Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Wonder Years

I guess to commemorate the story on the right, it would be nice to hear the theme song from one of my favourite TV series and a poignant moment.

I have to admit this was one of my most favourite show in the late 80s, if not the most. A great time travel series, albeit not one physically. I guess it is a real life time travel - in the mind.

I thought she was one of the cutest gal in the world then - the second in my mind; the 3rd being being Phoebe Cates. The cutest? Well, it is for me to know, and for you to find out.

Hahaha...that's not me at fourty something saying, but me at twenty something!



If you were a boy growing up in the late '80s or early '90s, odds are you had a crush on Danica McKellar. She played Winnie Cooper, the object of Fred Savage's obsession on "The Wonder Years." The nostalgia-fueled sitcom has been off the air since '93, but Ms. McKeller still has legions of fans. Today, most of them are heartbroken. Their fair Winnie is officially off the market.

Yep, this past weekend, Danica got married. The nuptials caused a huge surge in Search. Men pushed queries on "danica mckellar married" and "winnie cooper married" through the roof. McKellar, who is now an author and mathematician, also saw queries rise on her famed photo spread for Stuff Magazine. Searches on the groom, composer Mike Verta, also hit a high note. Not surprisingly, the majority of Danica's lookups came from male Gen-Xers.

But it wasn't just the bride who saw a boon in Search. The maid of honor got some love as well. Danica's sister, Crystal McKellar, was in the wedding party. Crystal is best known for playing Kevin's ex-girlfriend turned archrival, Becky Slater. She memorably punched Kevin in the stomach after he broke up with her. Fans of the show haven't forgotten about the oft-spurned Becky. After news of the wedding hit, queries surged on "crystal mckellar photos."

According to E! Online, Mr. Savage (now a director of dubious talents) didn't attend the wedding, but his TV parents, Dan Lauria and Alley Mills, were there. No word on Josh Saviano, who played Kevin's best friend, Paul Pfeiffer. Regardless, queries surged on the Pfeif. Also spiking: the popular urban legend that states that Mr. Saviano and shock-rocker Marilyn Manson are actually one and the same. They're not, but the truth is a lot scarier: Saviano is now a lawyer.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Life is like an ice-cream

You know, it is very seldom I would watch a Hindi movie on a Saturday afternoon.

I mean in the 70s I used to be a fan. Who would not after watching Bobby at a KL cinema in 1974 on the 104th day and other great movies the they churned out then including Aa Gale lag Jae. But I lost interest in the current crops, or even in the 90s with those with the famous song Kuch Kuch hota hey or something along that line.

They were so boring and artificial.

Not having anything else better to while my time away, I decided to turned on the telly and what I saw kept me interested until the end.

Black is the name of the movie and it is the story of a retarded and blind girl Michelle McNally and her journey through life and the faith of her guru. It is eye opening and has nothing like the boy meets girl Hindi movie and it is partially in English and Hindi.

She struggled her way to the university and failed it 3 years in a row. But they even celebrated her failure for it was a success to get her to the university in the first place.

It is a moving story. Both the lead actor and actress fitted in their role.

Says her guru - I don't recall his name, when they went out to get ice-cream, "Life is like an ice-cream. Enjoy it before it melts!"

He could not have said it better. I was left pondering afterward and it kept me interested in the movie.

Arif said this when he came back with his results recently, "Dunia belum kiamat!"

I know that, but coming from him I considered it as an excuse not to perform well in whatever you do.

Another teacher sms-ed me recently and asked me how I am doing. I told her about Arif's results instead and lamented on how he could have done better. She replied, "SPM is just an exam to enable students to continue their studies. It is not a measure of success in life. Please tell him that and congrats!"

Well, coming from a former teacher of mine I thought so highly then, and being a Maal Hijrah recepient herself after steering an MRSM to the top the academics world in Malaysia, Cikgu Dr Fatanah is not someone I can simply dismissed.

I am sure in those days, she would have pushed us all to do well in our exams, and I am sure that when she was the principal of that particular MRSM, she would have pushed her students to do well. But I am sure she has been in the academic world of secondary school long enough to see that way.

