Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dawn of A New Era?

Taken from the net, with apology from copyright owner
Or will they flatter to deceive us again (as team after team before them had done)?

I hope not, but in the aftermath of the euphoria in a nation that has not won anything of substance in soccer for the last 30 years, I thought I would like to be a bit conservative in the celebration. While I do not wish to pour cold water to the achievement of the young players, I would like to put things in perspective.

We lost two games to Indonesia, and yet we are champions. Technically we are, but morally we can't claim that we are the best in South East Asia. In a one-off game, or in this case a two-off game, anything is possible, and hence we are champions.

But let us put things in the right context. Let me say it again, this is a South East Asian tournament, and from the perspective of world soccer, we are just a droplet in the SEA of world football - the pun was unintentional.

Yes, we defended well, the boys were disciplined enough, and there were flashes of flair, but it was Indonesia all the way from start to finish. I would consider it 70-30 for the Indonesians in term of possessions, would I be wrong with my estimates?

I have to admit that I did not watch fully both games from start to finish. Heck, for someone who has supported Man United all my life, I have not watched the MU games properly since 2007. Football match especially those of United are not good for my health. They like to test the hearts of their fans. So in this respect, I am an armchair's critic.

Another thing of note, we did not win the game in Hanoi either, and Vietnam totally dominated the proceeding in their home country, as did Indonesia in Jakarta.

So we were not 3-nil better than the Indonesians, and definitely we were not 2-nil better than Vietnam too. In other words, these two teams - we should include Thailand too, are not teams we can maul every time we meet.

For sure it was not a walk in the park for Harimau Malaya for both games, except during the twelve minutes when three goals were scored on Sunday.

Well, in the context of the AFF Championship, yes, we are the champions. I can't take that away from them, so congratulations to the team. I like their fighting spirits and their mental toughness. We seldom see that in Malaysian sports.

But Borussia Dortmund and Porto were not supposed to be champions either in the previous years of the Champions League. Or Greece in 2004 European Championship. And yet, they were champions (in their own right). As I have said, anything is possible in a one-off game. Or in a single tournament.

Were they able to dominate in the subsequent years? I think you know the answer to this question.

Mind you, We did not win the away games, and we won our games in Kuala Lumpur - in fact we won the tournament in Kuala Lumpur, so you can say that we are the jaguh kampung. 

Sort of.

Don't get me wrong; I personally would like to enjoy the local game like it was in the 70s again. It was a pleasure to watch them then. But this team has not reached the height of the predecessors of the 70s. They are nowhere there yet, although they are heading towards the right direction. So let's be conservative with our praise.

I wish the boys well. They seems to have a future in them. Bask in the glory this week, and please don't bask in it for too long. Let them come back to Earth next Monday, and no later than that.

No one-acre of land, one Proton Persona and RM100K to the payers, coaches and officials please. No datukship either for Rajagopal yet. No to countless of dinner appointments, nationwide tours and excessive accolades. Let us not feast them in every state capital and every district in the country. We have not won the World Cup yet; please remember that the champions are Spain.

And FAM officials - please leave the players alone in basking the glory this week. You have been paid to do your jobs, and for someone with suits and ties in a stadium, I know you didn't do much except warming up your chairs in the cold air-conditioned office of Wisma FAM.

And my parting remark to them? Safee, please leave the country and try and gain more experience overseas. Fahmi, and Norsharul too.

It would do you and the country wonders.

There is nothing much in the country in term of competition for you to excel. To be the best, you must play with and against the best. Go and spread out to the leagues of the world, if you are up to the mark. While you may not get to join the big teams in the big leagues, bide your time in the smaller leagues and improve your standing in the eyes of your coaches.

You will be noticed by the scouts if you did well there.


Hahaha, this is me. I know I am going to receive a lot of brickbats but someone gotta do the dirty job. And that person is me.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The night life

Gambar hiasan
Would you be able to lower down your lifestyles you have upgraded over the years?

When a few years back I decided to end my employment and enter self-employment, I would like to think that it was by design and choice, and not dictated by external circumstances. I was happily employed by an American firm, and suddenly an opportunity arose for me to start my own business and being at the right age, I thought it was about time I venture outside my comfort zone.

My marketing lecturer, Dr Ali Kartibi had told my MBA class in 2000 that it would be useless for us to do our MBA if by the end of our course, we would still working for someone else. I laughed at his remark then, knowing fully well that I am not a business oriented person, despite having a Minang blood in me.

However, my old boss at Perak Hanjoong Simen Affandi Osman was not impressed with my decision to go on my own.

He said, "Are you prepared to lower your lifestyles in order to succeed in business?"

I don't know to be honest. I didn't know that it would require such sacrifice.

