Monday, January 31, 2005

CNY Ang Pow

Chinese New Year is just around the corner and like the previous 2 years, we have to make sure all the angpows are ready. If you don't know what an Ang Pow is, it's those red packets containing some money that parents give to children, and to "unsold sugar cane".

Since we are no longer singles, we are no longer eligible for ang pows, except maybe from our parents. But for the first year of marriage and CNY, the couples do get ang pows.

Every year, we faced the same problems. Deciding how much to give and to whom, and at the same time, we need to make sure it's fair to others. Apart from this, we need to arrange the angpows properly. A different design for different monetary value. And then where you put the angpows is also important.

Front left shirt pocket - RM 10 angpows (Angpow packet from Magnum 4D).
Front left pants pocket - RM5 angpows (Angpow packet from Giant).
Front right pants pocket - RM 4 angpows (Angpow packet from Genting).
Back left pants pocket - RM100 angpows (Angpow packet from Maybank).
Front Pouch - Yiyi's angpows!

I really suck at this, because I'll get confused and mixed up the angpows. So I normally memorised the locations before an angpow giving occasion.

Door Bell: Ding Dong!

Papi : *whisper to self* OK, front left RM10, front left pants RM5, front right RM4....*repeat repeat*

Visitor : Hello Papi, Happy New Year!

Papi : Hi! Happy New Year, come in, come in.... *whisper whisper* front left...RM10, front right RM4...

Visitor : I beg your pardon?..

Papi : Oh...nothing nothing...have a seat...have some keropok.

Visitor's kid : Uncle, Gong Xi Fa Cai!!

Papi : hey, Gong Xi! Gong Xi! *whisper* RM4...front left pants....nah!

Visitor's kid : Thank you, Uncle!

And Mami's not much help either..

Mami : Eh Papi...the RM100 angpows still with you ah...

Papi : *Check check back pocket* Yes, yes, still here...

Mami : You sure ah? How many you have there?

Papi : Aiya, sure lar, don't worry.

Mami : You sure or not, don't give to other people you know.

Papi : Yalar...*whisper to remind self* front left...RM10, front right RM4......

Among the parents, basically it's common sense and understanding that help you decides how much you should give. So let say a relative has 2 kids and they gave Yiyi a RM10 angpow. So, we will be 'returning' with a RM5 angpows for two of their kids. Thus it balance out, no one lose or gain. But some how, some parents are treating this like business, to make money! Some will even peak into their kids angpows to find out how much they received and then purposely gave out lower so that they gain!

The money in the angpows has to be new and crisp! So normally, a couple of weeks before CNY, you will see Aunties (and Uncles too) bringing envelopes in and out of banks, to change for new notes. Normally RM1, RM 5, and RM 10 denomination is very common. RM50 and RM100? You want to give me?? he he he.. The value is also important. RM 8, RM 3, RM10, RM5 are common. RM4, RM14 is a no-no.

The angpow packets have also been commercialised over the years. Nowadays we get all kind of design and patterns of angpow packets with company logos. Some with beautiful drawings, others with meaningful caligraphy, some even with 4D numbers on it. So you can use your angpow money to buy more 4D!

This year, there are a few adidtion to Mami's side family as well as Papi's side. So looks like we will be giving out more angpows *sigh*. But then, it's all part of the rich Chinese tradition. And it's fun to look at the kids and their face when they got their angpows. Like Mami said "One year one time mah!"

Unsold Sugar Cane: A Cantonese saying (probably originated from Hong Kong) refering to those singles of late age.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Project Kasih

James of Loopy Meals and his good buddy, Bud, have initiated a great project that highlights the work of the aid workers and volunteers of the Tsunami disaster as well as highlighting the plights and the needs of the victims. It's called Project Kasih.

Readers can also donate through the website based on individual plights and see their money in action.

"Imagine a Pak Ali who needs a new roof," he elaborates. "Readers donate and in a few weeks, we see contractors building a new roof for Pak Ali. And all of this will be in pictures, and in progress, for the world to see!"

I have put in a Project Kasih banner on the right. Please feel free to check it out, and help whatever you can. You can also check out James's blog for more details.

Great job, James and Bud!

Losing a Laptop

I lost my laptop. *sigh*
My brother lost it, to be exact.

He went 'yamcha' last night with a bunch of friends in Sri Muda, Shah Alam. He drove our Mini, with the laptop in the passenger seat. He parked his car, removed some stuff from the laptop bag, and then hid the laptop beneath the driver's seat. Good move.

But he had to step outside of the car before he hid the bag. Bad move.

It's difficult if you are sitting in the driver's seat and try to slide something beneath the seat, especially in a Mini. So I guess the thief could be nearby and saw he hid something beneath the seat. And because it's an old Mini, there's no alarm. Lucky bugger.

He came back an hour later and found his car door not slammed tight. Curious, he checked beneath the seat and found nothing there. The laptop was gone.

He called me around 10.30pm, telling me what had happened. I told him to make a police report.

The laptop is about 4 years old. That's very very old in ICT age. The hinges are broken, and the casing cracked, but the Windows 98 worked fine albeit slow. I bought it for my brother when he went for his studies oversea, and when he came back it became our laptop. Back then it costed almost RM7000, one of the best in the market, now maybe around RM300. But it's not the monetary value that matters, it's what inside. Data. Backups. Work. Documents. Pictures. MP3. Confidential information.

We have been thinking of buying a new laptop, but we have been putting it off due to our budget and other reasons. So I guess now we have all the reasons to get a new one.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Show and Tell

Yiyi have been learning quite well and adapting quite fast. We have been teaching her simple things from her alphabet books and from her surroundings. She's able to apply to her speech and her actions, even things that we didn't know she knew! Things that we have never shown or taught her. It's really amazing how kids learn on their own and be able to relates them.

One of the game we play with her is the Show and Tell. We tell her the word or the thing, and she will point it or show it to us.

"Yiyi, are you angry?"

"Yiyi, where's your nose?"

"Yiyi, where're your ears?"

"Yiyi, where's your hair?"

"Yiyi, where's your hand?

