Saturday, April 30, 2011

Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone

I have been receiving some brickbats - some anonymously, over my previous entry.

Some were questioning on the need for me to rush (what's the rush?) and overtook the convoy. I should not have overtaken, and should just stay in line and queue behind the convoy. Most likely they want me to stay behind the zig-zagging van for over 200 km. Another would comment that I should be getting a ticket for over-speeding.

I can only laugh at such insinuation. As if that they had never been in similar situations themselves. 

All I was asking was the protocol of overtaking such convoy, and not whether I should get a ticket or not. I was aware of what I was doing in term of speed, and I have fully stated of the possibility of infringing some (obscure) laws, if we were to follow the law to the letter. If I need to overtake them legally, what do I need to do? That's the question I was asking.

Then again, do you know that none of our measured instruments are 100% accurate. There will always be errors, even in the best of instruments used in the industry. Measuring devices are often checked against 'repeatability' and 'reproducibility'. Repeatability is an inherent precision of the measuring instrument as as the car's speedometer.

Most speedometers have an accuracy of 10% on either side. Sources of error includes nominal tyre diameter, pressure, temperature and vehicle load. Car manufacturers usually calibrate speedometer to read high to ensure that speedometers would never indicate a lower speed that the actual speed of vehicle to ensure that they are not liable for drivers violating speed limits. Read here.

If this is true, it means that our actual speed is actually lower that the speed our speedometer is showing.

Federal Standards in the US only allow 5% inaccuracy of the speedometer. In the UK, it must not show more than 110% of actual speed, plus 10 kmph. Meaning at 110, it should not show more than 131 kmph.

And my speedometer was way below that!

Do you think vehicles in Malaysia have higher specs than those in US and UK?

As for the 'What's the rush?' remark, let me just say that I was driving a Ferrari, and Ferrari is not meant to be driven at 110!
Let just say I was driving this that Wednesday when I decided
to overtake the immigration convoy! ;-)

Is that good enough an explanation? Yeah, stupid answer for stupid questions.

Have they not ever gone beyond 110 to overtake a vehicle, and then only after overtaking reduce their speed to maintain 110? Ever? Not even exceeding by one kmph?

No? You must be a saint. Hahaha, joke joke, funny indeed.

People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

What's the protocol in overtaking a police-led convoy?

How do you overtake an official 'police-led' convoy driven on the right side of the road at 110 km per hour?

I am not sure of the protocol, to be honest. But that was the predicament I was in last Wednesday at The East Coast Hiway driving back to Kuala Lumpur after attending a meeting in Kerteh.

We saw the blinking light ahead of us and thought it was an ambulance. We were wondering why the buses in front of it would not let them pass through. But as we closed them in, we realized that it was an immigration convoy led by a police patrol car, consisting of 2 buses and 2 vans.

I presume they were carrying the illegal immigrants to be deported.

The convoy was driving on the right lane at about 110 km per hour, and there is no way you would be able to pass through on right. Eventhough it was driven at 110, I was in no mood to sit behind and be part of long queue behind the convoy.

I was not paid by the government to be part of the convoy!

So I decided to overtake from the left. (I know, I know, it is supposed to be illegal, but they left me with no choice). 

The last van in the convoy - the first vehicle for me to overtake, started to swerve to his left and entering the left lane, presumably trying to prohibit me from overtaking. He started sounding the siren too, which I ignored.

I managed to overtake half of the convoy. With only 3 more vehicles to go, I was stopped on my track by slow moving car on the left lane.

And the whole convoy overtook me. Gleefully, I presume. ;-)

The second time I tried again, the same happened. The van started sounding his siren as I passed by him on the left and with only one more bus and the police car ahead to overtake, I tried to sneak in in between the bus and the police escort on the right lane, as again my (left) lane was blocked by a slow moving vehicle.

There was a gap between the police car and the bus for me to sneak in on the right lane.