If I were to reflect on my own life over the years and how I have improved my standard of living, albeit slowly (but surely), I for sure would not want to lower it again for any reason, if I have my way.

I used to live in kampung house in Dungun Terengganu in the late 80s. It is wooden, and sits on stilts, with a kitchen on the ground level. It has a veranda, and of course louvre windows, and a single ceiling fan in the living room. It only has two bedroom, not that we need more, to be honest. The owner, I guess, out of respect for his new tenant, decided after a year to build an attached bathroom for us.

Before it was a 'tandas curah' at the back of the house.

I can live in a kampung house, provided it has all the amenities. Heck, in fact I still dream of having a kampung house  before I retire. By that I mean a traditional wooden house. The outside can be fully wooden, but inside it will only use sporadically wood as its interior.

Otherwise, it will be too dark for my liking.

For transportation, I drove a 13-year old Opel, and we car-pooled (with some friends) to the plant in Kerteh on a daily basis. Obviously the car has no air-condition, and we had to rely on the cooling effect of the wind the car generated while moving around. When it rained heavily, like it would always do in December, the passenger side of the car would be flooded.

Still I thought I was lucky. At least I have a car. Actually that's not even true. It was not my car, it was bapak's, though then all my friends would be driving a brand Proton or Ford/Mazda.

Can I live without a car? Well, if the public transportation is convenient, I would. I would not bat an eyelid taking public transportation aka the bus, if I don't have to wait at the bus stop more than 15 mins, or if I don't have walk more than 10 mins to the bus stop. It has to be, well, convenient.

And as long as I don't have to take another cab to reach my final destination. I hate having to bargain or argue to the cab drivers. As a rule of thumb, I dislike taking the cab unless it is driven by my cab driver friend David. He is about the only other person I would trust not to con me, or trying to take me for a ride.

In Terengganu in the late 80s and early 90s, we had a great night life, something my kids would not be able to enjoy today. Serious, I am not joking. We would have our fun practically every night. The night life then was even better than KL ten decades into the new millennium.

Every night we would party at different places.

On Sunday night, it would be Air Jernih. Monday night at Kemasik, Tuesday night at Kerteh, Wednesday we would move to Paka, and the mother of all parties would be on Thursday night in Dungun.

Dungun, or Dungeon as we would call it, would be the biggest of the them all. It is crowded with people coming coming from the surrounding district and kampungs. For us working people, the timing is ideal, especially with the weekend looming.

You would find anything and everything you need here. You don't have to travel far. All kind of kuih, and foods, clothings, trousers, household items, fresh veggies and fish; all sold very cheaply.

Heck you may be able find wife too, if you are looking for one. I know a friend who met his (future) wife there! ;-)

I am of course referring to the pasar malams. You would be able to find pasar malam within driving distance  - each is about 10 mins drive from one another, except for Dungun, and have your fun under the star lit night. Every night of the week, I would say.

You don't need the neon lights, I can assure you. What else would you do, if you, like me then, were living in a fishing village slowly transforming itself into an oil hub? So small that we were thankful that there was a minimarket, and a wet market; otherwise you would wait for the boat to return at Sg Kerteh late in the day, and get your daily ration of fish and other seafoods.

The starry starry night would be more fun.

Friday, December 24, 2010

I Was Only Nineteen

Actually I was only 20 when this song started to get a lot of air play over the radio station in Melbourne and Australia. So this entry is not about me.

No it didn't fit me at all.

This is a song about the Vietnam War. In WWII, the average age of the soldiers was 23. In Vietnam, it was 19, and hence the title of the song.

I can't imagine - and I am sure many would not be able to comprehend either, that someone at that age would be going to war, and obviously not knowing whether or not one would return home.

In one piece.

Or in a coffin!

The lyric was graphic. It could not be as blunt as I was only Nineteen.

A four week operation, when each step can mean your last one on two legs

It was a war within yourself
But you wouldn't let your mates down 'til they had you dusted off
So you closed your eyes and thought about something else

This person could be as young as Arif, practically a kid. Sorry Arif. While Arif is now flying a twin engine plane, the soldiers might be flying a Chinook from Vung Tau to Nui Dat.

Then there was war.

Then someone yelled out 'Contact' and the bloke behind me swore

We hooked in there for hours, then a God Almighty roar

Then again if you are lucky enough to survive the many battle fields, and you started to think that you would be returning home soon,

Frankie kicked a mine the day that Mankind kicked the moon

God help me, he was going home in June

Vietnam War - obviously we were worried during those years about possibly that the whole of South East Asia might fall to the communist.

I can only imagine what goes into the mind of the soldiers during those years fighting the communists; ours included.

God help me, I was only 19.

