Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Remembering Good Old Days

Remembering Good Old Days

Remembering Good Old Days

Posted: 10 Nov 2009 09:23 AM PST

this person in question is my old neighbour. we literally grew up together – what with him joining us the girls playing masak-masak, rollerblading together a good few kilometres from home, squeezing ourselves in the old Bas Mini nombor 25, exchanging books, gossiping hoh yeah!, and everything else a brother and sister could enjoy together.

he was one of the reasons for my Good Old Days, together with Jugha, Yaty, Jijie, Bitt, Lily and the rest of the clan. gosh i missed those days when climbing trees is a must-have skills, for boys and girls alike.

today saw another reason to look back to those Good Old Days. i'm really that mellow when it comes to my Good Old Days i could cry. oh boy.

here's some of the best episodes during those Good Old Days:

- masak megi dalam longkang depan rumah pastu ramai-ramai rebut makan megi tu dalam periuk, pakai tangan.

- lepak dengan Jugha atas pokok ceri depan surau dan sembang macam la kat bawah tu takde bangku (Jugha is my best friend).

- naik basikal chopper Bitt 6 orang sekali.

- main jongkang-jongket – sebelah sini 5-6 orang, sebelah sini sorang. yang 5-6 orang tu hentak kuat-kuat so nanti yang sorang tu melambung tinggi di udara. kitorang gilir-gilir.

- sediakan moreh waktu orang sembahyang tarawikh kat surau lepas tu makan macam la kitorang yang tarawikh 20 rakaat.

- main masak-masak depan rumah, bawah pokok akasia yang bapak Zamani tanam lepas tu Zamani join eh apsal kau je sorang laki tapi bagus gak kau boleh jadi bapak dan gi beli 'makanan' dan kitorang yang mak dan anak ni tunggu je kat 'rumah'.

- naik basikal konvoi ramai-ramai pusing Taman Nirwana.

- jalan kaki dengan Jugha dari depan Sekolah Aminuddin Baki sekolahku yang terchenta sampai Taman Nirwana waktu tengah hari punya panas tapi rilek je jalan sambil ghosip (ghosip kills your time hoh yeah) kalau kena kidnap sapa nak jawap.

- beramai-ramai beli ais krim Malaysia kat Nenek Rumah Panjang bila dah penat main selipar tiga atau rounders.

…and the list continues. those luxuries and friendship, i won't trade for anything!

p.s.:  take me back there.

Posted in girls talk, retrospective

Pasaraya Mydin

Posted: 10 Nov 2009 09:10 AM PST

Parking Motor Atau Tempat Buang Sampah???

Posted: 10 Nov 2009 09:10 AM PST

Bro Rick Says....
Gambar ni aku rakam masa ke rumah kawan aku malam tadi, motor ni aku tgk dh hampir seminggu kat situ, tak tau sapa punya owner, mungkin motor tu dh dibuang dikawasan tempat pembuangan sampah ni kot, atau memang kat situ owner tu suka park motor dia?
He....he...he....aku pun tak jawapan, korg ada??

photogenic Wednesday - 010

Posted: 10 Nov 2009 08:00 AM PST

Showing the butt
A Butt shots... Anyone know whose butt is this?

nizar: Absent-Minded China Man Tun said "I cannot remember" at least 11 times - nizar nizar nizar nizar nizar nizar nizar nizar

Posted: 10 Nov 2009 09:15 AM PST

(Image Source)


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Absent-mindedness can refer to three very different things:

  1. a low level of attention ("blanking" or "zoning out");
  2. intense attention to a single object of focus (hyperfocus) that makes them oblivious to events around them; or
  3. unwarranted distraction of attention from the object of focus by irrelevant thoughts or environmental events.

Pua also wants probe against Ling
by Husna Yusop and Giam Say Khoon

FORMER transport minister Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik should also be investigated for his part in the Port Klang Free Zone (PFKZ) scandal, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) member Tony Pua (DAP-Petaling Jaya) said yesterday.

Pua, who made the call following the release of the PAC report on the fiasco last week, said Ling had displayed "selective memory loss" during his testimony to the committee.

He said the former MCA leader had answered "I cannot remember" or its equivalent at least 11 times when posed with certain key questions regarding the project, "which raised doubts as to the veracity of his replies".

"The situation even reached a point of incredulity when PAC deputy chairman Dr Tan Seng Giaw (DAP-Kepong) asked: 'Tun, did you know of Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd or KDSB (the PKFZ turnkey developer) before you left the ministry?' and Ling responded with 'I may have heard about it'," Pua told reporters at the Parliament lobby.

"We felt a bit bizarre over his answers."

He said an investigation must be conducted on the role Ling played in the project.

The former transport minister had denied the ministry had any role in the finalisation of the land purchase agreement with KDSB, and placed the responsibility with the Finance Ministry, which was headed by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2001 and 2002.

But Pua said the testimonies of government officers and the letters by the Valuation and Property Services Department contradicted this.

He said they had confirmed it was the Transport Ministry which had repeatedly asked for the value of the land to be revised from RM17 to RM25 a sq ft without interest, when the Treasury had not authorised any revision in the purchase price.

The ministry had allegedly either defied a Treasury order dated June 12, 2001, and advice from the attorney-general for the land to be acquired compulsorily or strongly argued against doing so in securing the cabinet approval for the project, he said, adding that Ling must explain the matter.

Pua also said Ling had issued a letter of support for the project in 2003. Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Patail had informed the PAC the word of the government was worth its weight in gold, hence even if the letter did not specifically contain elements of guarantees, the government was obliged to honour its word, he said.

Transcript of Q&A session between PAC and Tun:

PAC chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid: Would you recall ... There was a point where it was mentioned that even RM25 (per sq ft); it was still viable in terms of …?

Ling: It is a little complicated ... To pinpoint exactly when, where, how and why, I think it is a little bit difficult.

Selayang (PKR) MP William Leong Jee Keen: Tun, just for clarification. You were saying that you identified 1,000 acres and that you need to have it … Are you saying that this is the only 1,000 acres in Pulau Indah or were there also other available pieces of land if the price is too high ...?

Ling: What I meant was this was one piece that was offered to us. Whether there were other pieces, I really do not know.

Kapit (BN-PBB) MP Alexander Nanta Linggi: ... can you remember at what stage the project was implemented up to the point when you left the ministry?

Ling: ... it was May. That's the last thing I remember of that project because you (I) have nothing else more to do with it.

Azmi Khalid: At that stage when you left, what stage was the development? ...

Ling: I really wouldn't know.

Leong: Tun, according to the PriceWaterhouseCoopers Report in 2001, the cabinet decided that the project would have to be self-financing ... Wouldn't it be cheaper for PKA to have gone through the process of their government guaranteed bond?

Ling: Was it during my time? Did I sign anything to approve that action? (Ling reiterated that the approvals for the land acquisition had to go through the right processes and the right agencies.)

Leong: That is my point, in the due process, when it came to your ministry's table for you to also make a decision, do you recall this issue?

Ling: Is there evidence that it came and that happened?

Kota Belud (BN-Umno) MP Datuk Abd. Rahman Dahlan: Tun, are you aware that there were other options to finance the land acquisitions. Are you aware that there was a cheaper way of doing things?

Ling: I can't remember.

Azmi Khalid: KDSB as the developer only needed a capital to develop the site and it could have been raised either through the government guaranteed bonds or through their own channel. My question is, was the ministry informed of any of the decisions?

Ling: I really can't remember.

Kepong (DAP) MP Dr Tan Seng Giaw: Tun, can you confirm that the idea (PKFZ) was conceived actually before 1999 ...?

Ling: I am not sure.

Tan: You're not sure huh?

Ling: I am not sure because I became a minister in 1986 and anything that happened after 1986, of course like you (I) cannot be sure (to) pinpoint (if) it is 1987, 1988, no, I must apologise, I cannot remember.

Tan: Leading to the time on May 28, your last day, you said that a letter was handed, who wrote that letter for you?

Ling: I can't remember but I remember I signed the letter that was passed to me.

PJ Utara (DAP) MP Tony Pua: Why were there no competitive bid (apart from KDSB) and what was the strength of KDSB ...?

Ling: Frankly, I cannot remember those details. I would like to know myself but there must have been certain grounds.

Pua: Tun, is it the usual process to award to a single contractor or is it (usual) to have a competitive open tender? ...

Ling: I am not prepared to comment because I really cannot remember the circumstances.

Tan: How many times did you visit Jebel Ali?

Ling: You know, I cannot remember but I visited Jebel Ali at least once.

Pua: As a matter of record, are there any benefits which under KDSB and its owner Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing and the group of companies like Wijaya Baru Sdn Bhd ... which you have taken? Example flights or entertainment?

Ling: Nothing at all that I can remember.

Tan: Tun, you said you have heard of KDSB. During your time, was there any attempt by KDSB to develop the infrastructure of Pulau Indah?

Ling: I cannot remember.

Tan: Tun, did you know that the bonds would be issued?

Ling: I may have heard of it but…

Tan: You could not recall.

Ling: No. No.

Azmi Khalid: The bond was issued after your time. Am I right?

Ling: The only possible connection was through that Letter of Support which we gave a reply after due consultation with the secretary general and legal officers.

