Friday, July 9, 2010

TI-M Press Statement: Statement on Contract Award to PLUS

TI-M Press Statement: Statement on Contract Award to PLUS


TI-M Press Statement: Statement on Contract Award to PLUS

Posted: 09 Jul 2010 05:44 AM PDT

Another one, if cannot find this in our local press:

PRESS RELEASE

9 July 2010

Statement on Contract Award to PLUS



TI-M calls on the government to implement the key initiatives identified by PEMANDU to improve
transparency and accountability, specifically to disclose details of procurement contracts. The details
of all concession contracts are of interest to all Malaysians as they involve public funds and costs to
the public. TI-M calls for the disclosures of all concession contracts; the government, if it has the
political will, should be able to disclose publicly all contracts either by providing for disclosure in the
contracts or getting the contractors to agree to disclosure. Since this contract seems to require public
funds and Government support and the public will be paying tolls, the contract should be awarded by
open tender or some other means to ensure that the contract is, at the minimum, competitively priced.


About Transparency International - Malaysia
Transparency International – Malaysia is an accredited chapter of Berlin based Transparency
International. It is a non-governmental organization to counter corruption nationally as well as
internationally.


Our mission is to curb corruption through international and national coalitions encouraging
governments to establish and implement effective laws, policies and anti-corruption programmes. We
strive to strengthen public support and understanding for anti-corruption programmes and enhance
public transparency and accountability in international business transactions and in the administration of public and private procurement.


Issued by :


Datuk Paul Low
President
Transparency International – Malaysia


TI-M Press Release: Statement on Appointment of Selangor Local Councilors

Posted: 09 Jul 2010 05:45 AM PDT

If you do not find this is the press.

 
PRESS RELEASE

9 July 2010
 
Statement on Appointment of Selangor Local Councilors



TI-M applauds the Selangor Government for allocating state Local Council seats to representatives of
NGOs. This represents an important step in allowing the voices of the people's representatives to be
heard at the local level. We however view with concern the delay in naming of new local councilors.

TI-M believes that this process should be done in a transparent manner, and calls on the Selangor
government to engage with and seek the views of ratepayers before naming new councilors.
Countries such as Bangladesh have adopted a Report Card model that allows ratepayers to rate the
performance of councilors. TI-M suggests that details of new councilors be made available to the
people and their views taken into account before appointments are made.

This will help in ensuring that the most important stakeholder in this exercise, the ratepayer, is
involved in the selection process.

About Transparency International - Malaysia
Transparency International – Malaysia is an accredited chapter of Berlin based Transparency
International. It is a non-governmental organization to counter corruption nationally as well as
internationally.
 

Our mission is to curb corruption through international and national coalitions encouraging
governments to establish and implement effective laws, policies and anti-corruption programmes. We
strive to strengthen public support and understanding for anti-corruption programmes and enhance
public transparency and accountability in international business transactions and in the administration of public and private procurement.
 

Issued by :
Datuk Paul Low
President
Transparency International – Malaysia


Don’t worry, Russia will support again if your country commit another genocide !

Posted: 09 Jul 2010 03:55 AM PDT

A government supporter places flowers and placards at the Russian embassy in Colombo, expressing gratitude for Russia's support against a United Nations war crimes panel, July 9, 2010. – Reuters pic



Seven soldiers jailed for ragging another to death

Posted: 09 Jul 2010 03:42 AM PDT

Seven soldiers from the Royal Malay Regiment (RAMD) were jailed for seven years each by the High Court in Kuala Lumpur today, after they pleaded guilty to an alternative charge of causing the death of another from the regiment at the Sungai Besi army camp two years ago. Judge Mohd Sofian Abdul Razak said the court could not accept any excuse for the accused to engage in ragging, causing the loss of an innocent life and a beloved member for the family.

He ordered all the seven soldiers to serve their jail sentence from the dates of their arrest. They are privates Mahazir Hamad, 26, Mohd Azman Jabri, 26, Shahrin Mat Rabu, 28, Mohd Khairi Abdullah, 28, Syabramallisi Shahidan, 28, Mohd Bukhari Shawal, 25, and Mazlan Awang Ngah, 26.

They were arrested on different dates within a week of the death of Mohd Shahrizal Mohd Shaffie, 27, in April 2008. The seven had appeared before a magistrate's court on April 22, 2008, on a murder charge but pleaded guilty yesterday when the prosecution offered them an alternative charge. They were accused of killing Shahrizal at the Detention Room of Unit 1, RAMD, Sungai Besi cam, between 11pm on April 5 and 1pm on April 6, 2008.

According to the facts of the case, the victim was beaten, punched and kicked on April 5, 2008, and assaulted similarly the next day. One of the accused had also stepped on Shahrizal's back with his spiked boot until the victim urinated. They only stopped assaulting him after being cautioned by a guard and Shahrizal was rushed to the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Hospital, where he was confirmed dead.

The alternative charge under Section 304(b) carries a jail term of up to 10 years or a fine, or both. The prosecution had called 11 witnesses before the seven accused were offered the alternative charge. Mohd Sofian rejected the defence counsel's contention that their actions were due to their inability to adapt themselves to the RAMD, although they had been there four to six years.