"Yiyi, where's your nen-nen?" (Yiyi pronounced it neh-neh)

"Ehhh....shame shame, cannot take off your shirt ah!" ha ha ha...She wanted to take off her cloth to show us her nen-nen!!

nen-nen: Chinese (baby talk) loosely translated as milk. It could be refering to the milk bottle or breast.

Naza Citra

Last week....

Dad : Wow! So nice, so beautiful..

Papi : But a bit small lar, you see, inside very cramp lah..

Dad : No lar, ok what, can seat 7 you know...

Papi : Look at the third row seats, so tight and cramp.

Dad : No lar, Yiyi can sit behind mah. Ok what, comfortable.

Papi : Look at the gear, so low one, can reach ah?

Dad : No lar, Auto mah, can what.

Papi : Some more first batch, sure got problem one.

Dad : No lar, no problem one.

Papi : Waja also bigger and more comfortable.

Dad : No lar, very comfortable lar, Ok what.


Looks like my dad has already made up his mind and built a strong wall around it! Furthermore, he's paying, so as long as he likes it, I'm OK with it.

I have been getting a lot of hits from people looking for information on Naza Citra. Basically it's based and adapted from Kia Carens and it is the second model by Naza. Like it's brother (sister??) Naza Ria, it is assembled in Naza Automotive Manufacturing factory in Gurun, Kedah. Here's the specification for those who are interested:

Engine Type = 2.0 14 DOHC
Displacement = 1975 cc
Max Power = 101/6,000 (kw@rpm)
Max Torque = 174.6/4,500 (N.m@rpm)
Dimension (h x w x l)= 1609 x 1748 x 4493
Transmission type = 4-speed Automatic (only Auto is available)
Brake = Front and Rear Disc brake with ABS (with electronic brake force distribution)
Front Suspension = Macpherson Strut with Coil Spring.
Rear Suspension = Dual Link with Shock Absorber (Gas)
Steering Type = Power Rack & Pinion

Others = Dual Airbag, Side Impact Protection System, Belt Pretension System, Battery Saver, Sunroof, Overhead Console, Driver's Seat Armrest, 2nd Row Centre Armrest, 2nd Row Centre back Table.

Standard Accesories = Radio/CD Player, Leather seat, Power Window, Roof Railing, Reverse Sensor, Roof Carrier, 15" Alloy Wheel, Fog Lamp, Scuff Plate, Keyless Entry (No alarm).

Additional Accesories (about RM4000 plus) = DVD Player and LCD, Window Tinting (CoolTint), Alarm.

Colors = Metallic Black, Chrome Silver, Red Turbo, Diamond Silver, Baltic Grey, Hollywood Blue.

Price = Rm79,888 on the road (with standard accesories)

Check this and this out for photo and review.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Duplicate Saman Part 2

Yesterday was a public holiday for us. So we took the opportunity to head down south to settle my double summonses issue. Mami wanted to drive (about 2 hours drive) , so I let her.

Mami : Eh? Papi? What's the speed limit ah?

Papi : Here ah? err..110 km/h.

Mami : Can I drive at 130 ah?

Papi : Err...can! But if you kena saman, ... ha ha ha ...

Mami : Aiya, better don't lar. But I kept going above 110 lar.

Papi : he he he...

Mami : *yelling at the slow car in front* Hoi!! Step on it lar!! Move it!! So low balik tidur lar!!!!

OK, I made that one up.

The supposedly 2 hours drive took only one hour. Mami turned into Michael Schumacher when she drives.

When we reached the balai, there were 2 traffic policemen at the counter.

"Apa pasal?" one of them asked. ("What's wrong?")

"Saman saya silap masuk dua kali dalam sistem?" I explained. ("My summons was mistakenly entered twice into the system.")

"OK, pergi itu kaunter dekat blakang sana" he pointed me to the back. ("Goto the counter at the back")

At the counter, I passed my summons and receipt to the officer, and explained to him what happened. He took my summons and receipt, punched some keys on the keyboard, stared at the computer and scratched his head.

"Macam mana ni? Alamak, diorang masuk dua kali?". He was talking to himself.

Then he passed it to another colleague and asked for his opinions. He, too, scratched his head. The two were discussing and thinking, at a blank of how to handle this. Then the first guy came up with a brilliant idea!!

"OK, you pegi jumpa Constable H" the officer 'tai chi-ed" it to another officer.

So off we went searching for this Constable H, only to find that he was out. So we waited.
And waited.
And waited.

30 minutes later, a skinny guy, who looks more like a technician, turned up. I passed the docs to him, and explained the matter to him. He examined the receipt, a printout I got from the first officer and the summons.

"Aiya, problem lar. Ini orang buat ini saman sudah pencen lar. Manyak susah lar" he sighed. ("Ah! It's a problem now, because the officer who issued this summons has retired. It's a bit difficult.")

"Wah!! Kalau dia sudah mati, ini balai boleh tutup kedai lar!!" (Wow! If he's dead, then this station can close-shop lar!) I wanted to say this, but I decided it wasn't a smart thing to do. So I asked him "So, apa macam encik?"

He said he will need to speak to his superior and promised to settle it for me so that I don't have to go down again. Since both summonses were issued by the court, so it will be difficult to just delete it from the system and 'settle it'.

Looks like it's not that easy. I am supposed to call the guy next week to check whether they have erased my summons from the system. Let's hope this guy is efficient!

Monday, January 24, 2005

Tsunami VCD

Future SIL: Papi, Look!

Papi : What?


Papi : What VCD?

FSIL : Tsunami one!

Papi : hah?

Dad : Let's watch it now!

Papi : eee...don't want lar.

FSIL : yalar, better watch it after dinner, very graphic....

After dinner .....

Dad : Let's watch the VCD.

Papi : eee..don't want lar, geli lar.

Dad : No lar, very nice one.

Papi : eeeya, don't want, very geli one, later at night, you watch alone lar.

Dad : OK, OK.

That's right, those Uncle Ho's (now a Latuk Loctor) machais have come out with the Tsunami VCD! I have not seen it, and I won't see it. I have seen enough of Tsunamis stories, on our news medias, on the Internet, and mostly on the emails. Pictures of tsunamis devastation, and bloated death bodies of tsunami victims, with missing limbs and face bloated beyond recognition. I think it's wrong, by using this tragedy to make money. Using other people's grief, trouble and lost to gain a quick buck is unethical.