Tan: Were you aware that in 1999, the cabinet made the decision that it (PKFZ) should be self-financed when they approved that RM1.9 billion (loan) for that project?

Ling: Did they ever approve that RM1.9 billion?

(Source: www.thesundaily.com)

Try a little kindness

Posted: 10 Nov 2009 06:54 AM PST

Kindness begets kindness. And if one is blessed with goodness in life, I believe one must learn how to give back whatever one has. It could be your time, energy, or one's talents. It is so blessed to give than to receive. You benefit more by being good to other people – not by being selfish or self centered. Glen Campbell, the singer immortalized the words of "try a little kindness".

Part of the lyrics .................
If you see your brother standing by the road
With a heavy load from the seeds he sowed
If you see your sister falling by the way just stop and say you're going the wrong way
You've got to try a little kindness just show a little kindness
Shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness you'll overlook the blindness
Of the narrow minded people on the narrow minded streets

An act of kindness brings joy to both the giver and the receiver. We are and have what we are and have because someone around us will need to be blessed by what we are and have. I believe somehow when I perform random acts of kindness, I am blessed in return with good health, the well being of my children, and renewed energy to do the best for my students and people around me in my organisation.

Love for yourself and people will always propel you to give and live a lifestyle of giving…it may be just a smile, an encouraging word or even giving fellow car owners, space to get ahead of you in traffic!There are so many ways to show acts of kindness. Donations for a good cause, donations to relieve the burden of the downtrodden and again I believe for every act of kindness,somehow again somehow our good God will return in good measure. What goes round, comes round and the harvest no matter how long it takes to mature, far exceeds the seeds sown.

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can for you shall surely, in one way or the other, reap the reward.

Every habit has it consequences, the concequences of a good habit is a good reward. You never know how far the little gesture you offer will go in affecting the person next to you. Really,we can never imagine how timely or relieving a little show of kindness from us could be to those in need.

Lets sow kindness this season and beyond and watch how wonderful our lives will be.

nizar: MCMC to 'potong' P1 WIMAX 'Potong' TVC? - nizar nizar nizar nizar nizar

Posted: 10 Nov 2009 07:05 AM PST

MCMC Scrutinises P1 Wimax Broadband Commercial

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 10 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is scrutinising the broadcast of the P1 Wimax Broadband commercial for using the word "potong" (cut) repeatedly.

Deputy Information Communication and Culture Minister Senator Heng Saei Kie said the content of the commercial was being scrutinised by MCMC content forum to determine whether it violates the content code stipulated by the MCMC.

"As we all know, all television commercials must be approved by the Film Censorship Board under the Home Ministry, and not this ministry, before they can be broadcast," she said when winding up the debate on the 2010 Supply Bill at the policy stage in the Dewan Rakyat Tuesday.

Earlier, Datuk Mohamad Aziz (BN-Sri Gading) interrupted Heng's winding-up speech and asked the ministry to stop the broadcast of the commercial as it was misleading.

"When we say "potong"...it is very vulgar. We understand (that it refers to cutting the Internet line and changing to broadband), but for most people, "potong" hints at the act (of circumcision).

"So, I think the ministry should have that commercial cut," he added.


Here's the 'very vulgar' TVC that MCMC is probing:

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

Sibu In The Blue Ocean - Part 9

Posted: 10 Nov 2009 05:05 AM PST

Tan Kee Hian then took the audience to go on board for a cruise of Red and Blue oceans.

Red Oceans simply refer to a known market space where competition is bloody. In short, competitors kill each other off for survival or gaining an advantage over market share.

Common characteristics of Red Ocean Approach are intense competition, low growth, shrinking profit pool, etc.

Tan Kee Hian quoted a few companies that broke free of Red Competition:

Thailand Auto Components
iPod + iTunes

In short, Red Ocean Approach is bad for corporations!

Photo: Liong

His terrorist motive is obvious to everyone but the press and the Army brass

Posted: 10 Nov 2009 04:42 AM PST

8It can by now come as no surprise that the Fort Hood massacre yielded an instant flow of exculpatory media meditations on the stresses that must have weighed on the killer who mowed down 13 Americans and wounded 29 others. Still, the intense drive to wrap this clear case in a fog of mystery is eminently worthy of notice.The tide of pronouncements and ruminations pointing to every cause for this event other than the one obvious to everyone in the rational world continues apace. Commentators, reporters, psychologists and, indeed, army spokesmen continue to warn portentously, "We don't yet know the motive for the shootings."

Now the murderer gets an Attorney

What a puzzle this piece of vacuity must be to audiences hearing it, some, no doubt, with outrage. To those not terrorized by fear of offending Muslim sensitivities, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's motive was instantly clear: It was an act of terrorism by a man with a record of expressing virulent, anti-American, pro-jihadist sentiments. All were conspicuous signs of danger his Army superiors chose to ignore. What is hard to ignore, now, is the growing derangement on all matters involving terrorism and Muslim sensitivities. Its chief symptoms: a palpitating fear of discomfiting facts and a willingness to discard those facts and embrace the richest possible variety of ludicrous theories as to the motives behind an act of Islamic terrorism. All this we have seen before but never in such naked form. The days following the Fort Hood rampage have told us more than we want to know, perhaps, about the depth and reach of this epidemic.

One of the first outbreaks of these fevers, the night of the shootings, featured television's star psychologist, Dr. Phil, who was outraged when fellow panelist and former JAG officer Tom Kenniff observed that he had been listening to a lot of psychobabble and evasions about Maj. Hasan's motives. A shocked Dr. Phil, appalled that the guest had publicly mentioned Maj. Hasan's Islamic identity, went on to present what was, in essence, the case for Maj. Hasan as victim. Victim of deployment, of the Army, of the stresses of a new kind of terrible war unlike any other we have known. Unlike, can he have meant, the kind endured by those lucky Americans who fought and died at Iwo Jima, say, or the Ardennes?

It was the same case to be presented, in varying forms, by guest psychologists, the media, and a representative or two from the military, for days on end. The quality and thrust of this argument was best captured by the impassioned Dr. Phil, who asked us to consider, "how far out of touch with reality do you have to be to kill your fellow Americans . . . this is not a well act." And how far out of touch with reality is such a question, one asks in return—not only of Dr. Phil, but of the legions of commentators like him immersed in the labyrinths of motive hunting even as the details of Maj. Hasan's proclivities became ever clearer and more ominous.

To kill your fellow Americans—as many as possible, unarmed and in the most helpless of circumstances, while shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is great), requires, of course, only murderous hatred—the sort of mindset that regularly eludes the Dr. Phils of our world as the motive for mass murder of this kind. As the meditations on Maj. Hasan's motives rolled on, "fear of deployment" has served as a major theme—one announced as fact in the headline for the New York Times's front-page story: "Told of War Horror, Gunman Feared Deployment." The authority for this intelligence? The perpetrator's cousin. No story could have better suited that newspaper's ongoing preoccupation with the theme of madness in our fighting men, and the deadly horrors of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, than this story of a victim of war pressures gone berserk. The one fly in the ointment—Maj. Hasan had of course seen no war, and no combat.

Still, with a bit of stretching, adherents of Maj. Hasan-as-war-victim theme found a substitute of sorts—namely the fears allegedly provoked in him by his exposure, as an army psychologist, to the stories of men who had been deployed. The thesis then: Maj. Hasan's mental stress, provoked by the suffering of Americans who had been in combat, caused him to go out and butcher as many of these soldiers as he could. Let's try putting that one before a jury. By Sunday morning, Gen. George Casey Jr., Army chief of staff, confronted questions put to him by ABC's George Stephanopolous—among them the matter of the complaints about Maj. Hasan's anti-American tirades that were made by fellow students in military classes, as well as other danger signs ignored by officials when they were reported, apparently for fear of offense to a Muslim member of the military.

These were speculations, Gen. Casey repeatedly cautioned. We need to be very careful, he explained, "We are a very diverse army." Mr. Stephanopolous then helpfully summarized matters: This case then was either a case of premeditated terror—or the man just snapped. The general was not about to address such questions. He was there to recite the required pieties, and describe the military priorities . . . which are, it appears, a concern above all for the sensitivities of a diverse army, a concern so great as to render even the mention of salient facts out of order, as "speculation.'" "This terrible event," Gen. Casey noted, "would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty."

To hear this, and numerous other such pronouncements of recent days, was to be reminded of all those witnesses to the suspicious behavior of the 9/11 hijackers who held their tongues for fear of being charged with discrimination. It has taken Maj. Hasan, and the fantastic efforts to explain away his act of bloody hatred, to bring home how much less capable we are of recognizing the dangers confronting us than we were even before September 11.

Ms. Rabinowitz is a member of the Journal's editorial board. WSJ Online

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

For the purposes of argument, let's accept the media's insistence that Major Hasan is a lone crazy - Mark Steyn

Posted: 10 Nov 2009 04:07 AM PST

So who's nuttier? The guy who gives a lecture to other military doctors in which he says non-Muslims should be beheaded and have boiling oil poured down their throats?

Or the guys who say "Hey, let's have this fellow counsel our traumatized veterans and then promote him to major and put him on a Homeland Security panel?

Or the Army Chief of Staff who thinks the priority should be to celebrate diversity, even unto death?

