Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Jamie & Jesus

I have just fetched JJ home from her grandma's. Her mommy is in KL this whole week; so I am playing daddy and mommy for the time being. I hardly ever let Yosevina touch JJ — I didn't think it's a good idea, if you know what I mean. On the way home from her grandma's, JJ suddenly started lecturing me.

"Dad," she said, "since you never go to church, why don't you say a prayer tonight for mommy and I?"

I was taken aback. I said, "But why, Jay — why do I have to pray; and who should I pray to?"

She explained that I need to pray to Jesus; that I need to remind Jesus that we still love him. And then Jesus will love us back. She said when mamau comes to disturb us tonight, Jesus will protect us and throw mamau back to hell.

Perhaps it is time that I have that little talk with my mother-in-law. I've been meaning to have that talk with her for a while now, but never seemed to find the time to do so.

Come to think of it, it must have been at least 10 years ago since the last time I went to church — I mean to pray. As a kid I was taught about how God and Jesus love us so much. I grew up believing. But somewhere along the way, I began to ask questions, and I was horrified to find a lot of holes in the teachings of the Bible.

The God of the Bible tells us all to be good; and that He loves us all. Yet He lost His cool and drowned everyone in the world, except for Noah and his immediate family members. Maybe it's fair to kill all those bad people, but what about the babies and unborn infants who also died in the great flood?

I am also not impressed with God when He deliberately put the apple tree in Eden. Being God the almighty, He must have foreseen that Adam and Eve would fail the test. Yet He proceeded to test their loyalty and obedience anyway. When indeed Adam and Eve failed the test, they were banished from Eden and then God condemned mankind to sin for eternity. I don't see the logic in that. Maybe God has His reasons for His acts, but we are not supposed to question His authority. He knows best!

After so many years in the wilderness, I decided to attend a course organised by the church a few months ago. It's known as the Alpha Course. Participants got to see about an hour's worth of video per session. And then we had small discussion groups. Absolutely no one could answer my questions. I got the same thing all the time: I must have faith first. I must believe first, then find out the answers later.

I think I've heard it all when I was a small boy. I suppose I will never be a good Catholic.


Some of you might have noticed it. Today I just made history. For the first time ever, I've successfully inserted pictures into my post! I know it's no big deal to most of you out there, but to me it's quite something!

Fit for an Oscar

When was the last time you saw a good movie; one which had left you awe-stricken like the man in the mid-background of the above picture? The kind of movie which made you think, "Wow! the actors are really good, this movie is fit for an Oscar!"

Well, this is not a movie we have here; just a picture which I had extracted from this article. I am making an early nomination for this picture for best acting performance. In my opinion, it beats the performance below.

Always remember not to take things for granted. When you see a man sitting in a wheelchair, don't assume that he is an invalid. Otherwise, you will be surprised when the next time you see him, he's dancing on stage.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

You've got to be kidding me!

There was once when some friends tried to persuade me to take up golf. I followed them to a driving range. To my horror, I found that it was so damn hard to hit the balls — let alone hitting them to a specific spot on the turf. Not even one of those 100 golfballs I had that day landed on the intended target. Imagine my frustration for missing so many times. That was the first and last time I "played" golf.

But that was golf. Surely it can't be the same with sex? This guy has had sex more than 1,000 times with his wife over a period of 10 years; and yet the doctor found that his wife was still a virgin. I can't help thinking if he's been missing the intended target unknowingly all these years. I am curious to know, if he has been missing the intended target, then what has he been hitting all these while?

I am still in awe long after I had stopped laughing.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Wanting to be the best

Isn't it nice if you can be the best? It doesn't matter whether it's in studies, in sports, in music, in business — in fact in any field at all. To a certain extent, all of us would love to excel over the rest. Some of us are obsessed with winning. There is a word for it — kiasu.

Malays have been urged to be kiasu by Professor Ungku Aziz. He deems it necessary to achieve excellence in life. Come to think of it, I am kiasu too; and I would not hesitate to admit it. I always try my best to excel in whatever I do. But I don't think the Malays are not kiasu; in fact, I think a lot of them are. The real question is the approach that one adopts to achieve excellence.