The Star has a report on this.

CDs on tsunami horror beat Bollywood movies in India

PORT BLAIR, India (AP) - Pushing aside pirated Bollywood movies, new releases are ruling the black market video charts: compilations of grisly pictures and videos of the tsunami horror.

"There is great demand for them,'' said Mukesh Vyas, a compact disc dealer in Port Blair, capital of the hard-hit Andaman and Nicobar island chain.

"We don't have the stock, they are so hard to get.''


But more often, it's highly graphic footage, often shot by amateurs, that would never make it to broadcast TV at all.


"It shows everything - how people died, how they were buried, people who were saved and destroyed property. Good quality. Good sound,'' said Palaniappan, a 14-year-old boy selling CDs on the sidewalk outside Port Blair's main Roman Catholic church.


It can be difficult to watch. At one point, a man - apparently drowning - can be seen trying to cling to a bridge as waves wash over him.

In another section, the bloated body of a child is levered into a grave by a group of policemen.

The videos worry Dr. Thaveesilp Wisanuyothin, spokesman for the Thai Health Ministry's mental health department. "These images could appear over and over again in people's minds leaving them with anxiety, sleepless nights or even full-blown post-traumatic stress disorder. Parents should be sure that children don't see such videos,'' Thaveesilp said in a telephone interview.


In Port Blair, Palaniappan, who lost no family members in the disaster, admitted he cannot stand to look at the most graphic sections of the video he was selling.

"I tested the CD for its quality at home. But I couldn't see the bodies and the scenes of cremations,'' he said. "I walked out.'' - AP

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Siaran Tergendala

I was reading LcF's post about the BlogLines Plumber when I was reminded by something that happened during my childhood.

Back then, in the 70s and early 80s, our TV has got only two channels. RTM1 and RTM2. TV3 was not even around, what's more NTV7 or 8TV or Ch9. I still remember it was only black and white video (our TV no color one), and the shows came on at around 5pm till midnight.

But back then, service disruptions were frequent. We are talking about once every 2-3 days. Sometime it was resolved fairly quickly, and the show resumed, but sometime it took them hours to continue transmission.

And one of the thing I remember most about the service disruption is this:

"Maafkan kami ...deng te-deng deng
Maafkan kami ...deng te-deng deng
Maafkan kami ...deng te-deng deng
Maafkan kami ...deng te-deng deng
..... "

with a cartoon showing on the TV screen to announce the disruption. The song was actually from P.Ramlee's Maafkan Kami (Forgive Us).

Mami has a different story though ( I can't recall, but it could be the same cartoon). There was a cartoon showing a fat man in front of a TV. So Mami went "Aiya!! Tua Pui Long Phai Ten Si Kee liao" (Hokkien: Oh no, the fat man broke the TV!"

Naza vs Waja

We have been teaching Yiyi to name the cars we have in the house. She said "Waja" when we pointed to the Waja. She said "sa" when we pointed to the Kelisa, and she said "me" when we pointed to the Mini.

Yesterday we went to check out the new Naza Citra, launched two days ago. For those who don't know, Citra is actually based on Kia Carens, aka ciplak lar. While we were checking out the MPV, Yiyi became very excited.

Yiyi : *shouting* WAJA!! WAJA!! WAJA!

Papi : No, not Waja, Naza.

Yiyi : *still shouting* WAJA! WAJA! WAJA!

Papi : Not Waja, Naza. Can you say NA..ZA..

Yiyi : *louder now* WAJA!! WAJA!! WAJA!! WAJA!! WAJA!! .....

And she kept repeating "Waja", with her booming voice echoed through the empty showroom. So there we were, a family who were checking out Naza cars in a Naza showroom, with a toddler who kept shouting Waja. he he he....

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Evil PapiMami

We are evil. We terrorised some school kids today.

We went back to my parents house for lunch and to see Yiyi. At about 2.30pm, we left for the office. While coming out from the street, I took a left turn towards the main road. A group of school kids, 3 boys and a girl were walking in the middle of the road, as if it was their great great grandaunty's road. As there were cars parked on both side of the road, leaving only a narrow gap for me to pass, I slowed down and took my turn slowly and carefully. At the same time, I was trying to avoid the school kids.

They walked to the left of my car, walking very very closely.


I stopped my car, while Mami frantically asked me what's wrong. I looked at my rear-view mirror, just in time to see one of the kids lifting his hand from my bonnet.

"I think one of them slapped on my bonnet. Hard."

The boy looked back at me, through the mirror, with a faint of panic in his face, when he realised I didn't like what he had done to my car.

I put the car into reverse, and slowly tailed them. Mami quickly reached for the digicam. "I want to snap their photo. That should scare them to death!" Mami said with an evilish grin.

The boy (with another male friend) now sensing something was wrong began to walk faster, than his other friends. Still reversing, I sped a bit to overtake the boys. We managed to overtake the boys at a junction, and Mami snapped the first photo. The camera-shy boys looked away.

The group then split at this junction. The two boys walked away from us and turned at this junction, trying to get away from us. While his two friends (a boy and a girl) continued walking passed us, laughing all the way.

We followed the boys. They continued trotting away from us, when I decided it's time to catch up with them. I stepped on the accelerator. Sensing that I was closing in, and maybe in a flash of panic, one of the the kid ran like hell!! No prizes for guessing which kid ran.

We were laughing like mad in the car, looking at the kid running like some mad dogs were on his tail. In this case, PapiMami were on his tail! I decided to terrorise the kid some more. I knew eventually the kid will join back to his gang on the other street, so I decided to go around and meet them head-on.

So I drove the car, slowly, to the other street, expecting to see the kid and his gang in front of me. I was right. The kid was just running back to his gang, thinking we were gone. He was dead wrong. He was still looking at his back, to see whether we were still following him, without realising we were in front!!

He didn't realised we were in front, and Mami was snapping pictures of him, until we were about 5 meters from him. As soon as he realised we were still 'stalking' him, he dashed in the opposite direction. And his friends were laughing at him. kih kih kih...

Then we decided to let him off, and headed off to the office, laughing ourselves silly all the way.

Duplicate Saman

Phone : ring ring...

Officer 1 : Hello?