Mum and Dad and Denny saw the Passing out Parade at Puckapunal
(it was a long march from Cadets)
The 6th Battalion was the next to tour, and it was me who drew the card
We did Canungra - Shoalwater before we left

And Townsville lined the footpaths as we marched down to the Quay
This clipping from the paper shows us young and strong and clean
And there's me in me slouch hat with me S.L.R. and Greens
God help me, I was only 19

From Vung tau riding Chinooks, to the dust at Nui Dat
I'd been in and out of choppers now for months
But we made our tents a home, V.B. and pin ups on the lockers
And an Asian orange sunset through the scrub
And can you tell me Doctor why I still can't get to sleep?
And the night time's just a jungle dark and a barking M16
And what's this rash that comes and goes, can you tell me what it means?
God help me, I was only 19

A four week operation, when each step can mean your last one on two legs
It was a war within yourself
But you wouldn't let your mates down 'til they had you dusted off
So you closed your eyes and thought about something else

Then someone yelled out 'Contact' and the bloke behind me swore
We hooked in there for hours, then a God Almighty roar
Frankie kicked a mine the day that Mankind kicked the moon
God help me, he was going home in June

I can still see Frankie drinking tinnies, in the Grand Hotel
On a 36 hour Rec leave in Vung Tau
And I can still hear Frankie, lying screaming in the jungle
'Til the morphine came and killed the bloody row

And the A.N.Z.A.C. legend didn't mention mud and blood and tears
And the stories that my Father told me, never seemed quiet real
I caught some pieces in my back that I didn't even feel
God help me, I was only 19

And can you tell me Doctor why I still can't get to sleep?
And why the Channel 7 chopper chills me to my feet?
And what's this rash that comes and goes, can you tell me what it means?
God help me, I was only 19.


A best friend Neil Horvath tried to get me to go to watch Redgum at the Robert Blackwood Hall at Monash in 1983. I was tight with my time, and since I only knew one song of Redgum - a great one at that, I tried to excuse myself by saying just that.

"Here, here is a cassette, go and listen to them. The other songs are just as great,' Neil said.

Well, I didn't go. May be I should have.

No one would be able to predict the outcome, I guess.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sampai Bila?

Taken from NST
Until we run out of people to die on our roads, I guess.

Twenty seven lives were lost in Cameron, twelve in Simpang Ampat, twenty one in Bukit Gantang; I have lost track of other accidents, and I am sure it is a long list.

Supposedly R66 UNECE specifications on our busses are now enforced and yet none of our express busses and tour busses have complied with these specs. Always the excuse is that it would be too expensive for the bus companies to comply with, and therefore it would be better that lives are lost, as long as these companies can make tons of profits.

I guess rules and regulations are meant as a showcase to show how progressive we are, and to show that our MPs are doing their job in parliament.

I have taken the (long distance) busses since secondary school, I guess. It would be the SKMK buses to return home from Kota Bharu in the 70s, and in the 80s, I would take the bus to go back to KL and back (to Taiping. I remember a time when I went to KL for an interview with Nestle (in 1986). Upon reaching Pudu at 4 am from Taiping, I had to sleep on the bench at Puduraya, since the mini-busses to Ampang would only start operating at 6 am, and I didn't have the money to pay for a cab ride.

I remember too the days in late 80s when a group of us would take the overnight bus from Dungun to KL. Obviously we would reach KL early on a Friday morning, find a mosque to refresh ourselves, and we would be the first clienst at Bank Buruh in Jalan Raja Laut those Friday mornings. Or being at the PNB building on the very first working day of 1990 for the conversion of ASN to ASB then.

We were then so much into shares trading. And we had to go to KL from this little town of Kerteh/Dungun to do our transactions.

Obviously, we would take the Friday evening bus trip back to Dungun after completing our share and loan application in KL.

This, we would do quite frequently in the late 80s and very early 90s. Aah, those day. We would not be hesitant to do it then.

Then, even without the East Coast Hiway, we weren't worried about the bus crashes. There were quite a bit of the lorry or truck carrying logs in Pahang, and there was always the risk during the overtaking on a single lane country road. However, Alhamdulillah, we always felt safe then. 

I think for some reasons, we had always been warned about "kete potong." But no one warns us about 'bas potong!" Just imagine by not complying with R66 specs, it is actually a bas potong. Unlike kete potong which are typically done by unscrupulous people, bas potong are done with the knowledge of the authority!

Which goes back to my concern in an earlier entry on how safe are our cars on the road, notably the Protons and the Peroduas. I am considering seriously replacing my two unsafe cars.