I had a niece who was a "praise-addict"; and she was kiasu too. Her parents would overly praise her whenever she did good. And I fancy that it became quite stressful when she was unable to achieve what was expected of her. So she started cheating in school exams so that she could get better grades and position. She stole money to buy things to show off to her friends. She told lies all the time to keep up with being the best. Unfortunately, that trait continued into adulthood, and she ended up being a disaster in every sense of the word.

The advice of the Professor should be heeded with caution. Not everyone has the ability to achieve greatness — to be the best. Some people are smarter and luckier than the rest; and the sooner we realise it the better.

Winning is not everything; wanting to is. As long as we've tried our best, I think it's OK if we don't end up being the best. There is no need to adopt all the crooked ways to create the impression that you've achieved excellence.

Get over it!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

THAT bad, huh?

SOME couples are blessed with wonderful sex lives up to old age. Some are just so-so. Others have miserable sex lives — so much so that they have to seek help from the experts.

For a fee of RM1,600 the good doctor can impart his vast knowledge in sexual intercourse techniques and explain how the problem is to be tackled. But some couples are impatient — they want a quick solution. So why not perform the act in front of the expert and let him be the judge?

I wonder if the doctor has ever been tempted to demonstrate the act himself. Whatever it is, the first time he observed couples having intercourse in front of his very own eyes must have been quite something.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Mammogram subsidy

"Breast cancer can occur to ANYBODY and if you detect it early, you have a higher chance of a cure..."

— Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen, Deputy Finance Minister

I think it is good that the Government is subsidising the cost of mammogram in the hope of detecting breast cancer in its early stage. The RM50 subsidy is a good start. To me it is a more worthwhile use of public funds when compared to the Angkasawan project.

But, you know, some men have breasts too. So I wonder if such subsidy could be extended to men too? Then it will really be fair; and I would fully support it all the way.

Unlucky for some?

The day before yesterday I posted "Up, Even, Down", a topic which came about during a coffeeshop talk I had with my partner earlier that day. I raised the grim prospect of our girls opting to delay, or even not to marry at all.

So I suppose it is only fair that I brighten things up a bit by posting something in the opposite direction today...

For some time now, I've realised that some of our women married more than once. Now probably this has a lot to do with taking after Hollywood celebrities. Even a model of a "perfect girl" like Britney Spears who pledged to remain a virgin until she's married, ended up with 2 divorces — so far. I bet it's just a matter of time before the next husband comes along.

Imagine a Malaysian woman marrying more than 3 times in her lifetime. That would be something, huh? In fact, that would be rare! That's why I was attracted to the story about a woman who was married 13 times — so far. I am sure even Elizabeth Taylor would be impressed with this record.

But 13 is such an unlucky number for some people. Perhaps the granny should consider rounding up the figure to 15? And that would guarantee her a place in the Malaysian Book of Records, I'm sure... and it will be a record that will remain unbroken for a very long time to come...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Born to be wild

"Singapore is basically a conservative society ... and we want to keep it so..."

— Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong

Some people are born with wild imagination and inclination — and creatively so too — particularly when it comes to sex. It is not easy to say what is proper and what is not when it comes to sex.

What happens when a Government enacts laws that define the manner or limits of permissible sexual acts between two mutually-consenting heterosexual adults? Are we restricted to a prescribed guidelines on what is deemed proper and what is not by the law-makers?

Singaporeans would be relieved to know that their Government has decided to relax the law — although just a bit — to allow oral and anal sex between heterosexual adults. However, sex amongst homosexuals is still an act of "gross indecency" under Singapore laws, and punishable with a jail term of up to two years.

I doubt that any thorough research has been done on this matter, but one has to wonder if any mutually-consenting heterosexual adults have ever been caught having oral or anal sex in the past; and how they were dealt with...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Up, Even, Down

My partner and I were having a yam cha during a tea break this morning. We have such breaks every now and then to have our little talks — ranging from office matters, business or simply exchange of views on things in general.

Well, we ended up talking about Singaporean women. We agreed that they are increasingly more educated than their male counterparts. And we also noticed that they either delay getting married, or even opt not to get married at all.