Life is like an ice-cream.

Vanilla for me please. On second thought, make that a mixture of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry please.

EPILOGUE (updated 22/3)

So I browsed Wikipidia and found the following info:

Black (Hindi: ब्लैक, Urdu: بلیک) is a 2005 Indian film in Hindi and Indian English directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Black revolves around a blind, deaf and mute girl, and her relationship with her teacher who himself later suffers from Alzheimer's disease. The first half of the film is an adaptation of Helen Keller's autobiography The Story of My Life.

The film was screened at the Casablanca Film Festival and the International Film Festival of India.[1] It won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi and eleven Filmfare Awards. Time Magazine (Europe) selected the film as one of the 10 Best Movies of the Year 2005 from across the globe. The movie was positioned at number five.[2] Indiatimes Movies ranks the movie amongst the Top 25 Must See Bollywood Films.[3]

Friday, March 13, 2009

So, if I can't get a best-student son,

can I instead have a pilot son, one who would serenade me with classical (and all the pop songs that I love so much) on the piano, and on the violin,  and yet is inclined religiously, and with social and political  awareness to boot?

Am I asking too much?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ultravox's Vienna

I remember the first time I was in a first world.

Being a bright-eyed boy (even if I said so myself - hahaha), hardly touching 18, I was mesmerized by Perth. The cool, crisp and pleasant air of February of 81 will be never be matched again. After all, February is a mid-summer month for the southern hemisphere, and that morning of February was anything but.

But I guess then was at the initial phase of the invasion of music video, and I was bowled over by Ultravox's Vienna. Back then I thought that this was the best music video that I had ever seen and 30 years later, I still think that that is still the best music video ever made.

The chilling winter ambience of Vienna is still etched in my mind, and of course Midge Ure's voice is clearly haunting!


Vienna - Ultravox

We walked in the cold air

Freezing breath on a window pane,

Lying and waitin.

The man in the dark in a picture frame,

So mystic and soulful

A voice reaching out in a piercing cry,

It stays with you until

The feeling has gone only you and I

It means nothing to me

This means nothing to me.

Oh Vienna

The music is weaving

Haunting notes, pizzicato strings,

The rhythm is calling.

Alone in the night as the daylight brings,

A cool empty silence

The warmth of your hand and a cold grey sky,

It fades to the distance

The image has gone only you and I

It means nothing to me

This means nothing to me

Oh, Vienna.

This means nothing to me

This means nothing to me

Oh, Vienna

Stupid Tunnel and the Great KL Flood

(Pic from The Star Thursday March 5, 2009)

I am not sure whether I should be amused, bemused, or bewildered.

Honestly, I don't even know whether I should laugh or should cry.

I am of course referring to last week's flood in KL, when a good part of downtown KL was flooded.

Of course many were saying that we should not blame the government, or for that matter SMART tunnel. Of course the SMART tunnel was not supposed to alleviate flood in the KL, so says all the mainstream newspaper in Malaysia, and the SMART spokesman has told everyone not to blame them since the flood was beyond them.

Of course!

After spending RM2 Billion, SMART tunnel is just another project to enrich the coffer of the cronies.

I have written about the SMART Tunnel way back in 2007, and I guess there is nothing else I could ad here, except t0 say that when the project was on-going, the same newspaper were trumpeting that the flood will be something of a past in Kuala Lumpur.

But now? Tu yang headline Utusan kata "Project SMART atasi banjir kilat di Lembah Klang" tuh aper?

Nevermind, I should not say much. It gets my blood boiling and it is not good for my health!