"To me, RAMD has a glorious history and was the first regiment established before World War II and all of you should be proud to serve RAMD," he said. The judge said ragging was not the way to go against the RAMD's regulations or a way out of the unit.

"I understand that during your service (of the seven accused), some of you had received awards and medals, but all these are meaningless now because of your actions," Justice Sofian added before passing sentence. - Bernama. Source: Malaysiakini


SELAMAT HARI JADI, TUN DR M!

Posted: 09 Jul 2010 03:14 AM PDT

My heartiest congratulations to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who turns 85 on July 10, 2010. Syukur Alhamdulillah for the good health bestowed upon him by Allah, and may he stay that way.


I first shook hands with him in 1984 during at Angkasapuri. I still keep the photo. The last was during Hari Raya Aidilfitri at his residence three years ago.

For all the good things he had done for Malaysia during his tenure as Prime Minister, I would like to say Thank You. For the 'not so good' ones, I take it as an err by human (he is not an angel) but I personally believe he never meant to put Malaysians under hardship.

He has tried his best for the country, Umno and Barisan Nasional. The developing countries, especially of the South, still very much remember 'Mahathir' when we tell them that we are from Malaysia.

The legacy of this true statesman will live forever. To those who dont quite like him, better think who has been Malaysia's best prime minister ever...

SELAMAT HARI JADI, TUN...

also read Mahathir turns 85: achievements and gallery


"1Malaysia" Gagal

Posted: 09 Jul 2010 02:47 AM PDT

Merdeka Center: 1 Malaysia tidak popular kalangan bukan Bumiputera

Konsep 1 Malaysia yang disandarkan kepimpinan Datuk Seri Najib Razak tidak popular di kalangan bukan Bumiputera sambil mereka menganggap ia hanya satu usaha Barisan Nasional (BN) mahu memikat sokongan bukan Melayu.

Penemuan terbaru firma kajian pendapat umum, Merdeka Center menunjukkan hanya 39 peratus masyarakat bukan Bumiputera menerima konsep 1 Malaysia walaupun sudah lebih setahun diperkenalkan.

"Sementara 46 peratus mendapati ia (konsep 1 Malaysia) hanya satu taktik untuk memenangi sokongan politik bukan Melayu manakala 16 peratus mengatakan mereka tidak mengetahuinya atau enggan menjawab soalan ini," kata Pengarah Eksekutif Merdeka Center, Ibrahim Suffian dalam kenyataan dikeluarkan hari ini.

Konsep 1Malaysia diperkenalkan oleh Najib sebagai gagasan pentadbirannya 15 bulan yang lalu.

Najib mengangkat sumpah sebagai perdana menteri keenam awal April 2009.

Kajian ini dikendalikan antara 21 Jan dan 26 April lalu untuk mendapatkan pandangan rakyat mengenai soal perpaduan nasional, integriti, penyertaan demokratik dan tindakan afirmatif.

Berhubung pandangan mengenai arah tuju perpaduan nasional, Ibrahim berkata, rakyat Malaysia melahirkan pandangan berbelah bahagi.

Seramai 48 peratus responden yang ditermui berpendapat bahawa negara menjadi semakin bersatu manakala 43 peratus berpandangan Malaysia berada dalam kedudukan sebaliknya.

Kajian itu juga menunjukkan pertelingkahan keterlaluan di kalangan ahli-ahli politik dan parti-parti politik merupakan antara sebab utama hubungan antara kaum semakin buruk.

Pandangan itu dipersetujui oleh kira-kira 13 peratus responden manakala sembilan peratus mengatakan ia berpunca daripada kurangnya persefahaman dan sikap hormat-menghormati kaum lain.

Seramai 3,141 orang dewasa berusia antara 19 tahun dan ke atas dari Semenanjung, Sabah dan Sarawak ditemu bual oleh Merdeka Center.

Daripada jumlah itu 51 peratus merupakan orang Melayu, 26 peratus Cina, India (tujuh peratus), Bumiputera Islam (sembilan peratus) dan bukan Bumiputera Islam (tujuh peratus).

Pada Mac lalu, Jabatan Penerangan mendapati rakyat keseluruhan tahu kewujudan konsep 1 Malaysia tetapi masih belum mencapai kefahaman penuh tentang konsepnya.

Kajian yang dibuat jabatan itu mendapati 80 peratus daripada rakyat negara ini mengetahui berkenaan 1 Malaysia namun penjelasan mereka tidak menggambarkan pemahaman penuh berkenaan intipati gagasan itu.

"Jadi tahun ini kita akan meneruskan lagi usaha untuk memberi penjelasan tentang konsep 1 Malaysia dan bagaimana rakyat dari segenap lapisan masyarakat dapat menghayatinya secara lebih mendalam lagi," kata Ketua Pengarah Penerangan Datuk Abdullah Morad. -TMI


Perpaduan: Kajian mendapati ada 2Malaysia

Kajian terbaru yang dijalankan oleh Merdeka Centre mendedahkan apa yang sebenarnya bukan lagi rahsia - kumpulan bangsa-bangsa lain di Malaysia tidak sependapat berhubung dasar-dasar kerajaan.

