Monday, June 30, 2008

Baca Ya-Sin

Teringat zaman bebudak masa kat kampung dulu. Dalam bermain sesama kawan, kadang2 ada bergaduh. Ada tuduh-menuduh. Satu 'kaedah' yang selalu disebut (tapi tak semestinya diguna) untuk menyangkal tuduhan ialah dengan membuat ugutan "nanti aku baca Ya-Sin!!!"

So, kalau ada yg dituduh mencuri, si tertuduh akan mengugut si penuduh. Jika tuduhan itu tidak benar, maka si penuduh akan kembung perut setelah si tertuduh membaca Ya-Sin. "Pandai2 je kau kata aku mencuri... siap kau. Aku baca Ya-Sin malam ni. Nanti kembunglah perut kau" (Note: in this context, 'kembung' means enlarged, as if having a big fibroid). Itulah statement yang mungkin digunakan.

Dalam suasana tuduh menuduh peringkat atasan di Malaysia sekarang ni, rasanya 'seronok' jugak kalau ada statement 'kembung perut' ni digunakan. Bayangkan Anwar buat press-statement sebegitu. "Siap korang....malam ni aku baca Ya-Sin kat kedutaan Turki. Nanti kembunglah perut orang2 BN yg memfitnah aku".

Ataupun, bayangkan Datuk Najib mengugut Raja Petra Kamaruddin dengan statement yang sama. "Jaga kau Pete..... lepas aku baca Ya-Sin... perut kau akan kembung sampai meletup". No need for C41, eh? :-)

Seeing similarities

Kalau takut dilambung ombak, jangan berumah di tepi pantai.

That's a very sensible advice. Especially for aspiring politicians, or political commentators. I am hesitant to write commentaries on politics in Malaysia, because I don't like crushing waves that we see more and more often now. Having said that, what I'm writing here is about politicians, but not necessarily about politics. I've been seduced very strongly to write through putting UK, Malaysia, and Zimbabwe side by side.

Pak Lah 'inherited' the helm of the Malaysian government from a strong and popular (vote-wise) PM. That's the same case with Gordon Brown, albeit admittedly, Tony Blair, his pre-decessor, did not has the same longevity on the Premiership as Tun Dr Mahathir. I think both Pak Lah and Gordon Brown suffered from being compared to their predecessors. Economic woes does not help them in the popularity rating either. There has been calls and demands from within and without their respective party for them to step down. And both had defiently stayed the course. Their supporters claimed that the PMs are the best that they have for the time being. So, there is no need for a replacement.

Meanwhile, over in Zimbabwe, President Mugabe faced a second round of presidential election after having 'lost' in the first round. The opposition (MDC) claimed that they have won. President Mugabe stayed on course, not conceding a failure. The same pattern was observed after March 8 general election in Malaysia. The oppositions, as well as Tun Dr Mahathis, thumped that BN had suffered a loss. But the PM, and scores of his Ministers said, "What loss? We did not lose!!"

And, in the run-off to the second round of presidential election, which the MDC are expecting to win, like in the first round, a series of intimidation was let loose upon the MDC. The intimidation included police arrests (up to 5 times a week for the MDC leader), violence, rape, and killings. At one time, the MDC leader, fearing his safety, seek refuge at the Dutch embassy, and pulled out from the Presidential election. And, who is it that was reported seeking refuge in Turkish embassy in Kuala Lumpur? Mmm..... if the similarity continues, this means the current Malaysian government will be able to ward off challenges from the oppositions.

Can President Mugabe, now that he has won the election, claim that he has support from his people? How credible would that claim be, considering he was the only candidate in that election? If Spain had won against a German team with only Podolski, Klose and Lehmann on the field, can Spain claim that they are the better team?

Please note that I'm merely drawing attention to the similarities between what is happening in the UK, Malaysia, and Zimbabwe. I'm not insinuating similarities of persons - and the severity of their actions - mentioned above. The similarities of events are interesting enough. Further analysis on similarities of personality and right/wrong-doings are in the realm of political analysts.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Transcribing

Whew....

Just finished transcribing a 15 minutes interview. The process took much much longer than the actual interview. I had not expected the process of typing up spoken dialouge would be this time-consuming.

Some of the lessons I've learned from this process are:

1) People don't talk in complete sentences.
2) People tend to repeat words and phrases in the same sentence.
3) People talk in very long sentences, very difficult to find a place to put the full stop. However, during conversations, the pacing sounded right.
4) People use lots of ermm and aaah.

when my mind wanders ...

Q: Where do paramecium, amoeba, and algae go to after finishing high-school?

A: To UNISEL.

shopping bug

feels like doing some shopping, or more accurately, spending some money.