Immediately the bus gave chase to me, and as he started closing in on me,  he gave me the high beam, and gave me on big honk. I got no choice then but to back off and move back to the left, and the whole convoy would then (re) overtake me.

I was bit furious. It seems that they would not want to let you pass through for whatever reasons. I realized that they were driving at 110 including the bus, and I guess eventhough they were both commercial buses, but under police escort they could be driven at 110.

Legally may be, I am not sure.

But what's the protocol actually? Under such circumstances, are we supposed to slow down and follow the convoy over a few hundred kilometers, which I thought would be a dangerous thing to do. We are still far from the exit, and the whole hiway might be jammed up by vehicles all driving at the same speed.

I wanted to use my 10% flexibility in speed to overtake them. At 115 or up to 121 km per hour, I believe the police would not give me a ticket for speeding.

This was our third attempt to overtake them, and we had the camera ready, just in case if anything were to happen. You can see the last van practically driving on both lanes, as if trying to prohibit or discourage overtaking, and as we were about to overtake the second van, the first van sounded its siren (at 1:30), I presume, to let me know of his displeasure of my overtaking.

Or a show of power?

Should I be waiting for my saman ekor anytime soon? ;-)

I should not tempt fate, I supposed. Hahaha...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The story of Asmara Terkenang

You know, I have a profound dislike for male singer to be singing song originally sung by female singer.

For one, I hate the version of Unbreak My Heart by Il Divo. To me, the song is owned, and only owned, by Toni Braxton. And with its melodramatic melody and lyric, I would never be able to comprehend or tolerate this song by any male singer.


When Aman Shah starts singing Asmara Terkenang, there was no Youtube and internet. Obviously Klasik Nasional is a non-entity in 1980. So there was no way we would know about the original song by Neng Yatimah. Then again, digitally remastered was not something we would know by then, so unless RTM has a fantastic record player, we would not be hearing this song on air.

It was late 1980. SPM was done with  - we were waiting for our next posting I guess. With nothing else to do, I would listening to the radio mid-day that day. We didn't have too many choices of radio station I guess.

It was airing Asmara Terkenang by Aman Shah. I thought it was lovely original song by him. I was humming along when I overhead the conversation between Mak and Bapak, who were resting in their room. (Yeah, our government quarters, right in the middle of Kuala Kangsar town, is  a wooden barrack house, so you would hear every squeak in the house, so to speak.)

Bila ku ingat, bila ku kenang
Bila ku ingat, bila ku kenang
Masa dulu kita berdua
Merayu berbisik hidup bersama
Hidup bersama

Sungguh lama tak nampak rupamu
Tetapi tetap aku setia
Aku setia

"Ton, sapa nyanyi lagu ni?" I overheard bapak asking Mak.
"Budak baru, tak tau pulak sapa nama," jawab Mak.
"Ni lagu lama kan?

Turut serentak dalam hatiku
Turut serentak dalam hatiku
Dengan segera engkau menjelma
Menghibur hati yang sangat duka
hatiku duka

"Lagu Neng Yatimah, isteri Jasni,"

There was only silence after that. I guess may be by then I was concentrating on the song on the radio. Bapak perhaps had satisfied his curiosity on Asmara Terkenangl perhaps this song was something from his childhood days. It was an old song, and not a new one as I had thought that day.

I had enjoyed both song. I love the Aman Shah version. The violins were excellent; the trumpets and the horn section was not intrusive. Lovely combination.

Only yesterday I saw the actual version of Neng Yatimah on Youtube, and I was touched. I didn't realize that Mak Neng was still alive amongst us. She was the wife of the composer, and singer Jasni. I thought it was romantic of him to have given the song to his own wife to sing.

Lucky her. And him too, I guess.

If you want to read more about them and how they got married, do go to Wiki. I thought it was a romantic story - a knight in shining armor, so to speak.