I said perhaps it has a lot to do with the fact that they simply have no time to find life partners. I'd imagine that life in Singapore must be very competitive — work, work and work!

My partner had an interesting theory. He said the mentality of Asians is that when the women get married, they would marry "up" — sometimes they would marry "even", but very rarely, they would marry "down".

If there is any truth in such theory at all, I thought it is a cause for concern. After all, we are Singapore's neighbour, and we might have the same mindset. The reason that it is a concern is because it is a known fact that more Malaysian girls are getting into the universities when compared to the boys. Which means that in the long run (but not very long), the girls are going to be more educated than the boys. So are we going to end up with a situation where the girls would rather not marry because they run out of men of equal "standard" with them?

So girls, if you have a university degree or diploma; or say you are an executive in your workplace, would you consider a lowly-educated man who's working as, say, a clerk? If you drive a BMW, would you consider a man who can only afford a motorbike? Or would you expect your man to be at least of equal "standard" with you? Would you be prepared to marry "even" and "down"?

The King and I

The late Lim Goh Tong was quite a guy. At the age of 19, the young Lim came to the then Malaya from China. He had practically nothing to his name. A very hard-working and enterprising chap, he ventured into business at a young age. In the late sixties, he founded Genting Berhad, which was granted a casino licence — the only one granted by the Federal Government. He was later known as the Casino King. Yesterday, upon his death at the age of 90, he was worth billions — quite an achievement, really!

And I — what have I achieved? Well, not much! When I was still a teenager, I had a lot of dreams — I mean other than the wet ones. And now in my early forties, I have barely achieved half of them. But I continue to be inspired by people like the Casino King.

If I worked hard (and smart) I might have a shot at becoming a billionaire in about half a century's time when I'm 90. Sadly, however, at the rate that I'm going now, it seems quite impossible to reach that far — both physically and financially.

But thank you, the Casino King, for the inspiration that you have given us. I will strive to go the full distance.

And to those good people in the Federal Government, I could use a casino licence too.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cheating death

FROM a very young age, I love fishing. Many people find it boring and a total waste of time. Well, they don't know what they're missing! As a boy, I used to fish in the river. Later on, I tried fishing from the many beaches that we have in Sabah. Later on still, I ventured into deep-sea fishing. At one point, I became very obsessed with it. No, I am not going to tell you about the big ones that got away. This is about the time when I almost died at sea.

Four years ago, ten of us chartered a 70-foot trawler one weekend. It was an overnight trip. It normally takes between 3 to 5 hours to reach the fishing grounds. But one hour into the journey, the sea began to act up. Being the freak anglers that we were, we continued on anyway. We had intended to go to a place known as Karang-Karangan that day, but because of the rough sea, we ended up anchoring about one hour beyond Mengalum Island. Mengalum in turn is about 3 hours from KK.

We were all disappointed because the fish were not really biting that day. The night passed uneventfully. The next morning, we shifted a few times as we normally would. I was standing at the rear of the boat — something you wouldn't want to do during rough sea.

Suddenly, a huge wave came; the boat tilted; I lost my grip and fell down, landing onto the wooden railing. I heard my rib cracked. For a split second my vision became dark; and then the excrutiating pain kicked in. For a while I couldn't breath. My brother, Dennis, helped me up to a seated position. I leaned onto a short table holding my rib. I heard Eric saying "Oh shit!... Oh shit!". I managed to refrain from crying out in pain, but I just couldn't control the tears that kept coming. I felt like dying...

The skipper suggested that we take shelter in Mengalum, but I didn't think that was a good idea. So all of us voted to negotiate the rough sea back to KK. A journey that would normally take 3 hours, but we ended up reaching KK in 5 hours. In pain, I saw my girl, Jamie, and my wife, Euphemia, in my mind. Never before had I experienced such hopelessness — a sense of losing it all...

Well, we made it back to KK in the end. An x-ray revealed a fractured rib. Lots of pain killers and a few days rest. And then 2 months later I was out at sea again. Sometimes, we just never learn. What can I do, I just love to fish!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Timing error?

Well, folks, the good doctor has returned!

Welcome back, doc; and congratulations for being the first successful Malaysian Angkasawan. We look forward to a cure for cancer apart from all those pictures you took up there.