First and foremost, the two cars did not have any airbags, or ABS or anything resembling typical safety features for modern car. Let's not even talk about EBA or traction control, or stability control, and other safety features. I am sure at least one of them would not meet the safety requirement of Euro NCAP and it would not have any star rating of NCAP.

The other one, based on a 1999 test, supposedly has a two-star rating. Then again I would not know if mine is the exact model of the test car done by NCAP.

Cars using the post 2009 NCAP rating would typically have a five-star rating. Civic and Accord five-star rating, Mazda 3 and Mazda 6, all five stars; Prius five stars; Ford Focus five star etc etc. Even smaller cars like Mazda 2 and Ford Fiesta have a five star rating.

So do you think that Proton and Perodua cars (or Naza's for that matter) would be up to the mark? How many stars safety rating do you think our Persona, Saga and Exora (and Perodua MyVis, Alza and Viva) would get in the event they are tested in a similar crash test? Do you think Proton and Perodua would dare letting their cars go through such test, and publish the results for Malaysians to see?

The only Proton car which was tested would be Waja (or Impian in UK) - though I have seen Exora being tested, and I guess got bashed by Jeremy Clarkson and the Top Gear hosts. Waja for the record got a three-star rating, but it has been said that the integrity of the compartment the drivers are in have been compromised. The cabin that is supposed to protect us drivers has been bent and deformed, and the brake pad has been shoved in towards the driver, risking a knee or leg injury.

Thus videos have been circulating in Youtube for a long time, I know that, but for completeness sake, I should post them here. This test was done at 64 kmph (40 mph) over deformable concrete barrier, and I am sure most of us would not drive at such (a slow) speed!

I don't know about you, but it was said by the TG hosts that they would not let their daughters drive in a Proton Impian (Waja). Luckily for me, I don't have a daughter!! Haha. Unluckily for me, it is still applicable for sons, and I am having second thought about it the past months too, not just in a Waja, but in all Proton and Perodua's cars.

Mitsubishi Lancer has a five star NCAP rating based on a 2009 test; so do you think Proton Inspira would be up to the mark too? Or have they compromised the body structure to make more money for the company?

I think it is about time that we Malaysians wake up and end this horror story. We have been shortchanged all these whiles, and many of us are paying it with our lives. Just imagine how many Sagas, MyVis, Personas, Wiras, and Kancils and Vivas are on our roads, and how many are driven by you and I, your siblings, sons, daughters, relatives etc etc.

We should no longer use substandard cars that compromise our safety. We have to pay a moon and a sun for the cars using our sweat and tears, and we certainly do not wish that in the end we have to pay them with our bloods.

Fauzi Marzuki, Bob and Ekamatra are right after all.

Enjoy. Err...then again, may be not!

EPILOGUE (updated 23 December 2010)

Taken from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ( First appeared in Yahoo Thursday 23 December. Hello Proton, hello Perodua, Hello Naza, hello JPJ, Hello MIROS, hello ministry, hello SPRM. Hello Malaysian bus makers.

66 winners of 2011 TOP SAFETY PICK award;
automakers quickly improve roofs to boost rollover protection
ARLINGTON, VA — Sixty-six vehicles earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's TOP SAFETY PICK award for 2011, including 40 cars, 25 SUVs, and a minivan. TOP SAFETY PICKrecognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rollover, and rear crashes based on good ratings in Institute tests. Winners also must have available electronic stability control, a crash avoidance feature that significantly reduces crash risk. The ratings help consumers pick vehicles that offer a higher level of protection than federal safety standards require.
Last year the Institute toughened criteria for TOP SAFETY PICK by adding a requirement that all qualifiers must earn a good rating for performance in a roof strength test to assess protection in a rollover crash. The move sharply narrowed the initial field of 2010 winners. At the beginning of the 2010 model year, only 27 vehicles qualified for the award, but the number grew to 58 as auto manufacturers reworked existing designs and introduced new models. Now another 10 vehicles join the winners' list for 2011. Two discontinued models drop off.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Monash - what are the alternatives?


Late November I went to a friend's niece wedding and while the ceremony was on going, I had my small chat with one of the uncles. Soon our conversation zoom in into our children and their education and since he was more senior that I, I asked him about colleges he had considered for his children.

SEGI, he said, because you would get good discounts as bumi.

Oh, really?

He went on to explain which I would rather not say it here, but on the other hand I was not convinced. You would send your children to a college based on what discounts they would give?


Sunway University College Open Day

So after Monash the weekend before, it is only natural that we went to Sunway University College in Sunway for their open day today.

I thought I should have done this a long time ago as it opens up our minds - the boys and I, and I thought I should share what I found out in this blog. I am thinking out loud here, so please excuse me if I sound brash. I am just re-stating on what I found out this morning.