Or the Secretary of Homeland Security who warns that the principal threat we face now is an outbreak of Islamophobia?

Or the president who says we cannot "fully know" why Major Hasan did what he did, so why trouble ourselves any further?

Or the columnist who, when a man hands out copies of the Koran before gunning down his victims while yelling "Allahu akbar," says you're racist if you bring up his religion?

Or his media colleagues who put Americans in the same position as East Germans twenty years ago of having to get hold of a foreign newspaper to find out what's going on?

General Casey has a point: An army that lets you check either the "home team" or "enemy" box according to taste is certainly diverse. But the logic in the remarks of Secretary Napolitano and others is that the real problem is that most Americans are knuckledragging bigots just waiting to go bananas. As Melanie Phillips wrote in her book Londonistan:

Minority-rights doctrine has produced a moral inversion, in which those doing wrong are excused if they belong to a 'victim' group, while those at the receiving end of their behaviour are blamed simply because they belong to the 'oppressive' majority.

To the injury of November 5, we add the insults of American officialdom and their poodle media. In a nutshell:

The real enemy — in the sense of the most important enemy — isn't a bunch of flea-bitten jihadis sitting in a cave somewhere. It's Western civilization's craziness. We are setting our hair on fire and putting it out with a hammer.Source....

Mac or Mc?

Posted: 10 Nov 2009 01:52 AM PST

Most people who know me (and probably most people who read my blog) know that it really annoys me when someone spells my last name wrong. Actually, it annoys me a little less these days, just because I'm so used to it. But it's still annoying. No matter how many times I tell people it's M-a-c-V-a-y, I still see all sorts of different spellings. Probably the most common misspelling is the use of Mc instead of Mac. But while I've always found it somewhat irritating to see my name spelled M-c-V-a-y, lately I've been thinking it might be just as correct — or at least almost as correct — as the way I currently spell my name.

First things first: Both Mac and Mc mean exactly the same thing. Mac means son in both Scottish Gaelic and Irish. Contrary to popular belief, if does not mean son of. Instead, the word mac before a name places that name in the genitive case, which in Gaelic necessitates what's called lenition or aspiration. In plain terms, that means the first letter of the name changes a bit. Names beginning with B, for example, will become Bh, which sounds like V. Hence beatha, meaning life, becomes bheatha (which is, interestingly enough, very similar to words for life in Latin languages), so that the family name becomes MacBheatha, which is pretty much pronounced the same as MacVay.

Mc is simply a contraction of Mac. There are all sorts of theories out there about the difference between Mac and Mc, the most common being that Mac is used by Protestant and Mc by Catholics (and also that Mac is Scottish, Mc is Irish; from these two misconceptions we get the origins of Irish Catholics being called Mickeys in America), but while that may be true in some cases (more on a possible example below), in most cases Mc is nothing more than a contraction of Mac. Here's a better explanation than mine, an extract from a book called Tartan for Me! by Philip D. Smith, Jr. (which I found here):

Mac, Gaelic for "son", is the most common element of Scottish and Irish surnames. In both countries, Mc is always an abbreviation of Mac. There is absolutely no truth to the American myth at Mac is Scottish and Mc is Irish. Mac used to be abbreviated M' although this spelling is not common now. At times, all three versions can be seen. in an early book on Highland music, the author spelled his own family name three different ways on the first two pages — "MacDonald", "McDonald", and "M'Donald."

Black's The Surnames of Scotland and MacLysaght's The Surnames of Ireland both treat Mac in the same way — as the only and original spelling. Persons seeking a name spelled "Mc" are expected to know that it is a conventional abbreviation for Mac. This same approach is used in Tartan For Me! To find "McDeal" look for "MacDeal."

Mac is always considered an addition to a name. Before there was a "Donald's Son" there was a "Donald". In both Scotland and Nova Scotia, names beginning with Mac were traditionally alphabetized under the first letter of the second name — MacArthur under "A", MacZeal under "Z". Many Scots dropped "Mac" as they became Anglicized or emigrated, "Mac Wyeth" becoming simply "Wyeth". "Kinzie" is from "MacKenzie". The one notable exception is the Innes and MacInnes families, each quite distinct. The Innes family have Pictish roots and are from the east coast of Scotland with a red tartan. The MacInnes are of Gaelic origin from the west coast and wear a green tartan.

Mac takes a variety of pronunciations. In Islay Gaelic, Mac is pronounced like /mek/. In the United States one hears it as "mick". Preceding a /k/ or /g/ sound, the final /k/ of Mac disappears. It became the practice in both the south of Scotland and in Ireland to write two words as one (MacGill to Magill; MacHale to Makale). In other names the /k/ sound of Mac is duplicated and attached to the front of a following word if it begins in a vowel (MacArter to MacCarter). The reverse also occurs. If the second name begins with a /k/ or /g/, producing two /k/ sounds together, one may disappear (MacGill to Magill; MacKenzie to MacEnzee). Mac is at times pronounced "muck" and written that way (Mac 'il Roy to Muckleroy).

There's also an interesting bit about the Anglicization of Gaelic names being helped along by the fact that a lot of Gaelic speakers could not read or write Gaelic (this one's debatable) and would therefore just write names in English as they sounded in Gaelic.

Anyway, I've always taken it for granted that my family has used the MacVay spelling for a long time, beginning way back in Scotland, before my family moved to Ireland in the 17th century. Sure, the name was always recorded as McVay (or McVey, McVea, McVeigh, McVeagh, etc.) on old documents from Scotland, Ireland and Canada…but I know my MacVays have always spelled the name M-a-c-V-a-y, at least in Canada.

Or have they?

The grave of Alexander and Elizabeth MacVay

The grave of Alexander and Elizabeth MacVay

When I posted my family's history a few months back, someone noticed the McVay spelling on my great-great-grandfather's gravestone and asked in the comments if the family name had once been spelled that way. Here's what I wrote in reply:

I've seen the name spelled McVay on documents, and of course on that gravestone. As far as I know, in my family it's always been MacVay. Some members of the family got used to the McVay spelling and stuck with it, but most continued to use MacVay, even when they were still in NB. It would have been MacVay originally anyway, 'Mc' just being a contraction.

One interesting thing is the presence of the lines under the 'c' in 'Mc' on the gravestone. Alexander's name was also spelled that way on the birth certificate of his daughter Isabella in Scotland in 1855. The clerk who copied down the name didn't spell other 'Mc' names with the little lines. I know the lines were used to signify a raised 'c' (and therefore 'Mc' as a contraction of 'Mac'); I suspect they were also used to show that a name spelled with the contraction 'Mc' was actually spelled 'Mac', whereas 'Mc' names without the little marks were always spelled 'Mc'. That's just a theory though. The short version of all this: I'm pretty sure we've always spelled it MacVay.

I now know that all of the descendants of my great-great-grandfather used the MacVay spelling, but in spite of that, I have to admit there's another possibility besides what I wrote in that comment. That possibility is that my great-great-grandfather, Alexander MacVay, may have actually spelled his name Alexander McVay. The 1855 Scottish birth record of Isabella MacVay that I mentioned in that comment provides another clue: it appears to contain my great-great-grandfather's signature, which reads Alex McVay. It looks like it may have actually been written by the clerk, because it looks suspiciously like the other signatures on the page. But if it is indeed my great-great-grandfather's writing (the only example of it I have ever seen), then it appears the family name may have actually been McVay.

While the whole Scottish/Irish/Protestant/Catholic explanation of the difference between Mac and Mc may not be generally true, interestingly enough it may have been the reason behind the spelling change (if indeed there was one) in my family's name. When my family arrived in St. Stephen, New Brunswick in the early 1860s, they found a number of McVays already living there, all Irish Catholics who had been in the area for many years. My family had lived in Ireland for several generations but didn't consider themselves Irish. They were Ulster Scots who were fiercely proud of their Scottish roots; they were also staunch Presbyterians. Had my family settled in Cape Breton straight off the boat, I might just think they changed the spelling to fit in with their neighbours (who mostly used Mac). Instead, it seems like my family may have been trying to do the opposite.

Sure, it's possible the spelling was MacVay all along. Like I said, maybe that signature wasn't really written by my great-grandfather. And maybe the name was spelled wrong by whoever made that gravestone. All possible, but I'm not sure. After all, Alexander's eldest son, my great-grandfather William MacVay, was an expert stonemason and may have made that gravestone himself, or at least had a hand in it.

Whatever the case, the name is MacVay now and my kids will be at least the fifth generation to spell it that way. But when I see our name as McVay (when, not if, because it's pretty much inevitable), maybe I'll be slightly less annoyed than before. Maybe. But only slightly.

Era Najib Altantuya : Tekanan Ke Atas Selngor, Kerajaan Pusat Kurangkan Peruntukan

Posted: 10 Nov 2009 01:50 AM PST

Menteri Besar Selangor, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim mempertikaikan tindakan Kerajaan Persekutuan mengurangkan peruntukan kepada Kerajaan Negeri Selangor.

Tindakan berkenaan dilihat tidak adil kerana Selangor merupakan negeri yang menyumbang hasil sebanyak RM 16 bilion kepada Kerajaan Pusat.