I have two items that I'd really like. but they are meant to be used at the flat to which I will move in in October (or September..... Lisa, please...). They are household items that are claimed to make life much easier. yeah.... I hope they do.

The first item is the halogen oven, and the second is the Dri Buddi. Those two items will cost about a quarter of my part-time job's salary. I think it is a very feasible purchase. Till October then....

Paksi Dunia

Bumi tak kan berhenti berputar
hanya kerana kau berhenti berlari

sekalipun rajuk membawamu duduk
dunia akan terus ke hadapan

kau bukan paksi bumi

seluruh hidup di dunia
tak kan berhenti
untuk duduk di sisimu
meratap dan memujuk
menunggu rajukmu hilang

yang hilang ialah dirimu
ditinggalkan dunia

Punca lapar

Semalam... masa makan farfarelle style kung fu (second round), terfikir satu sebab mengapa asyik lapar. Basically, ada 2 kemungkinan.

1) I'm in a good mood. The hypothalamus are secreting all the good hormones that stimulates hunger and appetite. (I've just finished up a box of Thornton's chocolate that I bought from Tesco a few days ago).

2) Dah seminggu tak makan nasi!! Agaknya, memang nak pekena nasi baru terasa kenyang. Even as I'm writing now, perut terasa lapar... walaupun secara fizikalnya, perut nampak & terasa penuh. (I've just eaten 3 hours ago)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lapar - versi Kung Fu

Seminggu dua ni, asyik lapar je. The production of grehlin in my stomach is probably higher than before. It is 3pm now, and I'm feeling hungry again. That's after eating a heavy brunch at 11 am.
baru je nak buat kerja... nampak gaya kena balik rumah lagi untuk mengurangkan tahap grehlin dalam sistem.

BTW, this morning I continued further experimentation on a pasta dish. I've ran out of taglialtale. At Sainsbury this morning, right after work, I bought farfalle for it flat'tish shape. What I did was boiled the pasta. At the same time, I sauted onions and garlics. Then I added closed cup mushroom, tomatoes, flat leaf parsely, and zuchhini. I also added water and vegetable stock cube, dried italian herb, and black pepper. When the vegetables are done, I put the pot aside.

When the pasta is cooked, I drained it. In a pan, I heated generous amoung of cooking oil and butter (I would have preferred olive oil - but I'm out of it as well). When the oil is hot, I fried the pasta till brownish spots appear on some. To this shallow fried pasta I added black pepper, eggs, and cheddar cheese. Serve on a plate and pour the veggie.

Voila! Farfarelle kung-fu style. :-)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My Car

My car was sent to the garage on Monday. The radiator needed attention. I was given a courtesy car. Admittedly, the courtesy car is not performing well. Abg Kriss told me that many hands had touched that car, and consequently, it is showing its wear and tear quite readily.

In the short time that I drove the courtesy car, which shall remain nameless out of courtesy, I gained a new appreciation for my BMW. Compared to the courtesy car, my BMW's engine is smoother. It is not exaggerating that I can feel the sweetness on my tounge. The acceleration, gear and braking are better. One complain would be the steering - a bit wobbly.

When I picked up the care later that evening, the radiator was replaced with a (used) new one. With the newly gained appreciation, I'm thinking that should the BMW survive my PhD, it would be worth sending back to Malaysia. And here are some of the things that I'd improve on if it ever touch Malaysian soil.

















The fog light's cover need to be replaced.
















A cap-thingy is needed to fill the gaping hole here.
















The cushion is still surprisingly firm, albeit with a hole. I think a new seat cover would do the trick.





















Small dents here and there. Not something serious.
















Some rusty patches. And while I'm on that, I think a new coat of paint is in order. I'm kind of keen on a silverish-blue colour.




















The speaker here is missing a part of its ring.




















The interior lining has smudges here and there. A new lining would freshen up the cabin space. Beige?





















And, not to forget, the steering wheel. I don't know what necessitated the presence of the black tape. May be a more stylish tape would make the wheel more presentable.

Green Thumbs

Remeber the £1.75-for-10lb onions? Well, some of them are sprouting in their sack. So, I got them out, and did a bit of gardening in a jungle that is my backyard. (Hello!!! Mr landlord, when are you coming to cut the grass?)

My thumbs are not as green as my late grandma's. I remember her patch of vegetable plot in Kem Terendak Melaka. One of her bestseller -yes, she did sell the vegetables - was brinjal. My sister and I used to imitate an indian girl coming to the house and asking for 'terung' in her Indian accent.

My own patch of onion is a lowly tribute to grandma. May she reap bountiful rewards for the kindness that she sowed.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Direct translation

If I can play the guitar, the following would be a song that I'd play. Then I'd get an English bloke to sing it while I play. How's that for a 'cultural' integration?