Sebahagian besar orang Melayu didapati menyokong polisi pro-bumiputera manakala kebanyakan masyarakat bukan Melayu pula sangsi dengan konsep 1Malaysia yang dicanangkan oleh Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Dalam kajian itu, sejumlah 2,104 orang Melayu dan bumiputera diminta memilih daripada dua kenyatan yang paling hampir mengambarkan pendapat mereka.

- Melayu/bumiputera memerlukan bantuan agar mereka dapat maju ke depan, jadi program seperti DEB dialu-alukan (72 peratus menyokong kenyataan ini).

- Bantuan seperti DEB tidak menolong Melayu/bumiputera dalam jangka panjang dan membuat mereka lebih bergantung kepada kerajaan (21 peratus).

Majoriti (59 peratus) responden Melayu dan bumiputera percaya sebagai 'bangsa asli negara ini, Melayu dan bumiputera perlu diberikan hak khas dan keistimewaan".

Pada masa yang sama, hanya 40 peratus responden berhubung soalan yang sama menyokong kenyataan "semua rakyat perlu diberikan hak yang sama di negara ini tanpa mengira latar belakang kaum dan agama".

Soalan berhubung DEB adalah hanya untuk dijawap oleh responden Melayu/bumiputera manakala responden bukan Melayu/bumiputera ditanya senarai soalan lain berhubung 1Malaysia.

Sebahagian besar responden bukan bumiputera tidak yakin denagn kempen 1Malaysia yang ditaja Najib sebagai jambatan untuk menghubungkan pelnbagai bangsa di negara ini demi memupuk perpaduan nasional.

Daripada 1,036 bukan bumiputera yang dibanci, 46 peratus yakin 1Malaysia hanya "agenda politik untuk memancing undi bukan Melayu".

Hanya 39 peratus responden bukan bumiputera berpendapat 1Malaysia adalah "usaha ikhlas untuk mentaukan semua bangsa di Malaysia".

Sejumlah 16 peratus responden memilih tidak tahu atau tiadak rspon kepada soalan berkenaan.

Kajian ini juga membuktikan bahawa bukan bumiputera masih tidak yakin kerajaan BN yang diterajui Umno bersedia menjalinkan hubungan antara kaum yang lebih erat.

Ia juga mencadangkan bahawa Model Baru Ekonomi (MBE) dan konsep 1Malaysia yang dipelopori najib sukar diterima oleh penduduk pelbagai kaum di negara ini.-MK



Curing with human touch and affection

Posted: 09 Jul 2010 02:04 AM PDT

Ever since I got to know about healthcare and medicine, it has always been about money. I can still remember how my uncles and aunties used to complain about public hospitals and clinics having bad services, saying even just to get a smile from the nurses or the doctors is rare.

On the other hand, private hospitals provide pretty much good healthcare and services, but we all know that in return the expenses are not something that most of the people won't have second thoughts about.

However, my example regarding healthcare services changed recently when I was stationed at Mardi Waluyo Hospital Metro in Lampung, Indonesia. Mardi Waluyo Hospital is a private hospital under Christian Welfare for Public Healthcare.

This is the first time that I have come across a philosophy of having a private hospital not for business or some sort of investment, but purely for serving the people. The rate offered to the patients is just to get them back the money to run the hospital as it is.

You can just imagine, it cost you only IDR50,000 (RM20) for a circumcision by a surgeon. The same rate for ultrasonography check-up by the obstetrician and consultation for an internist. They also have a programme called Gakin ('keluarga miskin' or poor family). People can just request this status at the administration without any terms and conditions, and they will try to cut the cost of the medical services.

I was touched by their daily reminder to the staff about 'love and caring', 'work is worship', 'cure with touch and affection'. I can never forget the advice I got from my mentors about not to think about money in this holy service.

I have never come across a single nurse who shows anger towards patients, that even I cannot stand sometimes. I have seen how my surgeon consultant, Dr Paran Bagionoto wrote 'Operasi Dr Paran gratis' (my operation fee is free) on his prescriptions. So my obstetrician and intern consultant did the same thing whenever their patients were moaning about their financial problems.

We were occasionally told that 'people came here with hope, never charged them till they go homeless'. One time, I saw a patient come here with tumours in her mandibula (jaw bone). The cost for her to undergo surgery in Jakarta would have been IDR40 million (RM20,000), something she could not afford.

But the surgeon here offered to do the mandibula resection and platting for just IDR4 million (RM2,000). This is amazing. Not surprisingly, the number of patients here is growing. That's because they know, here they can get good services with a low price.

Nevertheless, this hospital has one shortcoming – the facilities are not advanced enough. Yet, people still come here. It is true that humans are the real asset in healthcare and people come here for the service and love.

So the management are doing their best to raise money to upgrade their facilities through charity and donations. There are new buildings undergoing construction and they are facing deficits. If only there are people out there that care enough for good deeds, I would like them to come here and see with the services here with their own eyes – and then help them financially or in any other way that matter.