"Jika 20% daripada jumlah tersebut (RM3.2 bilion) dipulangkan kepada negeri Selangor, ini akan menjadikan peruntukan yang boleh diterima daripada kerajaan persekutuan lebih dua kali ganda daripada bajet semasa," kata Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim dalam pembentangan Bajet 2010 di sidang DUN hari ini.

Menurutnya pemberian daripada kerajaan persekutuan yang diterima sehingga 27 Oktober tahun ini hanya berjumlah RM408.26 juta.

"Jumlah ini merupakan 16.6% daripada Bajet 2009 jika dibandingkan dengan penerimaan pada tahun 2008 menunjukkan penurunan peratusan penerimaan sebanyak 21.65% daripada keseluruhan Bajet 2008 dan 17.64% daripada Bajet 2007," katanya.

Khalid turut mempertikaikan amalan baru yang diamalkan Kerajaan Persekutuan di mana projek-projek persekutuan dijalankan secara terus oleh Pejabat Pembangunan Negeri melalui Unit Pelaksanaan dan Penyelarasan (ICU), sebuah unit dalam Jabatan Perdana Menteri.

"Sebelum ini, projek-projek tersebut dilaksanakan oleh Pejabat Tanah dan Daerah dengan mengambil kira kesesuaian projek berdasarkan keperluan penduduk dan daerah masing-masing.

"Kini ia terus dilaksanakan oleh ICU selepas Pakatan Rakyat mengambil alih kerajaan. Malahan, pembangunan projek-projek ini sekarang tidak lagi dilaporkan kepada kerajaan negeri, pihak berkuasa tempatan ataupun pejabat daerah walaupun projek ini sepatutnya untuk tujuan pembangunan negeri," katanya.

Khalid berkata jumlah projek yang semakin berkurangan dan penyaluran peruntukan yang turut merosot menunjukkan kerajaan pusat bersikap tidak adil dalam menyalurkan peruntukan ke negeri itu.

Era Najib Altantuya : Saksi Kes VK Lingam Muncul Di Hadapan Media

Posted: 10 Nov 2009 01:47 AM PST

Susulan kenyataan Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz berkenaan kes VK Lingam yang terlepas dari sebarang pertuduhan undang-undang.

Pakatan Rakyat hari ini membawa seorang saksi penting ke pemerhatian media kerana sebelum ini Badan Pencegah Rasuah (BPR) atau kini dikenali sebagai Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) menjadikan alasan sukar mendapatkan saksi sebagai alasan kes VK Lingam didiamkan begitu sahaja.

Bekas setiausaha VK Lingam, Jayanthi L.G Naidu memberitahu media bahawa beliau beberapa kali pernah dipanggil oleh BPR dan Suruhanjaya Di-Raja namun malangnya dikatakan tidak ada bukti kukuh untuk menyabitkan Lingam terhadap kelakuan jenayah.

Jayanthi merupakan saksi penting kerana sewaktu bertugas dengan VK Lingam beliau merupakan individu yang bertanggungjawab menempah tiket percutian untuk VK Lingam sekeluarga dan Tun Eusoff Chin ke New Zealand.

SOT : Jayanthi L.G Naidu, bekas setiausaha VK Lingam

" On the instruction of VK Lingam, I have at least on three occations withdrawn large sums of money between RM100,000 to RM 300,000 which I then wrapped in gift boxes with the understanding that they were be hand delivered by others to individual judges. One one occation, I saw one of these boxes being placed together with a box containing a cake to be delivered to a judge"

Wakil rakyat Pakatan Rakyat semalam mempersoalkan keengganan Peguam Negara mendakwa VK Lingam. Nazri dalam jawab balasnya berkata Lingam mungkin bersalah dari segi moral, namun tidak menyalahi mana-mana undang-undang.

Pakatan Rakyat mengesyaki adanya usaha untuk menutup kes ini dengan alasan teknikal.

Ahli parlimen Subang, Sivarasa Rasiah berkata, sebelum ini kerajaan menjadikan alasan gagal untuk menghubungi saksi penting menjadi punca utama kes terhadap Lingam tidak dapat diteruskan.

" Kita menolak jawapan ini sebagai jawapan yang tidak munasabah" ujarnya.

" Gagal menghubungi saksi yang terpenting dalam kes ini dijadikan alasan. Kini saya sendiri boleh hubungi" tambahnya lagi sambil disaksikan oleh Jayanthi dan beberapa ahli parlimen Pakatan Rakyat lain.

Nama Lingam mula dikenali ramai apabila gambarnya sekeluarga bercuti dengan Ketua Hakim Negara Tun Eusoff Chin di New Zealand tersebar luas di Internet.

Turut dipaparkan dalam Internet gambar Lingam bersama-sama taukeh besar Tan Sri Vincent Tan dan Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah, mantan peguam negara, yang dirakamkan semasa percutian ke Itali. -TVS

nizar RM7 bil of new projects approved in S'gor - nizar nizar nizar nizar nizar

Posted: 10 Nov 2009 06:39 AM PST

A total of 249 new projects worth more than RM7 billion in investments were approved in Selangor since Pakatan Rakyat took over the state government last year.

Chairperson of the Permanent State Committee for Investments, Industrialisation and Trade, Teresa Kok, said out of the investments between March 2008 and July this year, about RM2.667 billion were local investments and RM4.336 billion foreign investments.

eli wong back to work160409 teresa kok 01"The new projects, approved by the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (Mida) and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti), have the capacity to provide some 18,166 job opportunities for the locals in Selangor," she said during the Selangor State Assembly in Shah Alam today.

She said this in reply to a question from M Manoharan (DAP-Kota Alam Shah) who wanted to know the amount of new investments in Selangor since Pakatan took over the state control from Barisan Nasional in March last year.

Among the areas of focus for foreign investors in the state are Shah Alam where 4,870 employment opportunities were created, Klang (4,082), Port Klang (1,404), Pulau Lumut and Pulau Indah (655), Subang (783), Puchong (956), Semenyih (363), Banting (121), Kapar (477), Balakong (187) and Kajang (340).
(Source: Mkini - Support Mkini - Subscribe to Mkini!)

Dementia and Alzheimer's - What Are They? From BBC Online

Posted: 10 Nov 2009 12:32 AM PST

Alzheimer's and dementia

Aricept is used to treat Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, degenerative and irreversible brain disorder that causes intellectual impairment, disorientation and eventually death and the most common cause of dementia.

There is no cure. It is estimated that 2-5% of people over 65 years of age and up to 20% of those over 85 years of age suffer from the disease.

What is dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term which describes a serious deterioration in mental functions, such as memory, language, orientation and judgement.

Alzheimer's disease is one cause of dementia, but several other diseases can cause it too, including vascular disease. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for around two thirds of cases in the elderly.

What causes Alzheimer's?

The causes of Alzheimer's disease are not yet fully understood.

There are some very rare inherited cases caused by genetic mutations, but these account for around 1% of people with Alzheimer's.

For most cases, there is a complex interaction of many genetic, environmental and life-style risk factors, with age and genetics playing the largest part.

Some factors, such as a well-balanced diet and regular physical and mental exercise can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's.

Protein deposits, known as amyloid plaques and tau tangles, appear and spread in the brain, particularly in the cortex and the hippocampus.

The levels of important chemical transmitters, such as acetylcholine, are reduced. Many of the blood vessels of the brain are also damaged.

These processes are made worse by chronic inflammation in the brain and by an excess of highly reactive molecules known as free radicals, which damage brain tissue.

Gradually the connections between brain cells are lost and eventually many of the cells themselves die.

It is particularly the loss of connections between brain cells that is thought to cause the devastating symptoms of the disease.

What are the symptoms?

Alzheimer's disease has a gradual onset. The early stages of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias can be difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms are initially subtle or common to other illnesses.

Well established features of the disease include:

* Problems with memory
* Poor or decreased judgement
* Difficulty in performing everyday tasks
* Problems with language
* Disorientation in time and place
* Problems with abstract thinking
* Change in mood and behaviour
* Change in personality
* Loss of initiative

The disease is often associated with depression, anxiety and sleep disturbance.

The rate of decline varies from patient to patient. The disease course runs anywhere from three to twenty years, with eight years being the average life span after diagnosis.

How is the disease diagnosed?

There is no single diagnostic test for Alzheimer's disease. Experts are able to observe the pattern of symptoms and perform a few simple tests over a period of time to measure any change.

Although the tests currently performed are fairly accurate, a definitive diagnosis can still only be made after death by examining the brain tissue at post mortem.

Early diagnosis is important because it helps a doctor to rule out other illnesses with similar symptoms to dementia, such as depression. It also enables new drugs to be prescribed which can improve the quality of life for both patient and carer.

Many other disease processes can mimic Alzheimer's such as thyroid imbalances, vitamin B12 deficiency, brain injuries, tumours, and severe depression.

What are memory clinics?

Specialist memory clinics operate throughout the county and offer assessment, support, information and advice to those with memory problems and their carers.

The assessment includes formal neuropsychological testing in the form of structured questions and tasks. The experts may also carry out blood tests to look for medical causes.

The staff can offer counselling and support as well as treatment.

Are there other types of dementia?

Yes. These include Dementia with Lewy bodies, which gets its name from tiny structures that develop inside nerve cells, and which trigger the degeneration of brain tissue.