But it must have been quite a suspense missing the landing spot by a distance of 340km, huh? That was quite an error in calculation and timing. Thank goodness all turned out to be fine in the end.

By the way, doc, talking about timing, I wonder if we were ready for this 11-day trip with a price tag of USD20 million. That is quite a lot of money. While we are all proud of this achievement, I can't help thinking the number of schools, roads and other infrastructures that could have been constructed with all that money. We are after all a developing country that requires development in order to finally become a developed country some day?

Now it seems that we are getting seduced by the idea of sending another doctor up there. That means what — another USD20 million? Perhaps the timing is a bit out; too soon for us? Shouldn't we wait until we become a developed country first? How about we come back down to earth and attend to those kids who still walk miles to and from school each day because the Government has "no money" to build schools closer to their villages. After building those schools, if we are lucky, we might still have some money left to train some doctors and engineers.

Who knows, maybe these are other viable options on how to spend our money...

Yosevina & Anger Management

"But I did lock the front door grilles just as you had instructed me to!"

— Yosevina Nogo Ritan, housemaid.

My wife and I are working from eight to five; five days a week. By the time I come home in the evenings, it would normally be close to 6 pm. My wife, being the Legal Manager in her workplace, would normally come home a little later than that. Those of you who are like us would know that it is extremely difficult to cope without a housemaid.

Our previous housemaid worked for us for four years. But she fell in love with a fellow Indonesian and announced that she wanted to quit within 3 days. We practically begged her to give us a little bit more time to find a replacement. She then gave us up to a week. Well, you know what they say, love can't wait...

After she left, we were without a maid for 2 months. We called up all the agents we knew in KK to no avail. We also asked some friends for help; and their friends' friends too. And then finally, it just so happened one day we were at a reflexologist centre where an Indonesian lady told us that her niece was looking for a job. That was music to our ears. My wife swiftly arranged for an interview.

Enter Yosevina Nogo Ritan...

She said everyone knew her simply as Fin. Her papers showed that she's 22 years old, but I had a shrewd suspicion that she's only a teenager. When my wife first met her, she had only arrived from her village in Indonesia. Out of desperation, my wife brought her home that very morning itself.

That evening, I met Fin for the very first time. This was about 3 weeks ago. Now I don't have any problem with Indonesian Malay, but I couldn't help but smiled when my wife tried to talk to her — they were (and still are) like chicken and duck, trying to communicate with each other, if you know what I mean.

Well, it soon became obvious to me that Fin wasn't a very bright person. We had to teach her everything from scratch. But at least on that first day, I managed to teach her how to flush the toilet and lock the door by pressing that little button on the door knob.

One morning, before I went to work, I had instructed her to at least lock the front door grilles if she wanted to have her beauty afternoon sleep (she has her regular 2-hour afternoon sleep, not nap). When I came home from the office that evening, she had just woken up.

I called her from the front door and said, "Didn't I tell you to lock this grilles when you go to sleep?".

And she replied, "But I did lock the front door grilles just as you had instructed me to!".

And I had to explain to her that there is no use to lock the grilles if the key to that lock is left in the key-hole. But I was lucky that she didn't snap back at me and say that I didn't instruct her to remove that key.

As the days passed, Fin has been quite a good test for anger management. I am not sure how much longer I can stand her ignorance, but mercifully I am still able to control myself so far.

Please, God, I am having trouble controlling my blood pressure. With all the power that you have, could you please give Fin just a bit of common sense?...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Putting the noose around one's own neck

"I really hope people will come forward... Otherwise, we may conclude there is no case..."

— Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz (The Star - 19 October)

A couple of weeks ago, the emergence of a video clip caused something of a stir throughout the nation. The video clip featured a senior lawyer allegedly brokering the appointment of judges. A three-man panel was subsequently set up by the Government to investigate the authenticity of the video clip. Anyone with information on the video is urged to come forward to assist with the investigation. One has to wonder whether the priority is to investigate the whistle-blower, or those person(s) implicated in the video.

I don't have any information about that famous video clip, but I am not sure what would I have done if I knew anything about it.

