue, and I get some extra cash from the skim-bantuan-penganggur-muda, but the toll alone costs nearly RM80 for a return trip to KL. So, actually, there’s a lot you can’t do without money….
Hmmm…so, this is how it is to live under the poverty level. haishhhh….. Why is it that people are more interested to pay for a game of footie in a small square, rather than playing in one of the public fields, outdoors for free? Friggin pop-culture….

And since the chances of getting the Louisville job is getting slimmer, if I really want to have a shot in the middle class, I think I should start attending job interviews, and to do that, I need to first update my resume.
hmmmmm…. maybe tomorrow....hehhh…. The middle class is a tad too saturated don’t you think? We should all then find spouses from the higher line of order so there shall be evident mobility!!!...

imagine waking up to this every single morning~..... (yellowstone, summer '08)

Kena pergi panjat gunung!!!!!!....
And go have tea with the married poet (-_-)….. again…..

Fun fact:
Out of the 6 receptionists in the 6 offices I went to, 3 are named Su, and 4 out of the 6 are from ipoh.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

pomp and circumstance

Last week, another proud Purdue astronaut went on a spacewalk to fix the great old Hubble, and Mark Polansky and David Wolf will be tweeting in orbit next week. And this past weekend, while Giggsy and the guys were wrapping up the race for the title, some 1300 proud boiler engineers launched over Mr. Markov’s arc to move on to the next state after an approximately short 5.1 years of sojourn time here in WL. Symbolic ceremonies are always hassle packed, but I think I like this one, so, maybe I should go to a few more. I was not planning on going at first, but my mom insisted. I think my mom didn’t go to her commencement ceremony when she got her degree, and I doubt that my dad went to any of his, except for his PhD maybe.

shitty iPhone camera

Sorry I don’t have much pictures to show because everybody else were busy with their families, I didn’t hire a professional because I have no money, and because of the recent swine flu hit, everybody seemed to prefer to keep their distance. Heck, we were even told not to shake hands on stage, just a simple hat tap was allowed. Man, this pig flu is annoying. And i should've really gone with the flops and shorts instead.

Anyways, it sure feels good to get this part of life done with. Honestly, I never thought I was going to make it this far. Talking about going to a tough program, this is where your best hasn’t been and never will be good enough (unless you’re one of those geniuses who gets a 90% when the class average is 35%); I got my first C the first semester my freshman year, and the first D the first semester my sophomore year. 2 of my first matsaleh friends switched to management school the second semester our freshmen year and a couple of our Malaysian friends got kicked out of school a couple of semesters in. So, to say that the past 4 years have been fun wouldn’t be that accurate, but it was really humbling (well, there’s nothing more humbling than having your 1st semester GPA telling you “You’re not really that smart enough to be here Mr.!!!!” right in your face). But Alhamdulillah, I’m just happy I managed to get through this.

Ok, this is the bell tower. It is a very well known fact that it is very hard to get out of here on time with the paper, that they have this legend. There’s a seal under the bell tower, and it is said to be cursed, and any student who walks across the seal will not graduate in four years. So, it is practical enough to see these engineering nerds take the longer path (walking around the tower), instead of the shortest one (walking under and through it), because the practice is much more feasible. By the way, I think I can ask for something very expensive from my dad since I manage to graduate before turning 22, it’s just this thing we had when I was younger.

As for the ceremony itself, I think everyone enjoyed the speeches and the music. Everything was simply fantastic. But I can’t help myself from thinking on how penat it is to put on a smile like that through all the whole 4 sessions in all the 3 days, madam president, you’re the best!!!!

So, now what? I should go seek for the self, seek for some enlightenment. Maybe I should pack up some Tolstoy’s and see what I might find in Alaska. Or I should go see the Dalai Lama and see what this orang-biasa has to say. Or I should join a Pondok school, and get that part of the self filled in a bit. Or maybe you people can donate me some money, so I can go on a 1 month trip across Europe. Or maybe, I should just stop thinking………

Ahhhh… it feels good to wake up and having to think of nothing (for a while at least, carpe diem as the imam and Robin Williams would say). By the way, thank you to those who came in the morning in place of the family, haha…. And thanks for the presents (people get colognes for graduation? And I’m still trying to figure out how to get this one humongous chocolate block down my stomach)

And as for the farewell parties, you just can’t beat the feast, Mick, a guy I knew from football, threw out; we were served with 2 whole roasted lambs Saudi style, just like the one Anthony Bourdain had, it was awesome. And Japanese with the Koreans was great, and the one in Cactus was OK I guess, but I left early.