Other rarer causes of dementia include progressive supranuclear palsy, Korsakoff's syndrome, Binswanger's disease, HIV and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).

People with multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease can also be at an increased risk.

What treatment is available?

Various types of therapy are used to try to stimulate Alzheimer's patients.

These include: psychological methods, art therapy, music therapy, playing with toys.

Some health professionals try to encourage patients to reminisce about past memories as a way to reduce depression without the use of drugs.

A variety of drug treatments have been shown to benefit patients. None are a cure, but they can temporarily relieve some of the symptoms in some patients:

* Cholinesterase inhibitors including donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Reminyl) and rivastigmine (Exelon)
* NMDA receptor antagonist, namely memantine (Ebixa)
* Neuroleptics, also known as anti-psychotics or major tranquillisers - although these drugs are only used as a last resort when other methods have failed
* Antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs

Is there controversy over availability of drugs?

Most certainly. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) says that donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine should only be used to treat Alzheimer's once it has progressed to its moderate stages. Memantine is not recommended as an option for people with moderately severe to severe Alzheimer's disease unless it is being used as part of a clinical trial.

Campaigners argue patients in the early stages of Alzheimer's should also have access to the drugs.

This page contains basic information. If you are concerned about your health, you should consult a doctor. The Alzheimer's Society runs a helpline on 0845 300 0336 and further information is also available free from the Alzheimer's Research Trust on 01223 843899.

PET+BLOGSPOT is the official online blog of the Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association (Petpositive).

Our blog which was first established in October 2007 currently has more than 30,000 hits. Kindly take note that views expressed in this blog are not necessarily those of Petpositive.

You may also visit our Webpage by browsing: www.petpositive.com.my

Dissecting the budget 2010

Posted: 10 Nov 2009 12:06 AM PST









View From My Room

Posted: 09 Nov 2009 11:10 PM PST

View of Taman Pekaka Asia Hills and Bukit Jambul
Early morning view of Taman Pekaka, Asia Hills and Bukit Jambul from my bedroom window.

No matter how I tell myself that there is nothing left in Penang for me except memories, I am invariably drawn back to this little island that was home for forty years. How could I simply walk away from a place where I was born, grew up and spent almost an entire lifetime in? Try as I did, I still pine for those familiar places that were occasionally stirred up from my deepest memories.

I am glad I still have a home to go back to in Penang. I love the view from my bedroom window in Taman Pekaka. I could just sit there and look at the unfolding dusk as the sky turned from blue to orange to the colour of darkness. The sights of kids scampering in the playground, people playing soccer and joggers running around the field brought back memories of how Mum would lean on the window and look out from that exact spot. I wonder what she was thinking those times.

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Bold, Big-Hearted and Bald

Posted: 09 Nov 2009 10:58 PM PST

I'm so long lost from my blog it's ridiculous, even by my standards.

Add to that, I've gotten the sniffles! The weather in Penang has been rather erratic - warm like a bad oven with heat that reflects and scorches the skin in the day and then rain like pelting rocks at night. Which brings out the bad mozzies and of course, a bad case of the flu when I least need it!

Well, business has taken me away from my blogging. I suppose there's nothing like the last 2 months of the year to get people into the mode for getting their websites done or we've been extremely lucky in the past year. We've been inundated with orders, partnership opps and then some. Wow. (Actually we've been very fortunate over our abundance. That is something so gratifying. Gratifying that so many fans and friends and clients have been helping us to promote us!)

Can I get some peace and quiet now to plan out next year?

I suppose not.

Well, anyway… I need to announce this before it gets to be old news.

Remember I blogged about my brave friend, Nancy, who was shaving off her hair for the Dr Earl J. Gardner Fund (Penang Adventist Hospital)?

The 1 November Adventist Makan Shiok Shiok Carnival is well and truly over. In between my packing and stuff, I had to go cheer Nancy on.

But I got another huge SURPRISE!

I knew Josephine's husband, Andy, was working at Adventist and she did ask if I were going to be there. Josephine is one of those gal pals who makes me smile. She's one outrageously funny hot mama. And her five year old son, Chris, is one pinchable cutie pie.

When I ended up at the Jalan DS Ramanathan field (behind Adventist Hospital) two Sundays ago, Josephine told me SHE was going bald for charity too! And not only her but her cutie pie son and her husband too (he had hardly any hair to begin with).

And that, said Josephine, was HER surprise for me!

So there you go, a family who bravely went under the electric shavers for charity.

See their cute photos in this Sun article (yes, they were swarmed by reporters! This was such a good story that they'd be blind not to write about it!).

The short 'interview' on stage between Chris and his dad, Andy, was a wonderfully engaging touch! In fact, Chris inspired 2 other children to go bald too.

But Josephine is going one step further with her mission.

While this story is still "hot" like pisang goreng (to borrow a phrase from good friend Tze), Josephine offers her family's services to help promote/endorse/advertise ANY product for free, in exchange for a Tax-Exempted donation for this "Go bald for Charity 2009″.

If you are interested, all you need to do is email Nancy Ong {nancyong@pah.com.my} and she will put you in touch with Josephine and her family.

Also I'd like to take my hat off to Nancy who checked herself out of the hospital to get her head shaved. She was admitted to the ICU the night before due to some serious rashes. As she told me herself, her doctor wasn't too happy that she went ahead with her head-shaving on 1 November.

But I understand Nancy. How could she NOT do this when she got so much support from everyone else, especially from the top management of the Adventist Hospital who also got their heads shaved? It's about talking the talk and walking the talk.

Anyway, below is Josephine's message to everyone who wants to help out.

Dear Friends,

Our family shaved our heads today at Penang Adventist Hospital's Charity Event - "Go Bald for Charity 2009″.

We hope to raise as much funds as possible for needy patients in aid of Dr. J. Earl Gardner's Fund.

We were heartened to see two other young children shaving their heads to support this cause. They requested a on-the-spot shave after witnessing Christopher's "demo" on the stage.

The largest amount raised by a single person in the shaving team was Mr. Casey from Dell at a cool RM34,000. Kudos to him!!!

Thank you for your support.

Kind regards,
Jo Teh


Yes, the event may be over but you can still donate to the hospital. Please make cheques payable to:
Adventist Hospital & Clinic Services (M)

and send them to:
Nancy Ong Ai Hua
Development Manager
Penang Adventist Hospital
465 Jalan Burma
10350 Penang, Malaysia

To donate by other means, please contact Nancy at Tel: (+60 4) 222 7603 or E-mail: nancyong@pah.com.my

Maya's note: My personal thanks to fellow blogger friends who helped promote this event, especially Chen Chow!

Ucapan Perbahasan Belanjawan 2010 YB Nurul Izzah

Posted: 09 Nov 2009 10:30 PM PST

Ucapan Perbahasan Belanjawan YB Puan Nurul Izzah Anwar, Ahli Parlimen Lembah Pantai pada 3 November 2009

Tuan Yang di Pertua
Bagi mana-mana Menteri Kewangan, Bidang Pengukuran Prestasinya, atau Key Performance Indicator, dengan izin, adalah kejayaannya membentangkan satu belanjawan yang mampu menjana ekonomi negara. Justeru tidak hairanlah belanjawan sulung Menteri Kewangan selaku Perdana Menteri yang baru, begitu dinanti-nanti.
Malangnya, belanjawan sulung Perdana Menteri yang kononnya berasaskan satu model ekonomi baru ternyata menyimpang dan mengecewakan.
Kalau tidak masakan akhbar The Edge Financial Daily bertarikh 26 Oktober 2009 telah dengan terang mengkritik bahawa- "Bajet ini punyai defisit berterusan dan kesan penggandaan (multiplier effect) yang hambar ke atas perolehan keuntungan korporat. Tiada langkah radikal oleh kerajaan yang boleh menghasilkan kewujudan sebarang model ekonomi baru dalam masa pendek mahupun panjang. Bajet ini juga tidak menunjukkan bagaimana mahu mewujudkan sebuah masyarakat berpendapatan tinggi "(terjemahan).
Tuan Yang di Pertua
Halatuju dan Kelangsungan Belanjawan
Kekuatan sesuatu belanjawan adalah adanya halatuju jelas dan pelaksanaan mantap serta kelangsungan dasar dan program.
Pelaksanaan tentu tempang jikalau kuasa terlalu memusat pada Jabatan Perdana Menteri(JPM), di mana 52 agensi JPM merangkumi hampir kesemua kepentingan ekonomi politik (political economy interest). Implikasinya ialah pemusatan kuasa persekutuan.
Kalau dilihat dari proses perancangan pembangunan Malaysia, Menteri sepatutnya mendapatkan mandat daripada Parlimen, tapi apa yang berlaku adalah tugas kita hanyalah selaku 'rubber stamp' kepada belanjawan ini. Justeru Menteri mesti membuktikan sebaliknya –cadangan-cadangan dari ahli-ahli Parlimen Pakatan Rakyat mesti diambil kira.