May Allah bless the soul of Jasni and Moga Allah merahmati dan memberi kesihatan kepada Mak Neng Yatimah. And not to mention their daughter Roseyatimah (of Pendekar Bujang Lapok fame).

Shall we wait for her death before we honour them?


So what is my point here?

NOthing much, I guess. Just to highlight that I love Asmara Terkenang. That we should reward all our veteran singers from the 50s and 60s now, rather than when they are dead. That even bapak was touched in some sense by this song, and that I would remember their conversation 31 years on!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

King Edward VII-1 School in dilapidated state

It is supposed to be the one of the most, if not the most, beautiful school in the country.

The building is majestic. The pillars are unlike any school built by Kementerian; kurus and cikeding and looks like they will fall apart the moment you lean against it, while the King Edward school was build by the Brit in 1905, so they are so massive that you will need Badang to carry and build them, and will withstand the tsunamis and earthquakes.
Apparently Aishawarya Rai was here
a couple of years ago or at least
that is what I was told by the security.

The ceiling is at least two-storey high; you would be able to play the badminton in the classroom, and you would never be able to hit the ceiling with the shuttlecock. At least as a 12-year old, I guess.

Beautiful, shady rain-trees adorn the compound to complement colonial building. Somehow the British colonial building supposedly from temperate climate and the raintrees from the tropic - a mismatch, may be an oxymoron even, and yet the two had co-existed over 100 years, and look like they were meant for each other. It was underneath these trees that we - then pre-teens -  had our fun under the shade. Guli batu, popia and takraw were some of our fav then. It was at this Padang too we secured our Perak U-12 rugby title in 1975.

Tough kids we were then.

The building should be a Heritage building. I am not sure if it is. Then again, with Taiping declared as Bandar Warisan, everything should be heritage in Taiping.

The raintrees and the padang with the rugby post.
This is Taiping and King Edward at their best; blue
sky with the equally blue and majestic Maxwell Hill
in thebackground.
But it is in dilapidated state, and in dire need of maintenance. Many renovations were done without adhering to a heritage building guideline. The newer non-descript building built by Kementerian should be torn down. It is ugly.

Sometimes I do wonder why the British built majestic building in their colonies, while after independence, as lord of the land in our own country, we build school like we were the stingy colonials ourselves.

The buildings on the surface are still majestic. But underneath, I noticed that it in dire need to a good maintenance.

Look at the pillars, and the pathetic and unkempt conditions it is in.
Do note at the ugly steel  grill on the balcony.
An eye sore basically. Twice in Std 5 and Std 6, we were placed in
the upper level, and nothing untoward had happened
to kids of the yesteryears, and yet they had to do it to
protect the kids today. They can, but complement it
with the architecture of the  building please.
Help save King Edwards VII school before it crumbles to the ground. Here are what I thought should be done:

1. Call on restorer(s) to restore not only the facade, but to look at everything that requires maintenance - wiring, piping, structure
2. Demolish all ancillary and auxiliary buildings that did not conform to the architecture of the building. This include, the 3-storey Kementerian built building at the back of the school, and the equally eye-sore canteen in front of the school, and whatever the reban ayam in the middle of the compound.
3. There is no need to replace the removed buildings; to ensure that there are enough places for students, make King Edward VII-1 a select school that all students attending it will go through stringent tests that include both academic and extra curricular activities.
4. Declare the whole compound of King Edward VII-1 primary school a national heritage
5. Declare Taiping as a national heritage town (similar status as Penang and Melaka), and we don't have to wait for UNESCO declaration.

What say you Old Edwardians?

Ugly grill
Oh my God, ni reban ayam ke? Is
this the best the government can come up with? Look at
what the British build in the background. Used
to be very green on this part of the school.
Another ugly store room aka canteen at the front of the school.
Come on la kementerian - both Pelajaran and Warisan.
Eye sore betul2 depan sekolah. Where art thou?

There used to be no ceiling, just beams and wood planks
of the above floor, and I am not sure how many fans
we had then.