Monash Uni Foundation Year
So it would cost us RM21,600.00 for anyone to do the MUFY to enter Monash. It has four intakes a year, and one can enter using forecast results. In other words, immediately after your SPM, you could be doing your foundation immediately in January.

I am not sure if one would get an SPM hangover.

To get in Monash Engineering, you would need a score of 305 or an average of 76.5% of your four subjects, while for computer science you need a score of 67.5%. NOthing fanciful I guess, but then again this is not SPM, where every student would score straight As, which are quite meaningless to grade a student's achievement nowadays.

Yes, one can still enter other universities if you wish as the results from MUFY are accepted for university entrances in Australia specifically. Heck, I was told you can enter UK and US universities, but if you were doing MUFY, why would you want to consider universities beyond Australia.

The good thing about the foundation year program is that they are modular. Typically you would be grade by 50% coursework and 50% exam, so if you are consistent, you should be ok.

I thought the MUFY and Sunway is just fine. I did not visit their facilities, so I would not be able to comment much. May be we will revisit them later, as I was rushing to attend a friend's son's wedding in Pandan Jaya in the afternoon.

Performing Arts
Since we were there already, we decided to stop by at the performing art's faculty. I thought with their skills in piano, guitar and violin and good grounding in music theory, they would have an advantage here. The performing art here is mostly theater centric, and audio visual specialization. From the curriculum, I believe it is good for creating a well rounded personality in this area, and even for someone which have no intention to be in the entertainment business.

I was quite impressed with the video production done by their student; a couple of them quite watchable and artistic, but I am not sure if this faculty is for Akmal and Arif as I would prefer them to specialize particularly in music, either in performance or music composition.

One can proceed to Uni of Deakin in Melbourne or Uni of Tasmania if one wishes to continue on to the degree level.


American Transfer Program
Since we are here; same statement as above.

You would do two years at Sunway and then the next two years at a university in the US; the example given for Western Michigan University. It is definitely costlier, as the cost a a reasonably good university would set you at least RM110,000.00 poorer.

Per annum, mind you.

So for Akmal and Arif to get a degree from US, I would need to fork out at least a quarter of a million ringgit.

Huh? Do I have the money?

I would need to think hard for me to consider this, to be honest.


Yes, one can get a room on twin sharing basis (or eight in an apartment). One would pay about RM500 per month up to RM900 depending on whether they are air-conditioned or not. If Akmal were to do his MUFY here, I am not sure if I want him to drive daily to school. It would probably be easier if he were to stay on campus and concentrate on getting good grades for his examination.

I am not sure, but it is available, if need be.


Please don't mind me. I am just thinking out aloud, while sharing the information here with everybody. Please do not have the impression that I have the money to finance Akmal without batting an eye lid. The fees are quite a burden I must admit, and I have no idea at this moment on how to finance his education.

But my purpose is to open up Arif and Akmal's minds as to what's available out there. We always think of IPTA for our children; there are others out there with similar quality or even better, and I think it is about time we start competing in the open market and not rely on our status as the favoured sons of soil.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Are our kids luckier than us?

I am one who is not bothered about cars.

Seriously, I don't really care. No, I do care about cars. I care about cars that would take me from Point A to Point B. I care about a car that has four wheels, and a steering. And of course a brake.

Beyond that anything goes.

I don't really care about 16V, or VVTi or CVT or 8-speed transmission or what have you. To me, those are just jumbled alphabets of the roman scripture. Well, sort of.

May be my attitude stems from the fact that I don't have too many choices in selecting my car. I can only afford what our national car maker can churn out. I know I can't afford the Ts and the Hs, never mind the Ms or the Bs.

The past week, the boys and I - to fill up some of our spare time, had been roaming around KL's car dealers, test-driving some of the entry level cars of different makes. We have not decided yet as to whether we are in the market or not for a new car, but the spate of accidents recently had me on the edge (the stewardess in penang, the hajjah who just came back etc etc). I am getting too old I guess, but it worries me a lot when the boys are driving an 'unsafe' car;  a car which, according to Jeremy Clarkson, was built without any passion!

As I have mentioned, my choice is a bit limited, so to make a car safe, in my mind, I need at least two airbags, and ABS with EBD as their safety features.

Anyway, I was test-driving the latest and greatest offering of our national car-maker yesterday,  when the salesman made the following remarks, "How lucky kids are nowadays; the dad would buy them a car!"

Fortunately we were approaching a traffic light. I was stopped in my track; by the traffic light, not by his remark. ;-)

"You are certainly right," I replied, after a short, uncomfortable pause. Then I told him the story.