Keakraban Institusi-institusi Negara dengan Kerajaan Persekutuan
Kritikan utama mengenai institusi-institusi di dalam negara kita adalah keakraban atau hubungan intim institusi-institusi seperti SPR, SUHAKAM dan SPRM dengan kerajaan persekutuan.
Kita sepatutnya bergerak ke arah suatu sistem yang boleh memastikan kebebasan badan-badan tersebut, dan ini adalah penting demi memartabatkan dan melindungi sistem demokrasi kita.
Langkah ini lebih kritikal memandangkan pendedahan yang dibuat oleh Ketua Pembangkang dalam sesi lepas tentang Unit Penyelarasan Pelaksanaan (ICU), di bawah Jabatan Perdana Menteri yang ditugaskan semata-mata untuk menjatuhkan kerajaan negeri Selangor pimpinan Pakatan Rakyat.

Tuan Yang di Pertua
Insititusi Polis – Apakah masalah sebenar?

Saya boleh beri contoh jelas bagaimana institusi polis di negara kita disalahgunakan oleh kerajaan dalam menghasut mereka membenci pembangkang.

Kita semua sedia maklum masalah peningkatan kadar jenayah yang merunsingkan semua pihak dan memberi kesan kepada tahap persaingan kita dengan ekonomi serantau.

Mengenai isu polis – bukanlah kami hendak bermusuh dengan mereka, tapi kelihatannya, setiap kali ada program melibatkan pembangkang, pasti ada masalah dengan pihak polis. Jadi kami ingin bertanya, apakah masalah sebenar?

Polis bertindak kasar terhadap pembangkang

Contohnya, suatu insiden yang saya sendiri menjadi saksi, berlaku pada malam Sabtu lepas (31 Oktober 2009), di mana saya telah mengadakan program majlis makan malam di Sri Sentosa, kawasan saya, yang rata-rata penduduknya adalah majoriti kaum Cina. Majlis bertujuan untuk mengutip dana bagi memberi bantuan kepada rakyat miskin dan Persatuan Ibu Tunggal Lembah Pantai.
Pada lebih kurang pukul 9 malam, tiba-tiba pihak polis yang diketuai OCPD dari IPD Brickfield telah menerpa naik ke pentas dan menghalang YB Tian Chua dari meneruskan ucapan dengan merampas mikrofon dari beliau. Polis juga telah merampas beratus-ratus naskah berita kawasan atau "Newsletter" kepunyaan Pusat Khidmat Ahli Parlimen Lembah Pantai. Usaha kami untuk mendapatkan semula barangan tersebut gagal. Saya percaya semua insiden ini bertujuan untuk menakut-nakutkan rakyat Lembah Pantai dan penyokong-penyokong serta para pegawai.
Program makan malam tersebut telah menurut peruntukan undang-undang sedia ada; permit DBKL dan permit polis telah diperolehi. Saya tidak faham mengapa pihak polis bertindak melampaui batas. Tindakan polis telah menimbulkan suasana tegang walaupun para hadirin kekal sopan dan matang.

Oleh kerana itu, saya pohon Yang Berhormat Menteri untuk merubah dasar –pastikan pihak polis bertindak professional –jangan bagi arahan yang anti pembangkang. Tugas utama jaga keselamatan awam, bukan memastikan kami melanggar permit hanya dengan menyebarkan risalah ataupun mengibarkan bendera parti.
Tuan Yang di Pertua
Pemusatan Kuasa oleh Kerajaan Persekutuan
Sekarang, dibawa kepada program pengumuman Perdana Menteri bahawa Kementerian Wilayah Persekutuan akan diperluas untuk membasmi kemiskinan bandar.
Saya setuju dengan kenaikan garis kemiskinan untuk memastikan kita mengambil kira bebanan rakyat bandar yang menunjukkan 56.8% daripada isirumah di negara ini yang berpendapatan seisirumah (household income) tidak melebihi RM3000, yang digelar sebagai miskin baru atau miskin bandar("new poor" or "urban poor").
Alhamdulillah, saranan ahli-ahli parlimen Pakatan Rakyat diambil kira setelah berbuih buih dinyatakan keperluan menaikkan paras garis kemiskinan untuk mengambil kira mereka yang hidup melarat di bandar-bandar.
Namun, persoalannya lagi adalah, kenapa perlu dipusatkan lagi tugas ini?
Kita sudah pun ada Skim Bantuan Persekutuan yang telah diseragamkan di bawah semua negeri-negeri bermula Januari 2009, jadi mengapa harus dipusatkan pula pembasmian kemiskinan ini di bawah Kementerian Wilayah Persekutuan?
Sepatutnya kerajaan menekankan prosedur – hapuskan birokrasi remeh, amalan rasuah, ketirisan, bantuan terpilih terutama atas dasar ideologi politik. Bantuan terpilih ini amat menjolok mata.
Salah guna kuasa Menteri Wilayah
Menteri Wilayah yang terbaru, sebelum menjadi menteri , dalam kapasiti beliau sebagai telah memberitahu saya di hadapan pegawai-pegawai DBKL tidak ada salah bagi UMNO mengedarkan borang perumahan dengan cap dan logo UMNO tertera dengan jelas di kawasan setinggan –di mana tidak ada jaminan pun pada waktu itu DBKL akan berikan perumahan –memandangkan kawasan tersebut tanah persendirian.
Malah beliau telah dengan angkuh membuat pengakuan di hadapan pegawai-pegawai DBKL bahawa adalah amalan biasa bagi mengedarkan permohonan perumahan yang mempunyai logo UMNO.
Saya gesa PM memandang serius dalam hal ini dan pastikan sebarang program bantuan rakyat miskin tidak tidak akan disalahgunakan untuk mendapat sokongan kepartian. Inilah yang saya sebut sebagai pelaksanaan tempang yang merugikan rakyat yang memerlukan.
Tuan Yang di Pertua
Kelangsungan projek-projek yang diluluskan di bawah Belanjawan
Belanjawan bijak amat berkait rapat dengan kesinambungan satu-satu program dan perancangan. Contoh nyata ialah program PPSMI. Sudahlah kita dikejutkan dengan jumlah yang telah dibelanjakan lebih RM3 billion, ianya gagal pula menggarap potensi anak-anak kita berbahasa Inggeris. Inilah akibat dari pelaksanaan gopoh tanpa kaji selidik yang rapi.
Hasilnya satu generasi telah sah dijadikan tikus makmal atau 'guinea pigs', dengan izin, dan ramai ibubapa yang trauma dengan dasar kerajaan yang berubah-ubah mengikut selera pemimpin. Bila pemimpin berubah, tidak kedengaran lagi Bluprint Pendidikan Nasional yang diwawarkan Perdana Menteri terdahulu. Tiada kesinambungan. Yang pasti RM 3 billion hangus begitu saja. Banyak dasar terdahulu dibelakangkan demi menonjolkan imej Perdana Menteri baru. Belanjawan yang banyak pula akan diperuntukkan bagi penjenamaan atau "rebranding", dengan izin, Perdana Menteri.
Ini terbukti apabila Dewan diberitahu bahawa sejumlah RM20 juta telah diperuntukkan kepada Apco Worldwide khusus untuk membaik pulih imej Perdana Menteri yang semuanya maklum tercalar teruk. Hampir keseluruhan ahli perunding Apco ini adalah perunding Yahudi dari Amerika Syarikat. Bagi menghalalkan kewujudan perunding Yahudi di dalam urusan kerajaan maka Apco telah membuka pejabat perniagaan pertamanya di Malaysia.
Perlu sangatkah wang ini dibelanjakan pada saat getir rakyat bergelut dengan krisis ekonomi yang sedang melanda? RM20 juta bukan sedikit dan banyak yang boleh dilakukan dengan duit sebanyak ini untuk membantu rakyat miskin. Namun demi membaiki imej Perdana Menteri, wang ini disapu konsultan Yahudi!!