People say that in receiving medical care, you have to choose between 'expensive and caring' or 'cheap and ignorant'. Here, they managed to make caring and cheap into a package. Wise people say that 'health is an investment', and that is absolutely true.

However, there are a lot of people out there who mistakenly think that 'healthcare is an investment'.

SOURCE: Malaysiakini letter, "Curing with human touch and affection" by Nadeem a Malaysian medical student in training.



Seven soldiers jailed for ragging another to death

Posted: 09 Jul 2010 01:56 AM PDT

Seven soldiers from the Royal Malay Regiment (RAMD) were each sentenced to seven years' jail by the Kuala Lumpur High Court today, after they pleaded guilty to an alternative charge of causing the death of another from the unit two years ago at the Sungai Besi army camp.

Judge Mohd Sofian Abdul Razak said the court could not accept any excuse for the accused to engage in ragging, causing the loss of an innocent life and the victim's family a beloved member.

SOURCE: Seven soldiers jailed for ragging another to death



BE ON GUARD!

Posted: 09 Jul 2010 01:15 AM PDT

In late January this year, I wrote a post called PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE - A Brief Perspective which generated quite a bit of discussion. With the current trends in reporting as seen in various MSM and online news portal, I am compelled to address this issue again. Malaysians, we are living in very challenging times indeed. There IS a psychological battle that is intensifying because of the many pressing issues that have no answers and also because of the fact that the rakyat are fast being awakened to the grim reality of the political landscape. What do we do then? Be on guard!


For a start, please refer to THIS ARTICLE from The Malaysian Insider which says that majority of Malaysians feel powerless. Consider the following excerpt from the post:

A disconnect between the government and the public has resulted in a majority of Malaysians feeling powerless in bringing about change in the country, a new poll of voters has found.

A recent survey by the independent Merdeka Center showed that the majority of Malaysians felt that they were incapable of bringing positive reforms to the country.

According to the survey conducted from January to April this year, 66 per cent of some 3,000 respondents believed that they had no say over issues raised in the survey.

Issues touched on by the survey included those such as national unity, integrity, democratic participation, and affirmative action.

The outcome of the survey suggests that the Najib administration has yet to effectively convince the public on its key policies.


Well, as mentioned in previous posts, in any research we have to question the reliability, validity and representativeness of the findings.

A few questions that I want to raise:

1. How come the study that was conducted from January to April this year only succeeded in interviewing 3000 respondents?

Assuming that the interviewers worked a 5 day week, it means that there were about 76 working days (I gave allowances for public holidays).

3000 divided by 76 working days = 40 respondents a day.

How many interviewers did they have for the survey?

Why was it stretched over such a long period of time?

The responses of the interviewees would definitely reflect the current events of whichever period they were questioned.

2. Three thousand respondents from a total population of 27 MILLION Malaysians is only 0.01% of the population.

3000/27 000 000 x 100% = 0.01%

So can the results from 0.01% of the population be used to conclude that "a majority of Malaysians feeling powerless in bringing about change in the country, a new poll of voters has found"?

3. We have absolutely no idea with regards to the following:

a) Interview method used i.e face-to-face questioning or postal questionnaires or telephone interviews

b) Background of interviewer especially their experience in interviewing

c) Biodata, gender/age/race distribution of the respondents

d) Geographical distribution of the respondents

e) We also have no idea as to whether it is the SAME group of respondents that they have used for previous studies

f) The motive of the research including the hypothesis

g) The sponsor for the research - We also have no idea and this is so important because it would definitely have a bearing on the way questions are framed, asked and how the results are tabulated or presented.

h) We also have no record as to the length of each interview. A difference in the time taken or a lack of standardization would also affect the results.

i) What about the research methods used for the questions? E.g. open-ended or close-ended questioning? If open-ended questioning, what is the time limit for the responses? If it is not standardized then the findings may not be valid!

Did they use ranking or semantic differentials?

j) Was it a structured or unstructured interview?

k) What about the impact of research bias on the results? How did they minimize it?

l) What sampling method was used and why?

Snowball? Random? Stratified sampling? Systematic sampling? Stratified systematic random sampling? Cluster sampling?

We know nothing about this research!!

How is it that without knowing all this, the findings can be presented to the rest of the country? In the past, the 72% approval rating that was the finding was used almost as the gospel truth even though these very same questions were not answered.

Is it valid then that they can conclude the following:

However, democracy was not an issue that resonated among Malaysians, with just 27 per cent of the respondents listing "making the country more democratic" as the most important change they wanted to see in the country.

Improving the education system was the second most important issue, with 20 per cent of the respondents wishing for it to become world class.



What do you think?

Let us not forget that propaganda and psychological warfare can be used by unseen forces to influence and manipulate people to make them support a country. The media works as the medium through which any government can spread their propaganda via pamphlets, speeches, morality and priorities.