When I first started working in KL back in 1987, I had to walk from Dayabumi to Lebuh Ampang (or AIA) to catch the bas mini  No 23 back to Ampang. (Mind you, I had been working for two years already by then, but that was my first week in KL). I guess I would have to wait for quite a few busses as most were jam-packed with city dwellers rushing home after a day worth of work. It was peak hour typically; we were standing shoulder to shoulder, and you can't move an inch.

The smell of sweat and body odors eminating from the passengers, mine included I guess, was too much for the engineer so used to the fresh air of Taiping and Padang Rengas, nevermind that every now and then the air in Padang Rengas would be polluted with with cement dusts from Hanjoong Simen.

The stinging body odor made me want to vomit; the air inside the bus was stale, it could not be refreshed quick enough as the traffic at Jalan Ampang was jammed, each vehicle was only inching every minute or so. Coupled with the smell of diesel-fume belched from the minibus, these smells were attacking the nostrils of the unpolluted country boy.

I knew if I wait for it to reach my destination, I would not last it. My vomit would make the smell inside minibus No 23 unbearable for everybody else. We could have murder in hand here, if I were to vomit over someone's shoulder.

Upon reaching RRI, I decided I had enough. I rang the bell, indicating that I want to stop and hopped off the bus. I spent nearly one hour at the RRI bus stop, taking deep breath in the polluted air of Kuala Lumpur. The air outside was much better than inside the mini bus, even with the smell of exhaust of vehicles plying Jalan Ampang.

Well I don't have to endure that now. We don't the mini busses anymore. If I were to take public transport, it would be in the comfort, convenient and air-conditioned LRT. The boys would typically be chauffeured-driven, or they would drive the car themselves to where ever they need to be.

I have enjoyed all the trips from Kota Bharu to Taiping in 3rd-class train coaches and in non-air-conditioned buses, and it is not only in hindsight. I have walked for miles crossing the causeway from Woodlands when walking to Johor Bahru was the faster option. I would not mind taking the bus from Taiping to Padang Rengas everyday, and even as an engineer then, I would not bat an eye lid waiting waiting for my bus in front of my office. I have enjoyed my life then, and I would not change it for the world. Bapak would never be able to buy me a car, nor would I want him to do so.

Yes, kids nowadays are surely luckier compared to us in the old; perhaps in material wealth. But to be honest, I don't envy them at all. For all the privileges kids nowadays have, I know their challenges are heavier than my generation.

I think I shall leave it at that for this moment.

What say you anyway?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The making of a songwriter?

I am quite please with Akmal's progress as a pianist. Not only he is able to read notes, like all good musicians should be, he can also play by ears. With that skills he can practically play any song he likes, or more importantly, any song I like! ;-)

And he is getting used to writing his own song. For a teenager, I am quite impressed with his compositions. It is nice, and soothing.

Enjoy here "Two Volumes of One Book."

Don't ask me how he got to naming this song this unique name.

By the way, the song is protected by My Free Copyright.

The question now would be how to write the lyric for this song and who can we get to sing it so that many more would be able to enjoy it.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Back at Monash - Ancora Imparo

So, after a lapse of more than 24 years, I was back at Monash, this time with the two boys in tow, and received a very warm welcome.

Albeit this being at the Sunway campus.

Everything is so well organized, from the welcome to chatting with the individuals representing the two faculties that we were interested in. No waiting period, no rush talk. We sat back, and chat and gather information. The visit to the open day was basically to open up Akmal's eyes on the many opportunity around him beyond the local IPTA and IPTS, and to encourage him to start thinking beyond the SPM exams that he will be taking late next year.

Eventhough I had never won any award in my four years at Monash, at last I was able to win a book during the open day by answering one of the quizzes during their presentation. Just let's say I have an unfair advantage when it comes to the motto of Monash.

Ancora Imparo - I am still learning.

So we sat through what's available at Monash, why we should consider Monash, why should we consider Engineering (for Arif) and why we should consider IT for Akmal. Beyond the quality and the brand the Monash's name carries, I think being able to go on an exchange program in the main campus and yet only pays the local fees sound attractive for me.

And the idea of being overseas obviously sounds appealing to Akmal, and who can blame him!

So what does it take for him to follow the footsteps of his dad about 30 years ago when he (the dad) was roaming the campus from very early in the morning until the closing hours of the library?

Here are the numbers.

1. Monash Uni Foundation Year ~ RM20,000.00 (too lazy to add up the numbers)
2. Three years study in computer science at RM31,000 per year = RM93,000.00.

You will get a Monash degree at RM113,000.00, excluding your cost of living etc.