Di mana sekolah-sekolah kluster sekarang?
Berbalik kepada isu kelangsungan: izinkan saya sentuh program sekolah kluster (kumpulan sekolah-sekolah cemerlang) yang menjadi strategi utama Bluprint Pendidikan Nasional yang mana sekolah-sekolah yang mencatat prestasi tinggi akan dijadikan pusat kecemerlangan.
Pada 2007, Menteri Pelajaran mensasarkan 300 sekolah kluster diwujudkan dan akan dijadikan anak angkat kepada 20 universiti pilihan. Apakah perkembangannya sekarang?
Peruntukan RM500, 000 setahun diberi kepada sekolah kluster yang mana wang tersebut sepatutnya boleh digunakan untuk meningkatkan infrastruktur dan mutu pembelajaran.
Persoalannya sekarang, di mana dia 300 sekolah kluster yang telah dikenalpasti dahulu? Atau 30 sekolah elit yang dijadikan perintis sekolah kluster ini? Berapa banyak yang telah dibelanjakan untuk projek ini? Apakah jaminan kementerian bahawa projek ini tidak akan menerima nasib seperti PPSMI?
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Projek PERMATA – bukankah kita sudah ada KEMAS?
Kalau adapun projek yang memperlihatkan kelansungan ialah projek Permata yang mula-mula diperkenalkan pada tahun 2006 yang mana isteri Perdana Menteri sendiri adalah Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Eksekutifnya. Bajet kali ini memperuntukkan RM100 juta tambahan kepada RM150 juta bila mula diperkenalkan. Projek2 lain tiba-tiba hilang dari peta Blueprint Pendidikan Nasional..!!
Saya juga melihat penganugerahan projek PERMATA ini seolah-olah menganak-tirikan Kemas (Jabatan Kemajuan Masyarakat) kepunyaan kerajaan sendiri. Kenapa tidak dipertingkatkan sahaja kurikulum Kemas yang ditubuhkan sejak tahun 1961 semata-mata untuk pembasmian buta huruf. Kemas ada pendidikan pra sekolah tabika –ini wang sejumlah 100 juta dibazirkan lagi –untuk projek penjenamaan isteri Perdana Menteri ?
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Teknologi Hijau dan Tenaga Boleh Diperbaharu-di mana Inovasi?
Belanjawan Perdana Menteri menegaskan bahawa inovasi merupakan agenda utama negara. Beliau begitu bersemangat bila menjanjikan satu proses transformasi dalam negara dan inovasi menyeluruh untuk lebih sebelas(11) sektor utama,
Kita tidak mahu wang yang diperuntukkan kepada kementerian hilang melalui rasuah: Malangnya, kita dimaklum melalui akhbar The Star, "Bekas Setiusaha Agung Kementerian Sains Teknologi dan Inovasi didakwa di mahkamah atas tuduhan rasuah berkaitan dengan kelulusan geran penyelidikan teknologi di Pulau Pinang berjumlah lebih RM10 juta." (terjemahan)
Oleh itu kerajaan perlu peka kepada aspek pelaksanaan dan pantauan yang berkesan perlu dilakukan bagi memastikan pembaziran tidak berlaku lagi.
Selain daripada pembaziran melalui ketirisan dan disiplin perbelanjaan yang begitu lemah –dibangkitkan oleh Menteri Kewangan Kedua iaitu Isu kehilangan sekurang-kurangnya 28 billion setahun-banyak lagi contoh yang dapat dilihat ; membuktikan bahawa dengan tiadanya pengurusan cekap dan baik atau 'good governance', dengan izin, setakat itulah kita akan berhadapan dengan bencana.
Memang kita bertuah kerana Malaysia banyak sumber asli kurniaan Ilahi. Namun menurut laporan ekonomi 2009/10, rizab minyak mentah negara dianggar akan bertahan selama 22 tahun sahaja lagi berdasarkan pengeluaran semasa.
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Pembaziran khazanah negara yang luarbiasa
Saya difahamkan bahawa berdasarkan pengeluaran semasa, bekalan cukup untuk kegunaan negara. Namun, laporan berita Reuters pada bulan Jun 2009 mendedahkan bahawa Petronas telah mengikat perjanjian untuk menjual 3.03 juta tan gas asli (LNG) setahun ke Shanghai LNG Co. untuk jangkamasa 25 tahun bermula 2009. YAB Timbalan Perdana Menteri sendiri mengaku bahawa kerajaan rugi berbilion-bilion ringgit dari perlaburan asing disebabkan komitment kita kepada jualan jangka masa panjang, termasuklah kerugian RM6 bilion di Pulau Pinang seperti yang disebut YB Bagan, Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang.
Gas dan petroleum kita adalah sumber yang akan habis lambat laun, 'a depleting source', dengan izin.
Bila kita eksport ke luar, ianya berdasarkan harga yang tetap dan tidak berubah dalam jangka masa panjang. Jadi bila harga minyak melonjak naik, kita tidak mendapat keuntungan.
Persoalannya, mengapa kita masih mengikat kontrak selama 25 tahun- sedangkan kita terpaksa mengimpot gas dari Indonesia? Malah 19% dari keperluan domestik gas negara dibeli dari Indonesia? Mengapa kita masih lagi mengekspot gas ke Korea dan Taiwan melalui pelabuhan Bintulu, walhal ada keperluan gas ini disalurkan untuk kegunaan Negara?

Keuntungan hanya diraih pihak-pihak tertentu
Keuntungan ekspot ini diraih oleh golongan tertentu-, lebih dahsyat lagi- pada masa yang sama, Petronas memberi subsidi yang sangat tinggi kepada golongan ini iaitu penjana-penjana bebas (IPPs). Pada tahun 2009, jumlah subsidi yang ditanggung oleh Petronas bernilai RM19.5 bilion, dan 2008, RM19.7 bilion subsidi diberikan, tetapi kita membeli gas di harga pasaran!
Mana logiknya?
Tambahan lagi, tahukah ahli-ahli parlimen sekalian, sistem PGU(Peninsular Gas Utilization) dengan aliran paip dari Kertih hinggalah ke Johor Bahru adalah suatu pembaziran yang luar biasa oleh kerajaan kerana membelanjakan lebih RM11.5 bilion untuk pembinaan system, tapi kedengaran tiada gas yang disalur! Jadi saya mahu jawapan dari kementerian berdasarkan pasaran sekarang, apakah kehilangan peluang yang ditanggung oleh Petronas dengan ikatan kontrak tersebut?
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Kumpulan Wang Amanah Negara – simpanan wang yang dikikis oleh kerajaan pusat
Tahukah hadirin semua, bahawa sejak PGU disiapkan pada tahun 1998, berapa banyak tabungan yang disimpan untuk generasi masa depan melalui Tabung Kumpulan Wang Amanah Negara? Mengikut jawapan yang diberikan dalam Parlimen, pengiraan dalam bulan Disember 2006, terdapat hanya RM3, 785 juta yang tinggal!
Lihat Norway, di mana mereka juga mempunyai suatu tabung yang dipanggil Tabung Pencen Kerajaan (government pension fund) yang ditubuhkan pada tahun 1990, setelah kejatuhan harga minyak antarabangsa pada tahun 1986. Sehingga kini, tabung itu sudah menyimpan lebih $350 bilion wang mereka. Wang ini tidak boleh disentuh dan suatu akta dibuat khas untuk melindungi wang tersebut, malah 'Statoil', syarikat petroleum kepunyaan Negara Norway, tidak dibenarkan mempunyai lebih 3% dari sebarang saham mana-mana syarikat supaya tidak mempengaruhi keputusan atau tindak tanduk syarikat berkenaan.
Mengapa kita tidak boleh ikut contoh Norway?
Kerana itulah laporan terperinci Petronas ini perlu diberikan kepada Parlimen. Kerana kita bercakap tentang khazanah Negara seperti yang termaktub dalam Akta Pembangunan Petronas. Saya nak ingatkan Perdana Menteri akta ini bukan merangkumi hanya pilihan Perdana Menteri untuk memutuskan siapa yang akan menjadi Pengarah Petronas, tetapi rasional keputusan yang dibuat yang perlu bertumpu kepada keuntungan yang dijana untuk Negara.
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Monopoli oleh YTL
Berbalik kepada penjana-penjana bebas, IPP.
Jadi di mana pendirian kerajaan di dalam hal subsidi kepada IPP?
Berdasarkan PPA(Power Purchase Agreement) bersama YTL yang dianugerahkan pada Oktober 1994, sepatutnya ia berlarutan 21 tahun –ada lima tahun lagi sebelum perjanjian ini tamat. Pada Februari tahun ini, YB Menteri Kementerian Tenaga, Teknologi Hijau dan Air (KeTTHA) menyatakan kemungkinan perjanjian ini dikaji semula. Tetapi dalam pertanyaan saya minggu lepas, tiada jawapan pun diberikan.
Bilakah kerajaan mahu menamatkan subsidi ini? Saya menunggu keikhlasan keluhan Perdana Menteri sewaktu di bangunan TNB–yang konon nya bercakap tentang masalah IPP – jadi sekarang tunggu apa lagi –tamatkan kontrak pembaziran sebelum rakyat menyoal PM lagi!
Akta Persaingan – hanya cakap semata-mata
Tidak ada guna bercakap tentang Rang Undang-undang Akta Persaingan bila kerajaan sendiri membuat perjanjian yang merugikan Negara dan hanya menguntungkan segelintir individu.
Langkah pertama, pastikan bila ada ruang, tamatkan perjanjian ini. Bolehkah kerajaan membuktikan bahawa mereka benar-benar membela rakyat dan buat pertama kali dalam sejarah membelakangkan monopoli penjana-penjana bebas, IPP, oleh individu-individu tertentu ini?
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Lagi monopoli YTL
Kalau ramai yang menyangka monopoli YTL ini hanya dalam bidang subsidi IPP, anda salah.
Saya ingin bawa perhatian semua di sini, tentang penjanaan tenaga alternatif dan boleh diperbaharu. Dalam 'energy mix', tenaga boleh diperbaharu didahulukan sebelum tenaga nuklear, namun tidak ada usaha serius dari pihak kerajaan untuk menjana "KEUNTUNGAN" daripada tenaga boleh diperbaharu.
Kerajaan sudah tentu peka dengan Protokol Kyoto yang menggariskan mekanisma pembangunan bersih atau 'Clean Development Mechanism' (CDM), dengan izin, yang membolehkan negara-negara membangun layak menjual kredit karbon, (Certified Emission Reductions, CER) dalam pasaran komoditi global bila mereka mengurangkan pembuangan sisa bahaya dan pencemaran alam sekitar serta merendahkan 'greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions'.
Kita merupakan minyak sawit adalah potensi yang sangat besar di Malaysia, dan paradigma kini sudah berubah, daripada pengeluar sisa buangan kepada sebuah sektor yang akan menggunakan sisa tersebut. Industri sawit mempunyai potensi yang meluas dalam banyak bidang dan ianya perlu dimanfaatkan sepenuhnya. Sisa kilang sawit boleh mendatangkan hasil dalam sistem olahan bersepadu kerana pasaran carbon credit dan tenaga yang diperbaharui.
Tetapi dalam belanjawan hanya ada pengstrukturan semula Pusat Tenaga Malaysia kepada Pusat Teknologi Hijau, dan inilah yang saya katakana tadi, lagi-lagi perubahan penjenamaan, serta perancangan pameran kesedaran tentang alam sekitar.
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Mengapa kerajaan tidak mahu membantu syarikat-syarikat lain?
Laporan oleh Aseam Bankers Malaysia Bhd tahun lepas menyatakan bahawa Pusat Tenaga Malaysia telah membuat anggaran bahawa Malaysia mempunyai kredit karbon mencecah 100 juta tan di antara tahun 2006 dan 2010, yang akan mendatangkan hasil keuntungan RM4.8 bilion untuk negara.
Rakyat tentunya akan menyokong bila mereka melihat keuntungan yang dijana bila kita memelihara serta memulihara persekitaran alam sekitar –iaitu melalui penjualan kredit karbon
Kita hanya boleh menjual sehingga tahun 2012 bila protokol ini tamat dan dalam belanjawan tetapi tiada apa-apa perancangan untuk menjual kredit karbon. Malah, pada tahun 2007, hanya terdapat 18 syarikat berdaftar untuk menjual beli kredit karbon.
Dan saya kembali kepada monopoli syarikat YTL. Pada bulan Mei 2008, YTL Corp. telah membeli 'majority stake' dalam syarikat SV Carbon dengan mengambil nama baru YTL-SV Carbon, yang dijangka akan mengendalikan 1,000 projek dalam jangkamasa 3 tahun untuk perniagaan kredit karbon ini.
Buat pengetahuan semua, SV carbon adalah satu syarikat yang dimulakan oleh seorang dari Denmark, bernama Soeren Varming, seorang teknokrat. YTL telah membeli majority stake dalam SV carbon kerana melihat potensi ini.