Do You Still Remember

Do you still remember
at that particular time
A blooming flower
I slipped into your hair

Do you still remember
It turned into a dream
And became a longing
Do you still remember

Do you still remember we were running together
At the horizon searching for a rainbow
And then the rain came down we were wet together
Do you still remember
Do you still remember

Do you still remember
That one particular flower
Sitting on my palm
Finally wilting away

So then I clutch tightly
It turned into dust
Do you still remember
Do you still remember

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rafael Nadal

It was too bad that I missed the French Open men's final last Sunday. I was in a train from London, coming back to Loughborough. When I arrived, the match was over. And so was Federer's ambition to complete a career grand slam, at least for this year. Being humiliated with a 1-6, 3-6, 0-6 loss to a lower seeded player is not exactly an ego booster.

Of course, Nadal got a fourth successive Rolland Garros title, and a huge shot of confidence. I found it amazing for a 22 year old to have a record like that. I admire his achievement. And, just being back from the IIU re-orientation program (when was I first oriented?), I feel a fresh surge of determinination to complete my PhD in 3 year, i.e. by September 2010. In this context, Nadal is an inspiration. Even though Federer has a better overall record, I find him personally non-emulatable (any such word?).

My previous success role model is Tiger Woods. He had completed his career grand slam. My version of a grand slam would be publishing articles in top peer-reviewed journal. Here are my slams' parallel to golf's.

Human Factors - US Open
Ergonomics - British Open
Journal of Emergency Medicine (British Medical Journal) - PGA Championship
Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making - Masters

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Telipuk dedication part 2

Another dedication to Puan Telipuk ... sorry yea... tak jumpa lagi periuk kera kat sini :-)


Monday, June 09, 2008

Various level of liveliness


Is this pose ok for you?
I'll soak some sun now.
That's the Royal Albert Hall.

The Natural History Museum. The blue whale is impressive.

These statues have probably been photographed more often than the common person.
And this is a very common scene in London. Lots of road works cause traffic delay.

Wake up and Smell the Roses






I like the purple roses: quite unusual. The smell emanating from the rose bushes are refreshing.

Hyde Park







The weather was super fine on Sunday. I find myself having to tear myself away from London and head back to Loughborough. I wish I could spend more time frolicking at the beautiful Hyde Park.

Fox gloves: Dedicated to Telipuk




Photos taken at Regent's Park & Hyde Park, London

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Flora follow up



The menacing green bud revealed a surprisingly beautiful and delicate flower. Though positive descriptions can be made for its smell.

Juice


Here's how much fruits that I consumed yesterday: 4 apples and 2 oranges. I can't imagine I'd EAT that much. But, when it is turned into juice, I managed to take 'em all.


Recursive Report

Pada 5 Jun 2008 Utusan Malaysia melaporkan reaksi Dr Rais Yatim terhahap gesaan Datuk Musa Sheikh Fadzir. Terdahulu, dalam UM 4 Jun, DMSF menggesa Muhyiddin dan Rais dirujuk ke Lembaga Dispilin UMNO kerana membuat tindakan yg "menampakkan kelemahan parti di mata rakyat selain memberi ruang kepada parti pembangkang untuk mengambil kesempatan terhadap pergolakan dalaman UMNO."

Reaksi aku pulak ialah untuk menggesa DMSF dirujuk ke Lembaga Disiplin UMNO. Dia juga membuat kenyataan yg disiarkan di media hingga menampakkan kelemahan parti di mata rakyat. Secara sengaja DMSF telah meng'highlight'kan pergolakan dalaman UMNO dengan menonjolkan tindakan2 Muhyiddin dan Rais. Kalau betul dia nak membendung pergolakan dalaman UMNO, gesaan beliau perlulah berbentuk 'dalaman'. Tak perlu 'diluarkan'. Jadi, DMSF juga perlu dirujuk ke Lembaga Disiplin.

And, as long as we're on that line, ada satu lagi pihak yang perlu dihadapkan ke Lembaga Disiplin. Utusan Malaysia dikawal oleh UMNO, kan? Dalam hal ini, UM lah yg melaporkan tindakan2 Muhyiddin, Rais, dan DMSF. Jadi, sebenarnya, UM lah yg 'mendedahkan kelemahan parti ke mata rakyat'. Jadi, heretlah UM ke Lembaga Disiplin. Moga2, lepas ini, tertutuplah segala kelemahan UMNO dan pergolakan2 yang berlaku di dalamnya.

Adoi.... penin aku baca laporan surat kabar pasal org politik nih...