Propaganda is when only ONE side is shown to a mass audience for it to manipulate and influence a mass audience by the use of morality, patriotism and priorities. Be very careful because it is the indirect, subtle and subliminal messages which are often used to convince people without making them feel being influenced by someone because of its seemingly non-threatening nature!

Read every news report, every press statement very carefully. Test the truth behind the sentences/messages. Question the motive and the validity of those statements. We cannot simply believe anything they say anymore. This principle applies to everyone, anyone from any side of the divide! It is so easy to be influenced and we have to be on guard to ensure that we do not succumb to any form or degree of propaganda and lose our ability to make logical, well-reasoned conclusions. One thing for sure is that we are not as clueless as they think we could be. Above all else, we are not powerless because there is strength in unity and in the ballot box! Perhaps they have forgotten that!

Do you feel powerless? How do you feel, dear reader? Please leave a comment to share your thoughts or views. Thanks. Have a lovely weekend!




Where Did My Thursday Go?

Posted: 09 Jul 2010 01:13 AM PDT

Did I just lose one whole day while I was sleeeping? I went to bed last night thinking it was Wednesday. Naturally, when I woke up, it should be Thursday, right? Someone said "It's Friday" in Twitter. I thought she must be mistaken. I checked the date on my laptop. It said "Friday, 9 July, 2010″.

If there is a reason to this confusion, I would say this is one of my memory lapses. They are getting more frequent. Just yesterday, I was working on the notebook. I wanted to check on something on the Internet and opened a new window. Then I got distracted. When I got back to the window 30 seconds later, I had forgotten what I wanted to do with it, only to remember 5 minutes later.

One time, while I was giving a presentation to 60 people, my mind suddenly went blank. I could not remember what I had just said and what I was supposed to say next. It was scary. I looked at them and they looked at me. That was the longest 5 seconds of my life. I hope these episodes are not precursors to a neurological disorder or the onset of dementia.

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Telco Ministry can't answer why unfair pricings by Telekom Malaysia

Posted: 09 Jul 2010 12:57 AM PDT


Went To Watch Germany VS Spain Semi-Final

Posted: 09 Jul 2010 12:10 AM PDT

2 more match, the third and fourth placing and the final game then world cup will be own, by don't know who. Wonder when the Octopus Paul will do the talking. The little 8 legged creature is my idol! After the semi-final, Germany and Spain which it predicted Spain will win, I really very impressed with its performance. Really 100% correct for all the matches it predicted who-will-win.

Germany is out and I am so happy. 2 days ago, I went out to watch the semi-final at midnight. First time going out and join so many people and watch together and it's pretty fun. Though, the match started at 2.30am midnight here in Malaysia and felt sleepy some times. Mom didn't want me to go out late so she asked me out early. I went to meet up my friends, and they brought me to Inti College at Bukit Jambul at around 12am.

It's kinda crazy right, going to college at that time, for what? Study as they said but what I saw was, Facebooking, sleep, but one was really studying, working out on math.

Because of it's still early, we spent time at the college 4th floor which is a study area that opens for 24 hours. I am not a student there, they are. There were Zheng Feng, Boo Teik and Chien Chern.

Boring and cold night and I didn't know what to do too. Just online a little bit, talk a lot, and watched YouTube a little bit. The place was quiet. After thinking for where to watch, we wen to McDonald's at Sungai Dua, near to university there.

It's super freaking crowded when we reached there. Outside is totally full and it's only 1.30am. An hour before the match started and it's full already.

The whole McDonald's was like so messy because people moved the tables around to get close to the only one HD TV. Best thing of McDonald's is the broadcast is in HD and there's free refill for Coca-Cola. Rocks, and also free WiFi too. Just suck is there's not enough of power point for my laptop.

Boo Teik was really sleepy at Inti but after having a Double Spicy Chicken McDeluxe, he was energized again. LOL. Now McDonald's have a lot of double stuff, double big mac, double double cheese burger. Woo, really rocks.

Zheng Feng was really hardworking, working on math all night long! Non-stop! OMG.

IMG_6017

IMG_6018

IMG_6019

IMG_6020

Some ang mo came in after half time and was like "Fuck Germany, Germany Busted and blablabla" Kinda annoying. I think 70percent of the people at McDonald's were Germany fans and Spain rocks! Haha, I was with Spain. I was thinking of overnight at friend's place but given that I was still awake and not sleepy, I decided to drive home and sleep on my comfy bed. Yeah.


Media Frenzy Over Councillors' Confusion

Posted: 09 Jul 2010 12:27 AM PDT

aNt's aNgle: 

STILL NO NEWS is the best way that I can put it regarding the swearing in ceremony of MBPJ councillors that was supposed to take place yesterday.


It's 3.30pm and I haven't had a call or received a letter. However, I do know that the wait can't be very long from now. 

We could hear something by this evening, tomorrow or Sunday. And I hope, the very latest by Monday.

Regardless


Zin Oo Ko edited Tun Dr M’s book

Posted: 08 Jul 2010 07:48 PM PDT



TM Point yang bodoh

Posted: 08 Jul 2010 11:47 PM PDT

It is 11.30 at night and I am browsing the internet happily using Maxis Broadband. All these while we have been loyal user of Streamyx until Tuesday when we have decided that we can no longer put up with the stupidity and lack of neuron nerve cells in the brain of these TM staff. TM Point Puchong to be exact.