Smart Tunnel & The Stupid Bureaucrats (posted June 12, 2007 at

145 magnify
I am furious.
HELLO, one don't spend that much money if it is not going to alleviate the flood problem. We put up the hole just for the sake of having a hole in the ground?
The bureucrats were scrambling trying to defend themselves. First they said that the tunnel is not fully functional (the flood mitigation part). Then they said that it will not fully solved KL flood problem. Yet, once again the TPM blames it on people throwing away rubbish into the river.
Ahh, puhleezzzz, please don't insult the people's intelligence. Is the smart tunnel another way to spend the taxpayers' monies and give away contracts at inflated prices and the people got nothing out of it? A RM2b smart tunnel being thwarted by people throwing rubbish? Wow, I am amazed by the Samy Vellu-styled twisted logic and the ancient technology that we are implementing. Or may be the stupidity and shallowness of bureucrats implementing advanced technology.
(I think it is with God's grace that He is showing the true face of our bureucrats. Within a month after the opening of the smart tunnel, KL had its big flood. Not once, but twice in two days! In China, many would be executed by the court; in Japan, they would commit harakiri but in Malaysia, they will get front-paged, with a payrise and promotion to boot. )
If it is not fully functional, then why charge RM2 per car?

After spending RM1.9 b on the so-called smart terowong, the government is saying, to quote Utusan, "Jangan harapkan SMART - Terowong dwifungsi itu tidak dapat atasi sepenuhnya banjir di KL". Typical government backtracking, after spending billions!

You compare between the recent report on the left and the previous reports on the right. Tell me which words you did not understand, Ir Keizrul (Ketua Pengarah JPS) or were the mainstream newspapers lying when they published the earlier reports? It is simple malay that says it all - JAMIN BEBAS, ATASI. Strong words indeed. I am ashamed to be sharing the Ir title with you. Oh it is ok, I don't go by that title and in any case it is no longer being used by the Institution of Engineers (IEM). It has reverted to the simple english word Engr.
If I have the time, I would search for all the reports that have highlighted the 'smartness' of the smart tunnel the past 5 years and we shall see if what they are saying makes any sense or if they are lying through their teeth. I am sure earlier when trying to justify the tunnel, they would even say that the smart tunnel is so smart that not only KL flash flood will be a thing of the past, it even qualifies to study at Harvard, or can even makes teh tarik and nasik lemak, if it wants to. Typical exaggerated justification paper.

Nah bacalah if you have the time, this time more technical. (If you like boring work done by boring engineers, bacalah. There must be a reason why it is called boring! Hahaha (pun intended!)) The title says smart solution to KL's flooding. It implies THE solution, not partial solution. A solution that is implemented will solve a problem. Then you would declare that as a solution. (I love the internet era. Info at your finger's tip. It is ok, Dr M. With the internet, Melayu tak mudah lupa dah.)

We love doing piecemeal solutions - solution that does not solve anything as a standalone project, but require say 10 other billion-ringgit projects to make them functional. We add pumps here and there, at another place besarkan longkang, or add another drain, so in the end all these piecemeals solutions would get you nowhere but trouble. I wonder where did they go for their university education or did they plan this so that the cake can be shared around? Remember the LRT debacle? We have the Star, the Putra, the Monorail, and the KTM Komuter and yet this is the world's worst disintegrated and disoriented railway system!
These are two of the many things that make us the lauging stock of the world.
I am boiling.
PS Yang baru kawin tu, tapi pengantin lama, tidur lah waktu malam je. Siang-siang ni, jenguk-jenguk lah anak-anak buah buat keje (to quote Rosli Gelong). Gaji pun baru naik 35 persen.

The right to an opinion

I am appalled to read that my fellow citizens were bombarded with water cannons and tear gas last saturday (and I have to say that I have been there before).

While I differ in my opinion on the PPSMI, I thought it was within their right to protest the policy peacefully.

What do you think they would do if they were to march to Istana? I don't see the opposition parties' flags at all, so it didn't look like one organized by the PR. Why should our students, teachers and many others from all walk of life - just 8,000 of them - should be be subjected to police brutality.

Anyway, another view of the issue by The Ancient Mariner. You can read them here.

I also thought it would be 100,000 of them, but only a mere 8K attended. Honestly I believe it is a reflection of the support or rather the non-support of the Gerakan Mansuhkan PPSMI. Now I am praying hard the government would not flip-flop again, though the indication from Hishamuddin is that the policy will be changed back to Malay ("Whatever the policy, we can only implement it in January next year.")