Papi : Hello, Is this the Elephant Stream police headquarter?

Officer 1 : Yes?

Papi : I have a problem with my traffic summons.

Officer 1 : Oh? You should call this number 06-XXX XXXX

Papi : OK. Thanks.


"Phone : ring ...ring....

Officer 2 : Yes, Traffic department.

Papi : Hello, I have a problem with my traffic summons.

Officer 2 : OK.

Papi : I had a summons for my accident back in 1998, and I have paid the compound. I also have the receipt. But when I checked with the online system, it shows it's still outstanding.

Officer 2 : Oh? Can I have your IC?

Papi : It's A1234567

Officer 2 : *check check* no records lah.

Papi : OK, I'll give you my new IC number. It's 010101-01-0001.

Officer 2 : Yes, you got an outstanding summons.

Papi : But I paid, the receipt number is YYY YYYY.

Officer 2 : *check check* oh ya. hmm.....

Papi : .........

Officer 2 : In the database, you have 2 summonses lar.

Papi : What?!! Two?

Officer 2 : Yeah, let me check first. When is the summons for the accident issued?

Papi : The date written here is blah blah blah...

Officer 2 : hmmm....It shows you have two summonses. One you have settled. hmm...I think silap lar...(silap : mistake)

Papi : huh??!

Officer 2 : You have to come down here lar, to see our officer. Then we check for you.

Papi : Aiya, cannot settle through the phone ah? I can fax you my receipt.

Officer 2 : Cannot lar, must come down here. If not you 'teruk' tau. (In deep shit!)

Papi : *gulp* OK lar. Thanks.

I think they might have entered the summons twice into the system. So even though I have paid my fine, there will still be one outstanding. Aiya, looks like I have no choice but to go down to settle this. Very the 'mah fan'.

mah fan : Cantonese meaning troublesome..

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Ops Warta IV

Every year, we read about stunned and shocked men, and women, clad in singlet and bermuda pants, being greeted by the royal policemen at their home, informing them of their outstanding summons for traffic offences. And every year, we read about the thousands of summons issued for various traffic offense commited and millions of ringgit in compound that are owed to the police. And still every year, we listened to various excuses given by these people who were caught off-guard. "Lupa lah", "Talak duit", "Saya ingat itu kawan sudah bayar!", "It wasn't me!!".....

It's the time when different organisations will try to outdo each other and advertise their services of checking for summons, whether through the internet, automated telephony or SMS. It's also the time you will see the traffic police headquaters are flooded with people trying to pay up their summons, with the queue spilling up to the main road.

Of course, every year, I will checked through the JPJ system, which links to the PDRM system. And every year, I got the same result....

I had a minor accident back in 1998. One late afternoon, while driving back from a wedding lunch, we were involved in a 3 cars pile-up. I was driving, Mami was in the passenger sear with her little nephew, and my BIL & SIL sleeping at the back. I was tailing this car at a safe distant, when suddenly the car in front braked to a stop. I was distracted for a while, with the little nephew in front, and didn't managed to stop in time. Bang! My fault completely.

After I hit the car in front, that car rolled forward and hit the car in its front. No one was hurt, luckily. We came down to check for damages. The car I hit was driven by a lady, who worked in insurance. The other car was driven by a man with his family. I apologised and offered to settle it on the spot, but I will only be held responsible for the car I hit i.e. the lady. And the lady would have to settle it with the other car. But she refused and she wanted to claim insurance. So we ended up in the balai. I paid for the summons and fees, and then the case was mentioned in court and I was slapped with a further compound. I paid them immediately.

And still, after 7 years, their record still shows that I have an outstanding summons. Despite many, many enquiries sent to them and empty promises by officers to look into it, nothing has been done *sigh*. So what do I do? I keep a photocopy of the receipt and the summons in my wallet, ,and I bring it everywhere I go.

Looks like I need to go down south to meet them again to clarify this for once and for all.

Monday, January 17, 2005


This morning, Mami ran to me to alert me on a blog by Buaya69.

"Papi, Papi! Michael's wife has SLE." she said.

"Is it?, Let me check."

SLE or systemic lupus erythematosus is not something that is alien to us.

In the year 2001, Mami went to her GP, complaining of a puffiness (swelling) on her face. What we thought was caused by lack of sleeps, turned out to be something else. Something more serious.

"I suspect it's SLE. Or Lupus." the doc said.

"Huh? What?" Mami was stunned.

"Lupus. It is actually an autoimmune disease, which caused the human natural autoimmune system to attacks it's own body, organ and cells. In particular, the connective tissue. It's also know as connective tissue disease." the doc explained.


"One of the symptom is rashes around the face" The doc continued.

"But that's because I was walking under the sun, and it was hot." Mami countered, feeling confused.

"Yes, but I am suspecting Lupus. Your skin is photo-sensitive, and reacts to UV light causing inflammation, thus rashes around your face."

"What causes it, this Lu...Lupus?"

"We don't know. Scientists and doctors are still looking for answers."

"Is there a cure for it?"


Later Mami was referred to a specialist for more tests. The tests came back positive. From the doctor's (a rheumatologist) explanation, we found out that it is difficult to actually pin point the type of the disease because there is no specific symptom(s) that points to a particular autoimmune disease and the diagnostic is quite general. It could be SLE (Lupus), Scleroderma, Rheumatoid arthritis and many more. And in Mami's case, it's still at an early stage and very mild. So the doctor has categoried it as Mixed Connective Tissue disease or Undifferentiated Connective Tissue disease.

She was given steroid (daily, on a low dose) to put the disease under control. This is important to ensure that the disease does not developed further and starts to attack the vital organs. Some of the symptoms she experienced were unexplained fever, fatique, skin rash, muscle ache, migraine and joint pain.

Then in 2003, after much consultations and advices from the rheumatologist, we decided to have a baby. Mami's condition has 'somewhat' stabilised, her symptoms has reduced and the doctor gave us a green light. She stopped taking steroids, but she had to take aspirin (apart from folic acid) to prevent blood clot. Her blood is 'thick'.