You see, about 4 weeks ago when we moved to the new house, Azman has gone to the branch and requested for the phone service to be changed in address. The torture of waiting for his turn at the TM Point doesn't need my exquisite elaboration I believe. They however, put his request into process and guarantee that phone and internet services will be ready at our new residence in two weeks, MAXIMUM.

Fine! I do not know if 2 weeks is as stated in their KPI but I guess all we need to do is wait. Although a fortnight to me is a mighty long time considering we only move from Jalan XX, Bandar Kinrara to Jalan YY, Bandar Kinrara not Jalan XX, Bandar Kinrara to Jalan YY, Zimbabwe.

And of course if they have kept their words I wouldn't be writing this… third week come without a inch of network cable being installed at the Chateau. Makcik sudah marah! Jualan t-shirt ManUtd akan terganggu!

Everyday Azman would call to follow up on the status and their feedbacks was getting more and more ridiculous from one time to another. One day they say that their outsourced contractor hasn't reply their email, or didn't pick up their call and on the last day, the TM officer gave us the contractor's number for us to call ourselves! Kalau Dato' Zamzam dengar ni agak-agak dia nak kata apa?

So it is final and we decided to put our long term relationship with Streamyx into Talak 4. Farewell! In order to terminate the service we had to go to TM Point again. This time I had come together with Azman. There were 7 counters in that service center and only 4 was occupied with TM Point staff. That is INCLUDING Counter no 4 that has got a SECURITY GUARD sitting behind it!! A SECURITY GUARD!!!

We took a ticket and the number was just ten customers away from our turn. Only ten! If it was the post office, ten people with different errands can be settled in mere 15 minutes. But I nope, it took longer at TM POINT , because I don't know… It is the era of the INTERNET and they provide HIGH SPEED BROADBAND and yet we had to fill in 2 forms with the same attributes ON PAPER!

We waited for 70 minutes!! That's more than one hour!!

And when it was our turn to TERMINATE our service, the officer had to key-in God knows what information into what seemed to me more than one type of system. The whole processed required us to sit at the counter for slightly over 10 minutes!! We only wanted to stop the service, I wonder how long does it take if we wanted to sign up as first time user, I bet she would need to take an hour to key in tahapa-apa nama nenek atuk arnab semua key in kottt!!

The officer behind the counter despite taking ten minutes didn't even bother asking what's wrong and why did we want to stop dealing with them. Well I told her and her reply was.. "Yes… memang slow!"

*pengsan*

TM Points are very nicely designed. They have nice benches to sit during our long wait and all. And they also have these little round table with chairs as well. But we can't sit there for it was labeled "For Business Customers Only". The Customer Service manager sits at the table at one point, with her arms crossed and staring into space. I seriously thought she could make herself useful and open a closed counter to serve more clients. But then again, I don't know who is classified as business customers. Aren't we a business customer? If we aren't then what are we? Main-main customer kot.

So that's my story about our divorce talak 4 with TM. Bye bye TM! Bangang giler staff2 ko tu!


Bujang Valley: Earliest civilisation in S-E Asia

Posted: 08 Jul 2010 11:44 PM PDT

Bujang valley continues to amaze historians


Bujang Valley, one of several Indianised kingdoms in Southeast Asia, existed long before neighbouring empires such as Majapahit (1200 AD) and Sri Vijaya (700 AD).

International historians observe archaeological excavations at the site of the 2,000 year old Bujang Valley civilisation in Sungai Batu, Kedah. They have described the man-made structures – the oldest thus far recorded in South-east Asia – as the most pivotal find in the region in the last few decades.

The Bujang Valley in Kedah, where the oldest recorded man-made buildings in South-East Asia have been discovered, continues to be a source of amazement to historians and achaelogists.

Some of the world's top historians converged at the archaeological site to survey excavation works for the 2,000-year old civilisation which has been hailed in the last few decades as "the most important civilisational find in the region."

The civilisation there is now known to have existed long before neighbouring empires like Sri Vijaya (700AD) and Majapahit (1200AD).

It was reported that Malaysian archaeologists had unearthed a 1,900-year-old monument, scientifically dated to 110 AD, built with detailed geometrical precision in Sungai Batu, Kedah.

The monument, which faces the Gunung Jerai mountain, the highest peak in northern Malaysia, is believed to be have been used for ritualistic purposes.

The monument was found surrounded by remnants of advanced iron smelting facilities equipped with furnaces as well as brick jetties built along a river bank.

Dr Stephen Oppenheimer of Oxford University's school of anthropology described it as "the earliest monumental site" that showed an important role as an industrial and trading centre.

"This is one of the most important finds in South-east Asia for the last couple of decades," he said.

India's Gujarat State Archaeology Department director Yadubirsingh Rawat said there was now indisputable evidence that international trading activities had taken place here in that period.