How is this compared say to the local private universities such as UTP, Uniten etc? A survey of their website reveals the fees for similar course:

UTP              RM63,000.00
Uniten           RM53,000.00
Nottingham  RM102,000.00

Local private universities cost as much as half of the fees of Monash. They are not cheap either, I have to say and their ranking, if they matter to you, are nowhere in THES. Would it be worth the money that you have worked for the past twenty years in order to give a distinct advantage to your child in his later years? Or is that distinct advantage only in the mind of the writer? Should I still try and get Akmal to a public uni here in Malaysia? Or fight to get a scholarship that we Malays never seems to want to get away from, despite the fact that many of the Malays are sons of datuk2 and tan sris and are multimillionaires?

Shall we all keep our monies in ASB so that when we die, our kids would spend it like there is no tomorrow? Or if you wish, save all your monies so that you could marry another?

Or shall I be like my bapak and tell Akmal that I can give him nothing but a good education?

On second thought, I wonder if Monash has special discounts for their alumni? ;-)


I had a good chat with one Dr Wong, the IT Faculty Industrial Coordinator. Dr Wong apparently was at Monash from 1981 to 1986, so we overlapped quite a bit (I was there from 1982-1985). Obviously he was with the electrical & computer system engineering then, while I was at the chemical engineering department. Apparently he and Dr Zahar are working for Microsoft Malaysia after years under the same supervisor for their PhD programs at Monash.

Reminiscing about our days at Monash, I told him that if not for Dr Zahar, I would not have graduated as a Monash engineer. He arranged for my extra classes in Physical Chemistry and physics, and it is with his help, I managed to get through my first year (I was struggling to find my footing then.)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Twenty Thousand Views Later


I guess I owe a very dear friend of mine an apology for not updating the blog for nearly a month. I had just told a cousin of mine who has just started blogging that, every now and then, we bloggers are allowed to go on sabbatical leaves and leave the blog to the element.

Bersawang dan berhabuk, I guess.

This dear friend of mine from my primary school days decided to call me two days ago while I was still recovering from my Hijrah fever, and asked me if I am ok. I was taken aback as other than sleeping over the whole day last Wednesday due to my fever, I could not be better. Apparently noting that  I have not updated my blog for quite a while - perhaps the longest since I started blogging, he was worried that something might have happened.

(I think I should start giving the passwords to Arif/Akmal, just in case! ;-)

You could not get a more concerned friend than Zaki. Thanks a million Ki.

Twenty Thousand Views Later

We first started uploading their videos from slightly more than a year and a half ago - actively about 6 months ago. We were doing it for Hari Ibu then, and thought that just for the record, we should back our video over the net. We weren't bothered if anyone would view them, or for that matter, appreciate them.

Every now and then we would get comments, but they were few and far in between, and rare. So when there was one, we would be elated, but we would not be waiting with bated breath for more to come.

Until Bila Cinta, that is.

I was on my way to the office early one when I was taken by the song sung by Filianti Vlee with a wonderful piano arrangement back her fragile voice. Immediately I knew Akmal has to cover this song.

Now over a period of two and a half months, the video is so far, and by far, our best viewed video over at Youtube. Twenty thousands views - that's right 20,000 views, 58 likes, 65 comments and favourited 47 times. This is our best selling performance so far, so to speak. It helps that the song is brand new and has become quite a hit with the youngsters out there.

The fact that Akmal plays it in accordance to the arrangement of the original, note for note, helps boost the popularity of the performance.

With that too, he got a few propositions wanting him to join their band, and many wanting him to perform certain songs of their liking. From the many requests, one has agreed to pay Akmal to perform a minus one since he wants to use it for performing in a competition. We charged him too cheap actually; it is not a money making venture (yet) for us. We just want others to appreciate the time and effort required to perform; that's all.

I thought to commemorate the 20,000 views of the Bila Cinta video, I should post all the 60 odd comments in our Youtube channel.

But Richard Clayderman and Vanessa Mae? Hmm, I wish, but I don't think so. Still a long long way, we know that.

Amin, in any case. It is a doa, right? ;-)

Here is the video again, just in case you have missed it. And the comments below it. In the lifetime of this blog, I would not be able to generate as many comments.