During her pregnancy period, Mami constantly went for checkups (including bloodtests), both with her rheumatologist and her obstetrician (her gynae), to monitor both Mami's and the baby's health. The rheumatologist and the obstetrician kept each other updated about Mami's condition. And 9 months later, Yiyi was born!! :)

Quoting the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases webpage on SLE: "Although a lupus pregnancy is considered high risk, most women with lupus carry their babies safely to the end of their pregnancy"

And our Yiyi is a proof of that.

To Michael and Emily, be strong. I am sure everything will turn out just fine. Our prayers are with you. My advice is go for checkup regularly, both for the disease and the baby. If both of the specialists are from the same hospital, even better. They can keep each other updated. Best wishes from Papi and Mami.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Takde Karen

I was driving back home around noon, when suddenly Mix FM went dead. I switched to Hitz. Static. Light & Easy. Nope. Hmmm....?? I thought I lost my antenna or maybe my radio is out. 988 Chinese station, eh? OK lar.

Then the traffic lights. All the lights I passed through were out. It was havoc, cars and lorries from all directions were not giving way. Everybody tried to squeeze in. Surprisingly, the Touch & Go is working. So I got home about 1/2 hour later.

At home, my auto-gate didn't work. I honked for Mami. "No eletric" she shouted out to me.

"Are you sure it's not our fuse?" I asked.

"I think so"

We prepared to go out and send Yiyi to my parent's house. Along the way, more un-powered traffic lights. "Looks like the whole neighbourhood is affected" I said. When I reached my parent's house, their auto-gate wasn't working either. "Looks like it's something more serious" I thought to myself.

"Johor and Melaka also affected" my dad said.

"Is it?" I asked.

"Ya, your uncle called, saying Johor also no electricity"

"Yayy!! No need to go back to work!" Mami shouted, excitedly.

I called back to the office. Yup, no electricity alright. It was at this point of time that we realised how dependant we are to electricity, and technology. I started to think I could check out what's wrong on the Internet, maybe through PPS or The Star. But wait, no electricity lar, how to check. ha ha ha... ok, how about a radio? A battery-powered radio. If only we could find one....

However, we did found one, in my mom's toilet. But it was broken. With nothing to do, and eager to know what's going on, I opened it up and tried to fix it. Oh ok, just a broken volume dial. Fixed it back, and began to listen to news over some stations. Selangor, KL, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor were affected by the power failure. Traffic lights is most places don't work, as well as lifts in high buildings.

My dad got a call from a friend, asking for help. "Aiya, my fish all turning belly up lar. You got a generator ah?" he said. He runs a restaurant. Looks like the 3-4 hours blackout is going to cost TNB some money!

In the news, when asked when the power will be restored, the TNB official replied "Saya rasa dalam 3 jam" (I thnk in about 3 hours). Moments after hearing that, Mami's got a call from her boss.

Papi : What your boss want?

Mami : The power is back in the office.

Papi : Is it?! (Surprised!!) So how? What did he say?

Mami : Nothing lor.

Papi : Aiya, he wants you to go back office lor. If not, why bother calling you, right?

Surprisingly, TNB is quite fast to restore the power. So here we are in the office, Mami is doing some work and I am typing this post.

takde karen: Malay loosely translated as no current or no electricity

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

What is Trackback?

When I started blogging, I began to check out the 'extensions', and I found out that the commenting and trackback system is a must. Everyone knows that the commenting system allows you to comment on certain topics, whether good or bad. But what the heck is trackback??

Reading up on trackback brought me nowhere. "Ping between blogs", "trackback URL", I was confused. Anyway, I still put up a trackback link on my blog, and hope 1 day I would figure it out. And I did.

Here's a guide to trackback.

This is actually based on Haloscan I am using. If you are using a different system, it should not be much different. The concept is still the same.

There are two scenarios: You were ping-ed, or you ping other people. Think of it as an SMS, you received SMS or you SMS people.

So far so good? OK. First, let's look at how you were ping-ed.

You received ping from others.
When someone read your blog, and decided to write about it in their blog, they ping you. It's like saying "Hey, I have written something about your post, come over and check it out!". At the end of each post, you will see the Trackback hyperlink (See pic below).

Picture 1

Click on the 'Trackback(*)' link and you get this (Pic below)

Picture 2

The URL in circle is the Trackback URL. Other people use this URL to ping you. More about this later.

So how do you know someone ping you? Easy. Just check out the Trackback(*) link (Picture 1), where the * indicates how many ping you have received for that particular post.

Alternatively, login to Haloscan and click the Manage Trackback link on the left menu bar (See pic below). Similar to your comments, you should see a list of pings you received for various posts in your blog, and options for delete, edit or ban the pingers.

Picture 3

So what do you do with these Trackback pings? Well, you don't have to reply to them like a comment, but these pings provide you with the pinger's blog URL. So just go check out what they have to say in their blog.

You want to ping others
So, similarly, you are reading a post in someone's blog, and you wanted to write something about the post in your blog. And of course, you want to inform the other guy/gal (and other readers as well) that you have written something in your blog. So you ping them. Macam PPS lar.

First you need the other guy's Trackback URL. At the end of his post, click the Trackback link (See Picture 1 above). The popup should display the Trackback URL. Copy it.

Then go into your Haloscan, click the Manage Trackback link on the left menu bar. Then in the main area, you should see this (See picture below).

Picture 4

Click on the "Send a trackback ping" link. You will see a page that is very similar to PPS ping (see pic below).

Picture 5

So on this page, you fill up the:
-Your Blog Name,
-Your Permalink URL - The URL of your post in your blog.
-Your Post Title
-Your Excerpt - A bit of what we will get to read on your post. Like trailers lar.
-The URLs to Ping - this is where you put in the Trackback URL. Paste it here.

When everyhing's done, click the 'Ping Now' button, and you should have a confirmation that your ping is successful. Yeay!!

So then you can go back to the guy/gal's blog and click on the Trackback(*) link. again. The popup should show your trackback ping with your blog URL and excerpt.

Trackback is a great way to link bloggers together. Readers who wanted to read more, can check out the trackbacks, and find out more about other's opinions, similar stories and experiences. During the Tsunami disaster, Mack Zulkifli of Brand New Malaysian put trackback function to good use by linking bloggers who blogged about the disaster.