"The settlers here had full knowledge of iron smelting and jetty construction. This means they must have been connected to other places in the world," he said.

"The discovery shows that the Bujang valley contributed significantly to maritime trade in the region," he added.

Also found with the monument were various pottery and a Buddhist tablet with Pallava-Sanskrit inscriptions likely to have been made in the 5th century AD.

The discovery, by the Centre for Global Archaeological Research (CGAR) of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), was made within a three sq km area where a total of 97 mounds have been found. Thus far only 10 have been excavated.

Dr R. Nagaswamy, former director of the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department said the western coast of peninsular Malaysia was likely a central point in the sea route of international trade in that period.

"From this we not only gain a deeper understanding of the country, but also of world history," he said.

He also noted that Kedah had attracted rulers from South India, such as the Chola kings, to send their armies there in the 11th century.

The experts are in Malaysia for a conference on the Bujang Valley.

CGAR had announced last week that it had recently uncovered a new site in Jeriang, Kedah, comprising seven ancient furnaces once used for smelting of iron.

New estimates now show that the Bujang Valley settlement covered an area of about 1,000 sq km, mostly around Gunung Jerai, and not just 400 sqkm as previously believed.

Dated 110 AD, the newly discovered Sungai Batu monument in the Bujang Valley is the oldest recorded man-made building in South-east Asia.


Miss BB In The House

Posted: 08 Jul 2010 11:36 PM PDT

I got introduced to two new products recently. And I'm trying out both to see if they both work as touted.

One is the famous BB Cream from Korea.

Korean bb cream from etude house

Korean Magic BB cream from etude house

Soh Peng who came to stay a few weeks ago shared that she was a big-time user of this Korean face product. It's a very natural-looking, non-cakey foundation-moisturizer-concealer. In fact, she admitted that Singaporeans are crazy over this facial product. She bought a whole carton of it when she travelled to Korea.

So I got intrigued. Was it really so good?

Soh Peng, bless her soul, even took me to Etude House in Queensbay Mall just to show me what it was. I wasn't unconvinced, just a bit overwhelmed by the products in Etude House. (Other shops like The FaceShop also carry BB Creams. Even SaSa I heard. And most Korean beauty shops in all their pink and sweet-little-girl glory. Shiver! Too much pink is scary!)

The thing which I liked best was it's an all-in-one product which I heard became popular after some Korean actress divulged that she used it and she had lovely, dewy skin. BB stands for Blemish Balm and story has it that it was a recommended formula for Korean actresses who had done laser surgery! It's soothing and rejuvenating at the same time.

In the end, I went back to Etude House and bought one tube of Magic BB Cream (they had a 20% sale of this item) so I bought it for RM38. The easy part is, there's no shade to choose from, unlike concealers and foundations. You only chose for your skin type – for oily skin, for normal skin or with SPF.

It's easy to apply BB Cream. Just dot it on your face and massage in as you would your regular moisturizer. You are done in less than a minute. I've stopped using my ZA Concealer too and just rely on BB Cream for that quick made-up face without a made-up look or feel.

Initially my face looked whiter than my neck but after 5 to 10 minutes of application, the cream magically blends in with my skin colour! (I think that is why it is called Magic BB Cream.) It gives a smoother appearance but my T-Zone starts looking oily after 2 hours! That's the only thing which I hate. It gives me too much of a dewy look!

I'll have to use it for a longer period in order to really see if I like this Korean product though I think it could be very useful for travel.

Actually I also liked the Etude lip tint and wanted to buy that but Nic warned me against it. The bottle of lip tint looks like blood. You just apply it on your lips and you get this natural reddish hue, like you bit your lips very hard and the blood rushed to your lips. Ah, too many vampire series maybe!

I can see how Korean beauty products are fascinating particularly in helping create a nubile young look. I call it the Big Eye look. You know, those girls with heart-shaped faces, big eyes and long lashes and small, pink pouty lips. Oh and fair of skin. Let's not forget that. You can re-create that Big Eye look with tinted contact lenses (my, what big irises you have).

And I will tell you more about Mr Bawang real soon too….. he's another latest discovery!


S-E Asia’s oldest monument in Bujang Valley

Posted: 08 Jul 2010 11:38 PM PDT

The Bujang Valley rises at last.......

The oldest building to be recorded in Southeast Asia has been discovered in the Bujang Valley. It is a clay brick ritualistic monument that has been dated back to 110 AD.

THE next time you happen to be anywhere near the northern side of Penang or the southwestern stretch of Kedah, turn your gaze northward; you will see in the horizon the silhouette of a large mountain with a sharp peak.

Most of us have taken Gunung Jerai, also known as Kedah Peak, the highest mountain in northern Malaysia, for granted. However, a few of us are conscious that some of the most historic discoveries in Southeast Asia are now being made around the mountain's surroundings.

Almost every country in Southeast Asia has at least one ancient monument that has served as a source of pride for its people who view it in awe, as an important part of their roots. Indonesia, for example, has the magnificent Borobudur (8th century AD), Cambodia has the Angkor Wat (11th century AD) and Vietnam has the Siva-Bhadresvara Temple in My Son (4th century AD).