Of course in the spirit of "performing one's duty to the country" the "right" thing to do would be to come forward with the information — whatever it is. And then if indeed there was any truth at all in the video clip, hopefully the guilty party would receive the deserved punishment. Then I would get a pat on my back; become famous and occupy the front pages of all local papers for some weeks. I might even end up being conferred with a datukship. That is one possible outcome.

The other possible outcome is that I will be thrown into prison indefinitely where I will be interrogated, blind-folded, stripped naked and then physically assaulted. If I am able to survive all those, maybe there is hope that I will somehow find freedom again some day. And then if I am lucky, I can commence legal actions against my perpetrators and awarded a miserable damages of RM1. Of course if I am really lucky, I may also end up with RM2.5 million (The Star - 19 October). But don't bet on getting that RM2.5 million, because in all likelihood, that was a one-off mistake that won't be repeated again.

Did you find it strange that no one has come forward with information on the video clip?

Longing for another

I am blessed with a daughter. She is 5 years old and everything that I can hope for in a daughter.

Before she was born, I dreaded the thought of parenthood. It didn't help that I read about conditions like down syndrome and autism. My wife and I took a long time before deciding that we were mentally ready for parenthood. Now that I am a daddy, I am enjoying every moment of it. Whenever JJ learns something new, I am just ecstatic. There is so much joy being a daddy; and I long for another child. If we are blessed with a son, that would be even better!

About 3 years ago, my wife and I decided to try for another. But after months of trying, nothing happened. Then we went to a specialist doctor to seek help. I was made to go for a sperm-count test. It was an embarrassing procedure. I had to ejaculate into a small sterile container. Because I was embarrassed, I opted to do it at home first thing in the morning. But then after that I had to rush to the lab. Well, the count revealed that I had enough healthy sperms after all.

The next few months saw us husband and wife visiting the doctor frequently. We tried practically everything — my wife's menstrual cycle was closely monitored; we were given timetable for intercourse; some sort of "fertilizer" pills for my wife; this test and that test. After all of those embarrassment, we came to the conclusion that we are not meant to have another child.

That is why my heart ached when I read about the murder of a newborn baby boy (The Star - 20 Oct). Whatever the problem was, surely there were other ways to deal with it. Put him up for adoption; or even abandon him at a bus stop or something. Did the boy have to die for the sins of his parents?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Getting the nod

"I asked whether he wanted to celebrate his birthday at the top of the mountain and he nodded happily, so I am helping to make his wish come true."

— Mohd Noor Mat Amin, seasoned mountaineer.

From my early childhood I have always been striving to achieve something that others can't. I am essentially a perfectionist in many ways, even though I am aware that no one is perfect. In some areas, I have more or less achieved what I set out to do, but in others I'm still pursuing my dreams. Whenever I see others striving hard to achieve greatness, I am filled with joy and admiration.

Sabah, being my home State, I happen to have conquered Mount Kinabalu before. From the age of 17 up to about 6 years ago, I've been up there 11 times. So I know quite a bit about mountain-climbing; and in particular, I know about Mount Kinabalu. For the benefits of the readers who've not been up Mount Kinabalu before, please allow me to give a brief idea of what it is like up there.

Mount Kinabalu stands at 4,095 metres at its highest point known as Low's Peak. Climbers register at the Kinabalu Park (1,563 metres), pay for the fees and relevant insurance, guide and transportation to Timpohon Gate (1,800 metres). Thereafter, climbers will start climbing up to Laban Rata (3,300 metres), a hike that normally takes around 4 to 6 hours. Laban Rata accommodates rooms, a restaurant and common bathrooms with hot shower. Climbers can then get some rest.

At around 2:30am the next morning, climbers awake and prepare for the summit climb. At around 3:00am, the climbers begin their ascent in the dark with flashlights. The temperature is almost freezing point and winter clothings are required. If everything goes well — and assuming that the climber had not collapsed due to altitude sickness — it is normally possible to reach the peak just as the sun rises. There is nothing but rocks up there.

Then the climbers will have to beat the time to descend before the fog sets in. Too many people who underestimated the fog have lost their way on the barren rock and eventually died in the cold long before help arrived. Even well-trained soldiers have lost their way up there.