Happy Trackbacking!! :)


We were at a hypermarket in Kelana Jaya yesterday when we bumped into a group of ladies buying loads and loads of female undergarment and sanitary pads. We figured it was for Tsunami aid effort. (But I thought they no longer accept clothing, no?)

When we were about to leave, and pay for our stuff , we bumped into them again at the cashier. There were 3 women (from the same group) at the cashier, helping the cashier to load them into their trolley, with boxes and plastic bags. And being the shortest queue at the cashiers, I decided to queue behind them.

It was quite a long wait, with loads of undergarment, spilled onto the floor, the cashier was having a hard time sorting out those stuff. I wasn't in a hurry, so I just admired their effort and time they put in for the Tsunami victims.

Then out of a sudden, I noticed another lady from another queue, heading my way. She was actually queuing in the next queue, which was longer than mine, and it seems that her queue was a bit slow as well, and she was getting a bit impatient. She pushed her trolley in front of mine, and tried to get into the gap my trolley and the group in front. I looked at her, smiling.

"Saya satu group dengan dia orang. Kami nak hantar untuk Tsunami. Bagi saya dulu."
Translation: I am in the same group with them. We are sending those for the Tsunami (disaster relief effort). Let me go first.

No thank you, no please, no excuse me.

I'm a gentleman, so I let her go first. I looked at her trolley. Some vegetables and some grocery stuff. Didn't looked like it's for Tsunami victims. But she was with the group alright, although she just stood there doing nothing, not helping the other women with those bags and boxes.

Some time Malaysian can be a kind lot when it comes to relief efforts and helping the needy. But (some) Malaysian turns ugly when it comes to these small things: jumping queues, holding the lift, inconsiderate parking, stopping at the zebra crossing, helping a lady and her baby...the list goes on and on....

Tricked Mind

Have you ever been in a situation where your mind is thinking of one thing and your body is doing another thing? It's as if your mind is being tricked that it is actually doing the right thing.

Case 1
I was driving when I reached the cash toll booth on NKVE. For those who are not familiar with NKVE, it is a tolled expressway in Malaysia, linking Jalan Duta in Kuala Lumpur to Bukit Raja in Klang. For cash transaction, as you enter the highway, a ticket is collected from the toll booth, which indicates your entry point. Then when you exit, you returned the ticket to the toll booth operator, who will calculate the toll charges you need to pay.

I stopped my car next to the toll booth and rolled down my window, and proceed to pass the ticket to the operator. But, somehow, the operator refused to take my ticket. I was holding the ticket on one hand, and searching for money with the other hand, and the operator simply refused to take my ticket. Her hand was sticked out to receive it, but she didn't want my ticket. I was about to yell at her, when I realised I was holding a funny looking, colourful 'ticket'. It was my card calendar. Feeling embarassed and stupid, I quickly reach for the real ticket and passed it to her, which she processed it in no time.

Case 2:
Again I was driving. This time on the North-South Expressway, and I was using the Touch n Go. So I drove up to the reader, next to the toll booth, rolled down my window, with my left hand reaching for the card. Passing it to my right hand, I touched the reader with the card, hoping to hear the familiar 'beep' sound. Nothing. I touched again. Still nothing.

Then I realised I am holding a really weird looking card. It looks more like my parking tag for my office building. A circular black plastic tag, with a suction rubber on one side. Only then I realised I have reached for the wrong tag.

Case 3:
I was in front of the mirror, cleaning myself up, getting ready to go to work. As always I use gel (not Gatsby) for my hair. I put some gel onto the palm of my hand, spread it evenly on both palms and rub it together. Then I applied it on my ..... chest!! WTH??

It must have been 1-2 seconds before I realised it, and felt stupid.

So, am I getting old or absent-minded?? Or I got too many things on my mind?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


For 30 seconds, I think. Mami thought it was 5 minutes long.

We were shopping for some gifts last Saturday when we decided to check out the new HSL electrical appliance outlet in Subang Parade shopping centre. HSL has moved from their usual location on the Lower Ground floor, near Parkson, to the other end of the complex, where Toys 'R' Us used to be.

After asking the HSL attendant for an item we were looking for and wandering around for some time, we decided to go to Toys 'R' Us, located on the First floor. If you are familiar with Subang Parade, as soon as you come out from HSL (formerly occupied by Toys 'R' Us), the 2 lifts are right in front of the shop.

Coming out of HSL and seeing one of the lift's doors ajar, I quicken my steps to the lift and asked Mami to hurry up. I saw the lift panel (inside the lift), reached out my hand and finger, directing it to the 'Open' button (to hold the lift), stepped into the lift and .... suddenly my right foot lost ground!!
My body was unable to balance itself and lunged forward. My hands were trying to grab whatever it could reach or find on the side of the lift. It found nothing. When my right foot finally touched the ground, my left leg was quick to respond by moving forward to take on the weight of my body, preventing me from falling flat on my face. All those years of watching kung fu movies did pay off.

I quickly turned around, only to see the lift's door closing shut just in time. S**t! I was trapped. I can barely hear Mami screaming outside. "Are you OK??!!". I tried to remain calm and looked around. The lift was actually not level with the floor, it was actually lower, with a 5-inches descend.

Outside, Mami panicked. She saw a security guard outside HSL, a few paced from the lift and asked for help. "Saya tak tahu. Saya kerja sini" the pak-guard said, pointing to HSL and at the same time, turned away. She was hoping for the caring, kind-hearted and helpful spirit shown in the recent Tsunami disaster, but then immediately she realised it was the same people who donated torn bras, dirty diapers, empty tins and used relief centres as dumping ground.

Meanwhile, I was still trapped inside the lift. I tried the buttons. 'Open'. Didn't work. 'Close'. Didn't work either. 'G' for Ground Floor. Nothing. '1' for First Floor. Tough luck. Then I examined the see-through glass wall of the lift. I will break the glass wall if I need to. But then I realised I am no Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jackie Chan and this is not a Hollywood movie and that thick glass wall is no candy-glass.

Outside, Mami still panicked. She tried the buttons on the outside with no luck. She cried to me "Are you, OK?!!". She looked around to see whether she could ask for help. All she could see was the pak-guard walking away.