Aah, well. That statement is hinting that there will be a change!

Oh BTW, Harakah Daily reported an attendence of 100,000. Amboi. Utusan 5,000, and Malaysiakini 8,000 which is the number I am quoting above.

""Target dan hasrat kita hari tercapai dengan terkumpulnya lebih 100,000 rakyat dan serahan memo juga berjaya disampaikan," katanya ketika dhubungi Harakahdaily kira-kira jam 5.00 petang tadi." (taken from Harakah daily).

From Albanjari Online, " Monday, March 9, 2009
Himpunan 100 ribu PPSMI di ibu negara. Ada siapa yang boleh kira ? Sapa pun tak mau pi kira..kalau ada yang rajin dok kira tu..bangang namanya ! Anggaran tu boleh laa..agak-agak. Tapi kalau anggaran macam kat bawah ni(*)..tu dah melampau ! Agak-agak la..jangan sampai nanti puak Umno kata, hangpa pun sama..banyak kelentong !

Utusan Malaysia : 5,000 orang
Malaysiakini : 8,000 orang
Al-Banjari Online : 15,000 orang(*) 
Harakahdaily : 150,000 orang ! 

Hoi..jauh sangat beza tu !

Harakah dah cuba untuk mengatasi Utusan dalam bab kelentong ke?

And Haji Hadi, please lah. Enough of meng-celaka-kan orang yang tidak bersetuju with GMP PPSMI. That's no the right thing to do for someone who is holding the title of the President of PAS. Can't we not agree to disagree on this matter at all? What is so un-islamic about English? Is this a halal haram issue?

Sudah kehabisan ke ide anda untuk berhujah secara ilmiah dan sebagai seorang intelek?

Please read it here.

"Presiden PAS, Dato' Seri Tuan Guru Haji Hadi Awang menggelarkan mereka yang masih mahu meneruskan Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik dalam Bahasa Inggeris (PPSMI) sebagai golongan celaka."

Oh dear!

But I may agree with him here, if it is true.

"Beliau turut menyelar tindakan merendahkan peratus kelulusan pelajar semata-mata kerana mahu mempertahankan Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik dalam Bahasa Inggeris (PPSMI). Tindakan tersebut kata beliau merupakan satu perbuatan yang dianggap sebagai menipu bangsa sendiri. "

Friday, March 6, 2009

Penantian itu satu penyiksaan

It is the end of an era.

I don't quite remember the exact year. I am quite sure though that it was early 80s when they hit it big. Their debut album was a classic; the song Penantian had become a hit many times over that year.

For once, the album didn't only contain love song, but many other humanity themes. The lyrics poetic, as many poems from well-known poets were used as lyrics, and the song melodious due to his genius. Perfect combination.

I can't say enough for the talent of Zubir Ali that I was shocked when I learnt about the loss. I know he's not young, but he seems to be too young to die.

Here's a tribute to the genius that was Zubir Ali.



I love Nyanyian Ombak. The intro is so soothing.


HOw about Balada Seorang Gadis Kecil?


And here is Airport Polonia sung by Azie/Harmoni.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Perhimpunan 100,000

The last in the series, not that I wish to prolong the issue, especially since they are planning for the 100K demo.

To showcase, how wonderful our education system is since the reversion to Bahasa fully in 1970, I present to you Siti Nurhaliza; I guess a former heart throb of the Malay speaking Malaysians, male especially.

Nak kato apo lagi? The product of our education system, that's for sure. Sampai cakap omputih pun tak berterabur...Hehehe.

Choker choker - mender tuh?

(But I give her full mark for trying (and making a fool of herself!))

And as pointed our by our proffessorial comentator, I would like to present ZAM, our beloved former information Minister. He is an old generation educated in Malay, may be old enough to be Siti's grandad.

Pardon? Pardon? I can't hear you. Hehehe..

But I guess the results are the same despite the generation gap.
The common denominator?

You decide.