We should go fishing.

Durden T., BSIE
-bum in training-

Saturday, May 2, 2009

"A kid? I smoke, I snort. I've killed and robbed. I'm a man. "

Let’s start out with a riddle;

“Which creature in the morning goes on four legs, at mid-day on two, and in the evening upon three, and the more legs it has, the weaker it be?”

Read on for the answer.

Anyway, let’s talk Greek. So, it’s amazing on how one very uncommon word can pop up and be discussed one too many times in a span of a month.

A couple of weeks ago, professor J, my sociology professor, invited me over for some second hand smoke; I was passing this bench under the tree where he will sit everyday without fail, summer or winter, sun or snow, for his nicotine and caffeine fix, when he called me over to join him. I think the majority of his students like him; lecturing in 501 jeans and crewneck t-shirt, Freud jokes, and most importantly, he knows how to teach. I was in his class 2 summers ago, the only 'foreigner' and the only engineering major in the class, and the only one who scored above 94% in all the exams (no wonder these people from the other side of campus hate us so much, haha); so, that was how we first got acquainted.

Anyways, we talked quite a bit about everything, from how he still doesn’t get how soccer is the world’s most famous sport, and why baseball isn’t, to his ebony general physician girlfriend from Chicago, to Eastern people’s mentality, to what I think I will be doing after school. So, we jumped about everything for about half an hour, with him dominating most of the conversation with the different theories and quotes from about everyone famous enough.

Then we came to ‘peripeteia’. It started when he was telling me on how easier it’s going to be for someone like me who has no particular passion for about anything. At least he said, I won’t be wasting my time thinking of the things I want to do, but instead, I could just go on with the flow, and discover. But, analyzing is still important, because we don’t want to come to a point in which Aristotle calls a tragedy. So, from there on, he was giving me literature, drama and film lessons, from Hamlet to Oedipus Rex.

(A quick disclaimer, I’ve never really studied the story, so, the facts might not be quite right.)

So, King Oedipus’s story is about this king who was adopted by another royal family from another state, after he was abandoned in a field as an infant instead of being killed as suggested by the oracle his father consulted. Then, once he grew older, he went to see the Delphic oracle, and he was told that he was destined to mate his own mother and kill his own sire. So, desperate to escape his foretold fate, he ran away, not knowing that the king and queen of the state were only his adopted parents.

While on the road, he got in a quarrel with this man on who has the right of passage on a one lane road, which ended in Oedipus killing the man, unaware of the fact that the man he killed is actually his real father. Thus, the first part of the prophecy was fulfilled. And he went on with his journey and entered the city of Thebes.

And before he could enter the city, he was stopped by the smoking hot Sphinx, who guarded the entrance to the city. The Sphinx, known for her riddles, told Oedipus the riddle mentioned earlier. And being a bright king, he managed to solve it; man was the answer, he crawls as a child, walks on 2 legs when old enough, and some will need the assistance of a walking stick at an older age (maybe there weren’t any wheelchairs yet back then, so, the Sphinx left the wheel part out). The Sphinx, so distraught to find someone smarter than she was, killed herself by jumping off the cliff, marking the day on which the zoomorphic species got extinct.

With the Sphinx dead, Thebes was free from the Sphinx’s curse once and for all. Being delighted and all, they awarded Oedipus the kingship, and he married the queen, who is actually his biological mother; the second part of the prophecy, fulfilled. They should have really visited a genetic expert before getting married….

Long story short, Oedipus realized everything (who his biological parents were) when he was trying to solve the case of the murdering of Laius, his wife’s former husband, the former king of Thebes, his biological father. The whole mystery was solved when the shepherd who left Oedipus in the field as an infant who was also the sole witness of the killing of Laius by Oedipus was called to the floor.