Seeing that the doors were not responding to any of the buttons, or me prying on the doors with my fingers, I decided to try the intercom. There was a button with a bell symbol on it and a speaker/microphone unit next to it. I raised my hand to press the button, when suddenly the doors slid open!! And standing out there, was Mami. With a worry face, she kept asking me whether I was hurt or injured. After making sure I was OK, she laughed herself silly. The whole thing turned out to be quite funny.

When we walked passed the pak-guard, he lowered his head, pretending he didn't see us. He didn't have the gut to look at us.

For those who intend to visit Subang Parade, please be careful with the lifts. It's always faulty, and sometime it takes ages to come to your floor. Make sure it's levelled with the floor, before you step in, especially if you are pushing a baby stroller.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Fetching kids from school

I am sure, some of you might have been listening to stories of your friends/relatives/colleagues/bloggers or even experience it yourself, the 'adventure' of the kid's first day at school. Every year, the media, both TV and newspapers, will be carrying stories of first day of school, showing pictures of sobbing little boys and girls who have to be dragged to school, and interviews with little kids on what they like most about school, of which they replied: "Ada Chikadees!!"

Some parents have to rise as early as 5am to prepare the kids to school and to rush to work afterward. Some have to take leaves to attend to their kids and accompany them at school. Picking them back from school is also another problem. And the rush-hour traffic is not helping either. A colleague of mine, has to leave the office at 5pm sharp to pick her boy from his school located in one of the most difficult area in USJ. "And the worst is most of the parents want to pick their child up right in front of the school gate, causing a massive jam!" she complained. So what does she do? She parked about 1 km away from the school and walk to pick her son up. "But remember to bring an umbrella" she said, speaking from experience. During the last Thursday evening downpour, she and her son was drenched!

I remember I never needed my parents to send me to school. Staying near to the school, both primary and secondary, has it advantages. I remember after the kindy, my dad asked me "So, do you want to go to the malay primary school (national school) or to the chinese school in Klang?". I gave it a thought, and said "Malay school". Why? Because, one, it was near to our home, and two, I'll be seeing some of my kindy friends there. I was quite independent, and knows my way around the neighbourhood. So I never needed my parents to accompany me to school, with exception the first day for registration.

A different story with my younger brother though. My dad figured that since I am in a Malay school, so he sent my brother to a chinese school. In Klang. About 30 minutes on a bus ride. But sometime, if the bus was unavailable (due to some reasons), he has to send my brother to school. At that time, my dad rode a Vespa. A few hundred meters before he reach the school.....

Bro : Pa, drop me here lar.

Dad : No lar, I send you to the school compound.

Bro : No need lar, here can, later you late for work.

Dad : No lar, I send you.

Bro : It's ok, I can walk from here.

Dad : *stop Vespa about 200 meters from school*

Bro : Pa, you pick me up from here ah, I wait for you here.

Dad : I can pick you up from the gate mah?

Bro : No lar, I wait for you here..

My dad knows what my brother was thinking. Later we found out that he was actually embarassed if his friends saw his dad riding a Vespa in dirty working cloths . My other colleague has the same story. Her daughter asked her whether she could come and pick her up in her office attire, instead of t-shirt and slippers. "Malulah" she said.

In a few years, it will be our turn to send Yiyi to school and experience it for real. I hope Yiyi doesn't ask me to stop a couple of meters away so she could walk to school. :)

Chikadees : An extinct junk food from the late 70s and early 80s. A salty, heavily MSG-ed snack with a mascot bird named Charlie Chikadee. In the ads he sang "Saya Charlie Chikadee, Sungguh enak sekali, Marilah mari, Saya Charlie Chickadee". It was a very popular snack those days, and had become synonymous with junk food/snack, just like Maggi Mee to instant noodles. Ask ur mom or dad, they will know.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Learning New Words

We have been teaching Yiyi new words every day. Now she can say duck as 'duck-duck', moon as 'moo', star as 'ste', tree as 'ti', flower as 'fa' (Cantonese), and many more simple 1-syllable words.

But she has a way to memorise these words...

One day....

Papi : Yiyi, look at this. *holding a Malaysian currency note*

Yiyi : *look*

Papi : Agong. (Referring to the picture of the Malaysia's first YDP Agong, Tuanku Abdul Rahman)

Yiyi : Agong.... Agong....Agong.....Agong......

Papi : Yes, Agong.

Yiyi : Agong.... Agong....Agong.....Agong......Agong ....Agong....

And she can go on, and on, and on....


Mami : Yiyi, what is this? *holding a picture education book*

Yiyi : *look, puzzled*

Mami : This is a bug. Can you say 'bug'?

Yiyi : Bug!

Mami : Yes, so clever.

Yiyi : Bug...bug...bug...bug...bug...bug...bug...

Mami : This is a cake. *point to a picture of cake* Can you say cake?

Yiyi : Bug...bug...bug...bug....

Mami : No, this is a cake. Cake.

Yiyi : Bug...bug...bug...bug...bug...bug...bug...bug...bug...bug...

And she went on and on and on,...

We have even teach her how to 'gong xi, gong xi', and we are now teaching her how to say 'Gong Xi Gong Xi'. Whenever she heard a Chinese New Year ads on TV, she would hold up her hands, clasps it together, and wave them up and down, which would sent GrandPa and GrandMa laughing out loud..

Maybe later I will teach her to say "Uncle, Hong Bao Nah Lai" ;)

gong xi : a Mandarin greeting in Chinese New Year to congratulate or to wish one's well. Normally, one would hold a fist on the left, and the right palm covers the fist, and then wave both hand up and down.

Hong Bao Nah Lai : Mandarin meaning 'please give me an ang pow'.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Holiday Planning

Every new year, I like to check out the calendar, to see, when are the public holidays, when are the school holidays, things like that. Some organisations require their employees to plan their annual leave in advance. They will be given a calendar-like chart, for them to indicate when they are planning to take their leaves. That way the company would be able to plan their resources and to avoid having all the employees taking leaves at the same period of time.

Here's a guide on the public holidays and the days you could plan your leave (For Selangor folks).

1. New Year's Day (1 Jan 2005)
Well that's over already, next!

2. Hari Raya Haji (21 jan 2005) and Thaipusam (25 Jan 2005 - For Selangor, JH,NS,PR,PP Only)
Raya Haji is on a Friday, and Thaipusam's Tuesday of the week after. So for those in working in Selangor, JH,NS,PR,and PP, by taking a day off on 24 Jan 05 (Monday) you will have a long 5 days off.