Tetapi malangnya, pada masa ini, SV carbon tidak berkeupayaan untuk menjana projek tersebut kerana tidak benar-benar memahami aspek kredit karbon ini.

Jadi persoalannya, apakah status insentif yang diberikan kepada syarikat-syarikat yang terlibat dengan CDM?

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Kerajaan janganlah kasihkan syarikat-syarikat besar sahaja

Syor saya adalah supaya kerajaan memberi insentif untuk syarikat-syarikat yang sudah sedia ada untuk memantapkan pengetahuan serta membantu mereka, kerana mereka terpaksa dikenakan peraturan dan 'evaluation' yang ketat di bawah CDM sebelum dapat memasuki pasaran kredit karbon ini. Sudahlah PPA 'Power Purchase Agreement' memesongkan pasaran tenaga, justeru memberi kesukaran kepada syarikat-syarikat tenaga boleh diperbaharu sedia ada daripada membangunkan industri ini, ini, syarikat-syarikat yang sudah sedia ada pun tidak dibantu, malah membuat perkara yang serupa dengan berkomplot dengan syarikat besar sahaja.

Tahukah semua bahawa pakar industri memberitahu bahawa Malaysia mempunyai rekod yang rendah dalam pemasaran projek CDM ini kerana sistem yang digunapakai di Malaysia tidak pro aktif dan lemah tanpa sasaran kelulusan yang tertentu. Jawatankuasa tidak mempunyai jadual bersidang dan banyak projek tidak sempat di bincangkan atas kesuntukan masa.
Buat masa ini, China yang jauh ke depan dengan 47% dari kesemua projek CDM sudah didaftarkan, diikuti oleh India (35%), manakala Malaysia hanya 4%.
Kesedaran rakyat akan datang apabila mereka sendiri merasainya
Cuba bayangkan sekiranya syarikat-syarikat ini boleh beroperasi di kawasan pedalaman dan kampung-kampung, betapa ramai rakyat yang akan beroleh keuntungan? Ini yang akan membawa kesedaran kepada orang awam, yakni apabila mereka sendiri merasakan faedah dan hasil keuntungan yang datang dari teknologi hijau.
Tidak perlulah kerajaan membelanjakan sehingga 20 juta ringgit untuk mempromosikan teknologi hijau melalui pameran antarabangsa pada April 2010 hanya untuk menarik syarikat dunia. Rakyat yang taraf hidup mereka berubah dan bebas kemiskinan akan dengan sendiri menghargai budaya hidup mesra alam.

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Meraih keuntungan dengan terlalu mudah

Masalah dasar, sekali lagi berbalik kepada keuntungan. Seperti mana yang saya sebut pada hari Khamis, 23 Oktober 2009, para pengeluar tenaga tidak akan beralih atau mengambil insentif lain mengambil serius tenaga alternatif dan tenaga hijau apabila keuntungan diraih dengan begitu mudah, menggunakan tenaga arang batu dan gas.

Jika kerajaan tidak menukar dasar pemberian subsidi minyak dab gas, maka tidak akan ada pasaran domestik bagi syarikat pengeluar dan pengguna teknologi hijau. Di sini, sekiranya kerajaan serius, garis dasar yang jelas mesti dibuat.

YTL lagi?

YTL – SV carbon bukanlah syarikat ulung dalam industri karbon kredit dan tidak berhak kepada sebarang monopoli pasaran dalam negara.

Saya berharap, tindakan yang keras juga diambil terhadap 3 daripada 4 syarikat penerima lesen WIMAX yang gagal memberikan perkhidmatan. Yang jelas, YTL juga terlibat kerana gagal melaksanakan 'roll out' akhir Mac tahun ini.

DIsaman 1.9 juta ringgit, itupun masih lagi tak mahu bayar, malah mahu merayu keputusan! Berbilion billion ringgit dah untung, dah buat salah masih tidak mahu mengaku.

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Justeru, saya berharap kerajaan mengambil serius isu-isu yang telah dibangkitkan. Model ekonomi baru yang diwarwarkan perlu mengambil kira reformasi struktur yang sudah sedia ada.

Belanjawan yang hanya bercakap tentang inovasi tetapi masalah pokok, iaitu rintangan yang dihadapi oleh syarikat syarikat berskala kecil dan sederhana dengan kewujudan 'power purchase agreement' tidak diselesaikan.

Belanjawan ini hambar, hanya kaya dengan retorik dan penjenamaan. Tiba masanya kerajaan ambil langkah yang serius, terimalah cadangan dari ahli-ahli parlimen Pakatan Rakyat , demi memanfaatkan rakyat terbanyak –nak guna label 1 malaysia pun silakan, yang penting dasar untuk rakyat bukan selaku alat politik mana-mana pimpinan.

Harus diingat, rakyat Malaysia telah menjalani proses pematangan politik. Rakyat mahukan Belanjawan yang mampu membawa kesejahteraan kepada rakyat marhaen demi masa depan generasi akan datang. Gagalnya Menteri Kewangan membentangkan satu Belanjawan yang mampu memberi nafas baru kepada rakyat adalah akibat dari kegagalan Menteri menilai kemampuan dan tahap sebenar pencapaian kita. Dalam erti kata lain, gagal menilai dan muhasabah. Justeru, slogan Pencapaian diutamakan, Rakyat Didahulukan akan hanya menjadi bahan jenaka pihak kawan mahupun lawan.. !!

Sekian. Saya tidak menyokong belanjawan yang dibentangkan.

My Birthday Celebration & Updates from Hong Kong

Posted: 09 Nov 2009 09:31 PM PST

Guys, been neglecting my blog for a bit. Last week practically a busy week for me.

Attended the Asia launch of LG latest Chocolate phone, BL40 at Four Seasons, Hong Kong. Met up with some Malaysian medias & also my ex-colleague, Nicole. The launch was the best LG launch that I had attended so far. It was somehow glamorous for a launch to be decorated with global celebrities like Chi-ling Lin & Nadya Hutagalung.

The press kit given was very well done with an USB drive containing the soft copy of it & product images making updating the blog easier than before.

After the launch, went out with ex-colleague for a shopping & makan around in Hong Kong, good to catch up with Malaysian friends.

Then came my birthday which is a working day for me. My day started at client's office for a meeting then at night my sis arranged a hotpot dinner for me together with some of her colleagues, thanks Sis, Aileen, Jenny, Brian & Allison! The dinner was great!

Then Jenny popped up a suggestion of going to karaoke since it was my birthday, everyone was too shocked to response to her suggestion. Jenny looks like in her 40s but she rocks! Then we decided to go down town to Mongkok Redbox, it was hell of a night thanks to the beer. Thanks people for making it something for me to remember here in Hong Kong.

And not forgetting too, the wishes which I personally thanked each & every one left on my Facebook, SMS & Twitter. So it's back to work again for me, I plan to get it done as soon as possible and if everything is on track, I will be meeting up with my friends in Thailand for a short holiday before I head back to Malaysia.

Jolly time over, back to serious business now! :)

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