Harga Minyak Naik

Petrol naik 40% kepada RM2.70 seliter. Kalau nak compare 1-to-1, which is admittedly controversial for some, masih 'murah' lagi kalau compare dengan harga petrol di UK. Harga petrol semalam kat Sainsbury Leicester ialah £1.139 seliter, more than RM6 seliter. So, tak rasa hairan sangat kalau petrol dijual semahal itu. Biasanya, sekali isi memang melebihi RM100.

Cuma, mengenangkan tahun 2010, bila balik Malaysia nanti, bagaimanakan harganya. Kalau harga petrol diapungkan ikut harga pasaran, tak tau la coping strategy yg mana nak diguna. Sambil2 kerja pagi tadi, ni ada beberapa idea.

1) Beli barang secara pukal dgn kawan2 dan sedara mara. Dapat (average) price yg murah. Semalam beli bawang kuning 10kg, baru £1.75. Kalau beli 1kg kat Sainsbury, paling murah boleh dapat £0.75. Do your own math.... jimat banyak tu. So, kalau boleh bawak berpakat2 (bak kata Pak Lah - masa susah sama2 susah (tapi, sapa yg susah? Pak Lah susah ke? Susah apa? Susah hati?)) utk shopping secara pukal ni, buatlah. Cuba jadikan ia idea yg praktikal.

2) Potong perbelanjaan yg bersifat tahsiniyyat (luxuries) dan hajiyyat (conveniences). Kalau tak de Astro, tak de nya kacau bilau hidup. So, cancel langganan Astro. (kasi itu boss Astro panas sikit.... kalu itu profit turun, dia akan bisik2 sama itu Pak Lah. Aiyoo... saya sudah susah. Kalau saya susah, Pak Lah pun susah juga nanti. Mesti mau sama2 susah ka?).

Satu lagi langkah berjimat ialah hadkan satu telefon bagi setiap isi rumah. Tak de maknanya nak ada sampai 10 handphone dlm satu rumah. Buat call mana yg perlu je. Tak perlu nak bazir duit hantar sms AFUndi etc. Langkah ni akan lebih berkesan kalau langkah sebelumnya diambil i.e. cancel langganan Astro. Buat penat je mengkayakan org2 yg ada bakat menyanyi. Kalau depa mahu share rebat tunai petrol tak pe jugak. Ni, kalau depa menang kereta, depa pakai sendiri je. Ada depa nak jemput tumpang naik kereta? So, pakat2 la kurangkan handphone dan bil telefon. Ini satu lagi cara utk pressure org korporat supaya rajin berbisik kepada Pak Lah.

Car pool! Ubah gaya tahsiniyyat (drive sorang2) kepada hajiyyat (kongsi kereta).

Guna internet kat pejabat. Waima utk update blog peribadi :-D

Kurangkan nasi, gula, minyak, santan, dan lain2 makanan yg boleh memudaratkan kesihatan. Beras basmati 10kg dah mencecah £19. 10kg bawang baru £1.75. Mmmmm..... memandangkan bawang sangat murah berbanding nasi, boleh la lebihkan bawang berbanding nasi dalam makanan seharian. Setakat ni tak pernah dengar side effect buruk makan bawang, except bau badan.

Burrpp... kenyang makan bawang. Pak Lah nak makan bawang?

Disclaimer: I do not claim to write the truth. Any similarity to the truth may be incidental. Use your own logic.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

ECP

A google search on 'ECP' yielded a few interesting results. Clearly, Emergency Care Practitioner is not the only one using that acronym.

Electrical Control Programming
Empty Category Principle
Entry Control Point
Eye Care Professional
Emergency Contraceptive Pill
English Collective Of Prostitutes

Be sure, the ECP that I will study for my PhD is not from that list.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Backyard Pictures again






Falling in Love Again
















This is where I picked up my cousin and her two friends. St Pancras Station sure looks better than when I last saw it.




















From St Pancras, we went to Regents Park to have some light breakfast: croissant, grapes, biscuits, and water. The roses are blooming now. When I go back to London again later this week, I want to spend more time at Regents Park, and take some more pictures.

















Before heading to Oxford St, we were awed by a jaw-dropping display of super cars. They roared to claim their superiority.





















At Galleria, a retail outlet mall, I spent half of my time shopping, and the other half waiting, like in this picture. It felt like shopping for raya - going back and forth, from shop to shop. We took turn to stay and watch the growing number of shopping bags accumulated.




















This is the tube station which is closest to Astor College, the place I lived in 1999/2000.
















That's Astor College; and a nice car parked in front of it :-)




































And this is the building where I go for most of my MSc classes. Whew.... this triup to London sure brought back a lot of memories. And I fell in love with London again.