Some very, very fit people don't find Mount Kinabalu very challenging. But take it from me — many ordinary people who do nothing but push pencils in the office will find it tough. It is quite a challenge!

Mohd Noor Mat Amin asked the above question to his son, and apparently received an affirmative response. Ordinarily, I would be happy to see others striving to achieve big things. But here we are talking about a 3-year-old boy (The Star). What does he know about the harsh conditions in the mountain?

Someone please do something about the Malaysia Book of Records. Sooner or later, there will come a time when we must draw a line between pushing our limits and recognising madness!

IF I were a Yang Berhormat...

I would probably spend a lot of time thinking of a way to ensure that I am constantly in the limelight — to remain or become more popular. And I will see to it that I am always associated with something good that has happened. One way or another I will make sure that the rakyat is aware of the good things that I have done for them — even if that is not the whole truth...

IF I were the YB dealing with the Seagull Express 2 tragedy, I'd arrange for a search-and-rescue mission for possible survivors. I would order the Marine Police to take all the necessary actions to get everyone involved — including the media to cover the event.

BUT! no one shall embark on the mission until I give the green light! I want to be in the boat too, you see. The mission shall not commence until — and only until — I arrive at the scene. And IF I arrived late, then everyone will just have to wait. Be patient, for goodness sake! Then, with any luck, if we find any survivor at all, absolutely no one is allowed to pull the survivor out of the water. I will do it personally — after making sure all the cameras are ready, of course. And that will make my day as a YB... If only...

But alas, I am not a YB; and I don't think that I ever will be one. But IF by a stroke of miracle I do become one some day, perhaps I will be a famous one. The rakyat will probably write and comment about me in their blogs...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The art of finger-pointing

"We didn't abandon passengers"

"We will wait for advice from the A-G, we can expect stern action from the Government."

"It's my fault; I screwed up; I accept full responsibility for the tragedy..."

The first quote was that of Wan Fakrorozi Wan Naman, the captain of the Seagull Express 2 which caught fire and sank (The Star).

The second quote was that of Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy on the same tragedy (The Star).

The third quote is no where to be found in any of the newspapers — it is one that I have conjured up for this post. It is something that we long to hear whenever a tragedy like that of the Seagull Express 2 occurs — but will never get to hear. It is simply not in our nature to admit responsibility.

Whenever there is such a tragedy, the first thing we do is to think of who to blame. We start blaming the captain; Oh! maybe it's the Marine Department Ship Inspectors! Then again perhaps it's the crews who're not trained for the emergency. There can be many candidates that can qualify to be the scapegoats. Just remember that we ourselves can't be the culprits.

You see, we are a nation that has mastered the fine art of finger-pointing in situations such as this. When was the last time that you saw or heard someone with the courage to admit that he or she was responsible for something that has gone awfully wrong? Maybe someday if we can somehow learn to shoulder responsibilities, then there is hope that we can begin to behave responsibly in whatever we do...

Don't be disappointed

This message is mainly meant for my Sabahan friends who see "treasure hunts" in their minds whenever they see or hear the name Cornelius Koh.

Those of you who've visited this blog in the hope of seeing some revelations of new tricks in treasure hunts might have been disappointed. No, I'm afraid this is not a treasure hunt blog — far from it. When a treasure hunt master, Michael Pang, suggested that I start my own blog, it was never intended to be a treasure hunt blog anyway. So, please don't be disappointed, my friends.

Listen, some ideas are brewing in my mind right now as far as treasure hunts are concerned. Sooner or later I will introduce a regular feature here related to treasure hunts; perhaps something in the order of hunt questions, and visitors can try out their skills to answer them. But it won't come that soon, because I need to sort things out first. In the mean time, hunters (who don't already know it) can check out Mike's blog for hunt information.

Oh yes, by visiting Mike's blog, I have also found my way to Wai Sum's blog (she in turn has found her way into the Timeout Solutions' masters list recently) where I found the link to Sudoku Combat. I tried it out for some days and then registered (for free) under the handle Passion. It was not a particularly significant name; I tried registering with "ckoh" or the likes, but those names have been taken. I have a passion for mind games, and so I suddenly thought of that word passion. Those of you who are keen on mind games, I'd recommend Sudoku Combat. On your way there, you can stop by Wai Sum's blog to look around for a bit. Some interesting reads, but if only I know how to post a comment there!