And that very moment when Oedpius realized that the woman he was having babies with all this while was actually his biological mother, is called peripetia.

A sudden realization after a tragedy, a turning point maybe. You can always check the dictionary for a more complete and precise definition.

And the story of Hamlet, you can find that yourselves.

The next week after that small pep talk with Professor J, I was talking to my sister on the phone, when we ended up talking about peripetia. And I think you got it right, Freud called his sick idea Oedipus complex.

And last night, after some casual volleyball and basketball at the rec, I was browsing through the videos on TED for some motivation. And I found Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs. Enjoy the video. The earlier part of the talk has a little touch of Chuck-Palahniuk-reading-Guts on it. And he explains the idea of perepeteia very well.

Enough with Aristotle and the Sphinx. Why is it when we talk about passion and love, we always talk about the arts? We talk about the neurotic painter’s passion being reflected and infused in the disturbing abstract of the art he scribbled and nibbled on the piece of square canvas. How about all the doctors, engineers, math teachers and marketing people? And why do these oracles have to talk in riddles and kiasan all the time?

And at last, I’m done with the jacking up the efficiency project. The company having already saved at least $180,000 a year by having unpaid college students coming up with that kind of possible solution, with a possibility of doubling their production at 75% of the cost, memang cilake la kalau tak bagi A.

Yesterday was a special day, with the rain complementing the mood, groups of students screaming after each class session, and some were already seen giving hugs to friends, for goodbyes … it was interesting. Yesterday was the last day of class for the semester.

Cita-cita baru minggu ini......... nak jadi Chuck Yeager.

by the way, the title is a quote by Steak-and-Fries from Cidade de Deus (City of God)..... hmmmm... kena belajar hisap rokok....

X-men on Monday?

Monday, April 13, 2009

"heroin, mug's game...."

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the future lately, and I don’t like doing that. Get me a desk, some money, and a pair of these, and I’m a happy man.

We lost again yesterday, 8-7. I got 2 goals and 3 assists, but I was also guilty of giving away the ball to Fred, an opponent player, which resulted into a stupid soft goal. Nevertheless, it was still a good match; we crawled back in into the game after trailing 8-3. But a lost is still a lost. Anyways, we still have intramural playoffs this week to look forward to.

And to some soccer back home. The local soccer scene just got a little more exciting; getting a story published under the headlines tab on ESPNsoccernet sure is something. Halim Napi is one mad man, and the home crowd, wow. I’m not implying that I’m giving my utmost support to hooliganism and such, but yeah, we’ve had cases of home supporters throwing stones to the visiting team’s busses and all, but putting a police vehicle on fire sure is something new. At least, I look up to these people more than those Melayu Malaysia perasan Red Army and Malaysian perasan Steve Hickmont. I have a lot of catching up to do before going back home. And the national hockey team went on to lose 3-1 to India in the Azlan Shah Cup tournament finals.

And talking about hooligans, I just finished watching the rise of the footsoldier. It is an OK movie, maybe it is just a little bit too long, and it gets a little lackluster towards the end. Anyways, I’d recommend this to anyone who is into gangster or crime films, and be warned that it is a little graphic. You can find a short description of the movie here. And the one big thing that I learnt from the film is, stay away from drugs. Maybe money is the root of all evil, but drugs is the pinnacle of it, the point where if you fall, you’ll fall the hardest.

Back on the future; I can’t really see why I need to conform to the society’s brand of a successful person. It’s not anything existentialism……… I guess. But well, let’s skip the crap.

And talking about successful people, Mr. Onitsuka and Carlton Leach have these characteristics in common; they have a gift, and they got guts. You can have all the muscle and the money, but you need to have bakat to go up the ladder. And the one big difference between them is that one planned to be successful, and the other one did it just for the thrills. So, failing to plan is a plan to fail crap is really not that true I guess. Well, planning ahead is still good though; but it is not right to generalize- that’s what my writing lecturer told me at least.