Little do we know that peninsular Malaysia has also been home to an incredible set of age-old structures, which though not as large as the other well-known monuments in the region, are impressive enough for their sheer numbers in the area named the Bujang Valley.

Since as far back as the 1840s, archaeologists have been unearthing remnants of a civilised settlement that existed in the Bujang Valley from around the 8th century AD to the 13th century. More than 80 sites have been uncovered with structures like the candi, a religious building with Hindu-Buddhist elements, most prominent among the findings.

Of these, the famous Candi Batu Pahat still stands glorious, as it did more than a thousand years back, near the Muzium Lembah Bujang in Merbok. Together with the structures, archaeologists also found hundreds of pottery, implements, beads and figurines.

Incredibly enough, although the archaeological works have been extensive and intense, little is known or even told about this ancient civilisation, veritably the cradle of Malaysia.

But a new discovery made about two years ago is set to change the invisibility of the Bujang Valley among our public. Archaeologists have discovered at least 97 ancient sites around some oil palm estates in Sungai Batu. So far only 10 have been uncovered.

And what they have revealed are propelling the rewriting our land's recorded history and what is being taught to our children in schools. The discoveries point to evidence that the Bujang Valley civilisation existed 2,000 years ago, long before neighbouring empires such as Majapahit (AD1200) and Sri Vijaya (AD700).

At the heart of the findings is a perplexing clay brick ritualistic monument that has been dated back to AD110, making it the oldest man-made building to be recorded in Southeast Asia.

The Sungai Batu monument and its surrounding structures – including ancient jetties and iron smelting workshops – point to an advanced culture pre-dating many Indianised kingdoms in Southeast Asia. Also found with the monument were various pottery placed ceremoniously around, and a Buddhist tablet with Pallava-Sanskrit inscriptions likely to have been made in the 5th century AD.

An extensive research is being done by the Centre for Global Archaeological Research (CGAR) of Universiti Sains Malaysia to determine how advanced the little-known civilisation – known variously in historic annals as Kataha, Kidaram and Chieh-Cha – was. Just this week scholars from around the world converged at the Bujang Valley to express amazement at the discovery and how it is reshaping understanding of the region's history.

Long before the empire of Malacca, there was already this powerful trading settlement in Kedah, which just happened to mysteriously disappear. But the secret of its existence cannot be held back any longer. The legacy of the Bujang Valley has risen at last. And it now promises to fully gain our attention, to reclaim its stature that is long overdue; just as it did among the early people of this land who lived around the majestic Gunung Jerai many centuries ago.





Himanshu is theSun's Penang bureau chief.


MINTA SURAT NIKAH

Posted: 08 Jul 2010 09:06 PM PDT


50 buku setahun di Berita Harian 6 Julai 2010

Posted: 08 Jul 2010 08:14 PM PDT

Wah, wah. Baru-baru ini kumpulan kami yang kecil dan comel ini telah disebutkan dalam suratkhabar:

http://www.bharian.com.my/bharian/articles/50BukuSetahun2010/Article/

Bukan. Kami bukannya tergila-gila kan sangat dengan nombor dan angka. 50 buku atau 2010 buah cuma angka. Apa ada pada angka?

Tapi kami mahu memburu pembaca-pembaca bersemangat tegar, yang masih bersembunyi di sebalik helaian-helaian bercetak yang ditelurusi penuh tekun.

Kami juga mahu memburu semangat-semangat yang lemas dalam kesesakan lalulintas, kerja-kerja pejabat, kertas-kertas peperiksaan, dewan-dewan kuliah dan riuh-rendah suara anak-anak yang berlari mengamuk atau asap-asap rokok lelaki tidak berperikemanusian. Ya, kami mahu semangat-semangat ini supaya timbul dan bernyawa semula.

Kami tidak kisah 1,2,3 atau 70. Itu semua cuma angka. Tapi untuk mengetahui bahawa di luar maya sana ada yang terketik dengan indahnya lenggok kata-kata bercetak atau ketawa tergolek-golek dengan satira lukisan kartun berwarna atau gemar melayan imaginasi dengan siri Dune atau bersemangat untuk mengubah nasib selepas 'berguru' dengan Robert T Kiyosaki, kami mahu 'jumpa' anda semua. (Siapa tidak suka bertemu dengan orang-orang yang punya minat yang serupa?) Kami suka mendengar cerita; tentang buku yang anda baru beli di pasar karat Amcorp Mall, tentang iklan pewangi ketiak yang seksi di dalam perpustakaan, tentang novel Islami Habiburahman, Nisah Haron atau Faisal Tehrani - kami mahu dengar kesemuanya.

Dan kalaupun anda tidak mahu bercerita atau berkongsi, kami tetap gembira sekiranya semangat-semangat yang hampir hilang tersebut telah mampu bernafas kembali. Sungguh, kami tak tipu!

Jadi jangan bertangguh lagi. Jumpa kami di Goodreads Malaysia. Kami janji anda tidak akan menyesal.

*Imej diambil tanpa kebenaran di sini.


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