All Comments (65)

  • Oh Dear...that's wonderful walaupun ada hiccup sikit. Y not both of you produce instrumental album. Ini satu lagi problem dgn Malaysian market. Lambat nak iktiraf beautiful piece like this. Both of you, brothers can be the next richard clyderman + vanessa may putt it together.
  • can i use this for my cover... best lahh ur instrumental
  • @suesupperladyy Boleh. Nanti dah post, bgtau. :-D
  • kalau nak pinjam instrumental ni buat cover boleh?
  • @wahana3115803 Silakan. Kalau dah post nanti, bgtau ;-D
  • best syabas!
  • you main memang best lah . i suke sgtt ..
    but , Al-Quran ? oh . kesian dea . piano tu lagi tggi dr kedudukan quran kat tepi tu .
    and you main dgn kedudukan you lagi tggi dari al-Quran tu .
    harap dpt jge la sume tu .
  • bro bro buat tutorial pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!
  • Thanks all for the nice comments...notes intro lagu dan rangkap pertama ada di blog
  • tuk perhatian yg buat main piano ni...awak maen bagus dan nmpak awak berbakat..tapi gembira dan riang pada kaum hawa diluar sana kerana awak main lagu ni guna original key note fifi...knp tak buat tuk kaum adam pulak versi gio note..sebab mmg ramai giler yg kat luar sana tertungu tunggu minus one nie tp mmg takder.....i hope u can play this song tuk versi lelaki ok...tolonggggg lahhhhhhh pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.....
  • @walkmansub nama pianist Akmal Hariri seperti dalam tajuk video diatas. Versi Gio dah byk orang lain cover. Arrangement dia simpler and lebih senang sikit, tp lebih sedap arrangement Fili, sb tu Akmal main versi ini. Tak salah kan buat kaum Hawa happy? ;-D
  • @dynsim yg gio pnyr buatkn lar jgk... nk dgr jgk awk pnyr version....
  • sifu, bole tnya tak brpa harga digital piano yg sifu main dlm video bila cinta tu?teringin nak beli yg tu la...
  • hey....this song had some memories with my late girlfriend that had just past away...hope u can really give me the piano notes for...i've been searching for it...thanks a lot :,(
  • best giler..feeling la dengan lagu ni...
  • Love this song..=)
    Keep it up.
  • pergh...nak beli piano la lepas nih..
  • bro..gila..sebiji bunyi piano ko ni dgn yg asal..kagum aku.
  • wooooo...I Love This...slut U...
  • hmmm... sentimental music....
  • WOW.....congratulations!!!'s astounding.........I can't even believe it with my own 2 amazing!!!!! i love it so much.....damn it, wish i could play this piece on piano notoriously on guitar........U got FB??? can i pls add u?...PEACE
  • sebiji owh..yg real pnya..hihi..LIKE THIS..
  • nice :) i love video with lyrics ;D
  • nice :) i love video with lyrics ;D
  • ada tab x?
  • waaaahhh...bwat la tutorial!! T_T na blaja~~
  • ade x piano sheet utk lagu ni?please...suke la lagu ni...
  • wah hebat nya...huhuhu nak belajar main piano gak lar bila besar nanti
  • wow... great!!
  • almost like the original version. love it.. ada sheet music dia tak ?
  • almost like the original version.. love it. do you have the sheet music?
  • bestnya, can you do a "how to play this song" on Youtube? so that we can play... easy version la
  • ok bro. u rox. i love it! it's almost PERFECT!.
  • i sebenarnya ikhlas nak chords for this song . if you can share, u wont mind ? :)
    you played really nice , well done.
  • best giler....
  • Hie there! I am a fan of instrumentals. I sing to the songs that I love to sing. I hope you don't mind if I am using your instrumental piece in some of my video covers that I am singing to. I'm Emma. Your instrumental is superb! <3
  • please, please, please make a tutorial for this cover *menanti dengan hati yang tabah*
  • Care to do a tutorial vid for this? It's really awesome :)
  • cdey......
  • salam bro..ade band? leh la joint band hamba utk wedding event??
  • perghhh!!!!
    gempak la mal
    ko ajar aku yg len ley x...
    intro aku ley wat...
    part yg verse 2 tu je....
    aku x reti kot..
  • @lft94 HAHA thx lufti :DDD ajar?? come to my house then I'll teach you :DD
  • nnty aku dtg..
  • bro! can you make a tutorial on this song? i can't read your chord. hope you want to make the tutorial bro! please! hehe :)
  • heelooo, can u give me the piano pieces for this song!! i would really appreciate it!!! pleaseee...u played amazing...
  • terbaik la bro..
    hahah..ajar skit..
  • bleh bg not lagu ni tak......please....
  • besh giler...!i suker sangt..boleh buat kan i lagu hati yang kau sakiti x??by rossa,tp yg slow version punya;)
  • @mamJL77 : dasyat tu la lagu ni........hati boleh jd cair tul.......
  • awak ade notes die for this song? kalau ade, boleh passkan? thanks :)
  • wow!!! i dh lama cari munus one / intrumental lagu ni utk wat show tp xjmpe...anyway thanx akmal hariri....klu ada yg more perfect, upload lg ye....
  • wow!!! i dh lama cari munus one / intrumental lagu ni utk wat show tp xjmpe...anyway thanx akmal hariri....klu ada yg more perfect, upload lg ye....