More on successful writers, I bumped into Nadim last week, and he made me read a short story entitled Guts from Palahniuk’s Haunted. Palahniuk is one sick and amazing writer. He is so good that up to 60 people have fainted listening to the story of Guts during his book readings. I didn’t faint, but I just couldn’t help myself from uttering a couple of bad words aloud throughout the excruciating few pages with the rather animated looking Nadim laughing the whole time. You guys should try it sometime, or you can find a couple of videos of him reading it on youtube. But, just be warned, unless you have a sick and twisted mind, it is going to be agonizingly disturbing.

I still haven’t decided if I’ll be running the 5k next week, so, a pair of shoes with the fancy gel has to wait. And my younger sister will be coming over to the states sometime this week. I need flight tickets….. Houston ke, Philly? And yesterday’s forum was just horrible.

Letih. Perlu pulang ke pangkal jalan.

Monday, April 6, 2009

a better loser

At last, I had the chance to attend the club’s annual regional conference for the first time last week. The focus was on how modern medicine interfaces with and impacts our society and the world. Among the topics covered include Biotechnology, ethical issues regarding to genetic testing, adjusting to an aging population, the rising cost of public health, etc.

Since it’s near impossible to summarize everything here, let’s just talk about the slot which I think is the coolest. Firstly, I didn’t really plan on attending this particular parallel slot because I was afraid that I was going to offend a handful of informed people by not laughing to their clever inside jokes (I never had any biology, not even in high school, and the topic presented was ethical issues in genetic testing, in a big conference where the attendees know a little bit of everything), but I just happen to have entered the wrong room, and when I realized that, it was already too late to get out and join the other group next door. Anyhow, at the end of the day, it wasn’t really that bad, though I had to constantly google up the new terms and jargons used by both the esteemed presenter and the hyper-cool audience throughout the session.

And what I can conclude from the lecture is this- the future is just plain scary. Imagine this, the setting from the X-men series, and how the one main difference between the mutants and the rest of the human population is causing havoc around the world; just this time, no wolverine, no sexy slimy blue woman, and replace the x-gene with some other genetic traits…… Ok, that’s not a very good explanation.

Ok, anyways, we already have enough problems with racial, religious, sexual orientation, and social class discrimination, and the last thing we want is to have groups of people being discriminated because of their genes. And in this case, when we talk about discrimination, it goes beyond the social prejudice. It involves issues regarding to money, well being and protection in terms of insurance plans and some other sensitive issues including abortion, etc. As an example, with advancements in biotech, such as the availability of the pre-natal genetic testing, in the future, without the right laws and regulations, it is possible that one day, parents can choose to keep the unborn or to simply perform abortion if it doesn’t really go along with the specifications of the kind of child they want. And in the future, marriage, or love in general, will have to go beyond the psychological chemistry, with the unrestricted genetic profiling coming into play. And as we in general just don’t like to be labeled and treated differently because of certain stigmas, then, we will be forced to choose, thus the issues with selective personality and all. Anyways, the 2 examples are just a small portion of the problems that will surface without the right laws and guidelines concerning genetic testing. And as we were informed, the laws governing the issue today is lagging years behind compared to where we have arrived today.

And the other topics discussed were in fact, just as interesting. And all in all, other than the roasted vege for lunch; the 2-day conference was awesome. And I was just a little disappointed that I had to skip a couple of slots because I just had to join the team for the WC tournament last Saturday and share a portion of the humiliation of getting whipped, losing by 8 goals to 1.

It was a really big slap to our big fat pride; at least 3 guys I know and one random guy I can’t really remember who, came up to me on campus asking what the hell happened. And since the intramural game was cancelled yet again due to the storm, I was available to play for the team for our 2nd game of the indoor tourney. And since its Macheda’s day and we didn’t really want to steal his thunder, we thought that pulling an upset by winning the game was a bit inappropriate; so, our 1st ever WC win will have to wait until next week. hmmmmm…. We really need to find a way to play against guys double our size,....... and how to scramble from very small dogs when playing outdoors…… and I think I can cross ‘playing in the world cup’ out from my bucket list.

And yup, the team got ‘beet’ out, but the future is bright. I like Hansbrough, but I want MSU to win. We’ll see.

Btw, imagine this, liyana fiza (estrella) with a degree in biology from MIT, and she’s all Zidane………..

And good luck Mr. PM.