3. Federal Territory Day (1 Feb 2005 - For KL, Putrajaya, Labuan only)
FT Day is on a Tuesday, by taking Monday off, you will have a long weekend! I am working in Selangor but I am not complaining he he he.

4. Chinese New Year!! (9 & 10 Feb 2005), Awal Muharam (10 Feb 2005)
The CNY falls on the 9 & 10, which is on Wednesday and Thursday. The Awal Muharam also falls on the 10th, which is already a public holiday, so it will be replaced on the 11th, a Friday, no? This is what I plan to do. Take 2 days (Monday & Tuesday) off before CNY and 2 days off (Monday & Tuesday) the week after. So I will have a long, long holiday from 5 Feb 2005 till 15 Feb 2005. :)

5. March - No holiday :( Bad news for parents whose child are schooling. The school holidays are on this month.

6. Maulidur Rasul (21 Apr 2005)
Maulidur Rasul is on a Thursday. Take Friday off, to have a long weekend!

7. Labour Day (1 May 2005) and Wesak Day (22 May 2005)
Both fall on a Sunday, thus the next Monday is a holiday. So you can take either the Friday or Tuesday off, for a long weekend.

8. June & July - No holiday. (except for Birthday of YDP Agong on Saturday 4 June)
These two are going to be very long and slowwww...months.

9. National Day (31 Aug 2005)
It's on a Wednesday. I am not planning any leave here.

10. September - No holiday.
Another long month!

11. Nuzul Al-Quran (21 Oct 2005 - For Selangor, KN,PH,PR,PL,PP,TR Only)
It's on a Friday, so take either the Thursday or the following Monday off for a long weekend. I personally prefer the Monday off. :)

12. Deepavali (1 Nov 2005) & Hari Raya Puasa (3 & 4 Nov 2005)
Deepavali is on Tuesday, Raya holiday is on Thursday and Friday. By taking Monday and Wednesday off, you won't have to work for the whole week!!

13. Christmas Day (25 Dec 2005)
Christmas is on Sunday, so the following Monday is a holiday. I would be taking Tuesday off, then work for 3 days, then another public holiday for the New Year!

So there you go. Oh, I love working in Selangor, the public holiday heaven, with a total of 17 public holidays! So how many days off would you have taken if you follow my guide above? 12 days. So if you have 17 days off like me, you can bring forward the 5 days to next year!

School Holidays (with exception to Christmas, there are no public holidays during the school holidays. So parents have to take their annual leaves if they are planning for a holiday with their children):
March 12 - 20
May 28 - June 12
August 20-28
Nov 12 - Jan 2, 2006

JH-Johor,NS-Negeri Sembilan,PR-Perak,PP-Pulau Pinang,KN-Kelantan,PH-Pahang,PL-Perlis,TR-Terengganu

Gmail Swap

I was checking out Hafiz's foreclosure of a dream, on Gmail-mania and Gmail Swap when I decided to do this.

I have some Gmail invites and I am creating this page/entry for those who wish for a Gmail invite. For those who are interested, simply leave a comment (and a nice one) and your email address on the commenting system.


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The ugly human

Although many people are out there are voluntering their effort, time and money in helping with relief effort for the tsunami disaster, still there are other people who is taking advantage of the situation.

First we read about how certain people used the donation drive organised by some organisations as a 'tong sampah'. We read on how some people were using this as an opportunity to do some house cleaning and some unwanted items, such as torn cloths, shoes, useless stuffs were 'donated' to the donation centres.

Then we read about how certain commercial organisations were making money (tsu-money) out of this tragedy.

We also read about how people in Kota Kuala Muda (and I am sure elsewhere as well) are facing looting problem, especially those houses that are still intact and were asked to evacuate.

And now, this...According to United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef), human traffikers were preying on Acheh's kids who were made homeless or orphaned by the killer waves. There was at least one confirmed case where a kid was smuggled out of Acheh to Medan.

According to Unicef's spokesman for Indonesia, John Budd:
...he said Unicef's Malaysian office had received an SMS yesterday advertising 300 orphans from Aceh aged between three and 10 for sale.

“It's chilling,” Budd said. “What this indicates is that they have got children or they have a network where they can identify a child and take them.”

The Indonesian government was quick to put on a child travel ban to prevent child trafficking, and they are currently are trying to trace and register all homeless or orphaned children so that they could be tracked.

It was estimated that about 35,000 child were made homeless or orphaned in Acheh.

Sometime, human can be very 'ugly'.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Step by Step

Yiyi's now 15 months old. She is growing up pretty nicely, putting on weight. She was a bit underweight a couple of months ago. We tried a few formulas, and she likes the current one the best, which is also the most expensive in the market.

She is also very keen to learn new things. She tried to imitate whatever we do or say. The other day, we were talking about the Tsunami disaster and Acheh, and all the while she was repeating "A-ceh, A-ceh" and then giggled. She also likes to read, or rather look at, the newspaper. Every evening, when I got home, she will point to the newspaper, and wants me to read to her.

But best of all, she is beginning to walk!!

Earlier, I blogged about how she's a bit slow in walking, because Papi Mami have been pampering her too much, ha ha ha. We have seen a 9-month old baby walking, running and jumping. Over the past few weeks, she is getting a bit stronger, thus we tried to train her to walk.

First, we sat down on the floor, about 2-3 feet apart, facing each other. Mami would hold Yiyi, and then asked her to walk over to me. At first, we hold her hands, and then slowly we let her go on her own. Then we sat further apart, about 5 feet. Her legs were wobbly at first, GrandPa said like she was drunk. But they're getting stronger and steady. Sometime, she would run towards me from Mami's arm. Sometime, she would dived into my arms.

And now, she could hold on to things and stand on her own. She can also walk on her own by holding on to the table, or sofas. And the longest she could walk completely on her own, without any assistance, is about 5 seconds. Actually she was more like running!! ha ha ha..

Anyway, looks like our plan to have her walking by Chinese New Year is looking good. Oh ya, she also starts calling us Papi and Mami. :)