Again, hang in there folks, I am working on the treasure hunt stuff...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Balance of probabilities

The law is not my field of expertise, and I know very few legal jargons. However, I once appeared in court to defend myself and my company from a party seeking to make a quick profit. The learned judge, in deciding in favour of us, amongst others, used the phrase "balance of probabilities" in his judgement.

This post has nothing to do with the above case. But due to my fascination to that phrase by the judge, I propose to use it later... At the end of this post, I want to ask some questions; and I hope there would be some women — especially married ones — who'd be kind enough to offer an opinion.

Now imagine that a woman is aware that her husband has gone to work. She goes to bed — alone. Then an hour later, she feels a man next to her. She does not see his face — who knows, maybe it is pitch dark. That, however, does not stop her from proceeding to have an intercourse with that man. The sexual act continues, and the woman suspects nothing out of the ordinary. When it is over, the man simply leaves the room. There is of course no struggle.

And then now the husband appears in his work clothes — like he is expected to. And only now the woman realises that it wasn't her husband who she had had intercourse with. And only now she cries rape (NST).

On the balance of probabilities, without seeing the person, can a woman tell that the man next to her is not her husband? If not, would she be able to at least suspect something out of the ordinary while she is having sex with him? Would there be some habitual movements, grunts or reactions by the man during the act which would raise suspicions?

If this was an act of rape, it seems so convenient for the rapist. Everything was so calm and orderly — up to the point when the husband saw the man coming out of the room...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Knowing the stories by-heart...

"My heart will go on..."

So says Celine Dion in the famous theme song for the movie, Titanic — A wonderful movie inspired by the tragedy of the ill-fated Olympic-class ocean liner in its maiden journey across the Atlantic Ocean.

Celine does not tell us what was it that the heart will go on doing. I suppose she is keeping it open for us to interpret — perhaps the heart will go on loving; hoping etc. Maybe it's better that the song is composed that way — it adds to the beauty and artistic of it...

"She... was given a new lease of life..."

According to Dr Mohamed Ezani, the Unit Clinical Director of IJN where Hui Yi received a heart from a donor (The Star, 15th October - Hui Yi wants tube removed). I suppose Dr Ezani didn't mean "a new lease" in its literal sense — as in leasing of a house or a shop. He meant the heart can help Hui Yi [a fresh start] to continue living.

"... my heart stopped breathing and my eyes stopped blinking."

This, coming from the famous Malaysian Angkasawan when he saw the view of earth from the ISS (The Star, 16th Oct - Helping out with the repairs). Elsewhere, in another blog, I've expressed my disappointment when the good doctor copied the words of Neil Armstrong — that thing about the small step for him, and the big leap for the Malaysian people.

I said I would have been happier if he had said something original, instead of copying from another spaceman decades before him. Perhaps my comment had reached the good doctor after all, and the above was just him trying to be original this time. But one has to wonder what would happen after his heart stopped breathing — perhaps his nose will start beating.

Maybe the good doctor is better off being unoriginal after all. Good try anyway, doc! Don't mess up with the repairs now, ya hear!?

Edit: I have just learned to add links into my posts, and I thought it would be nice to refer to The Star Online. Well, folks, to be fair to the good doctor, it was The Star that made the mistake. In the hard copy Star, it was published that the doctor said "... my heart stopped breathing...", but in the online version, he was reported to have said "... my heart stopped beating...". Doesn't it annoy you when people misquote you?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Unfortunate fortune

It must have been at least 12 years ago when a fortune-teller came to our office one day. This was in Brunei (I was working there for a good 13 years or so).

Anyway, the fortune-teller — his name was Mr Singh (can't remember his full name) — claimed that he's very famous in his field. For a fee of BND100, he'd read my fortune. Now at that time, BND100 was a big sum to me — hell, it still is! — so I turned down his offer nicely. But Mr Singh was very persuasive. He looked at my face and said that I had 7 happiness coming. That was so nice to hear, considering that I just lost my hard-earned BND20 bet the day before on a football game.

Mr Singh went on and on about my good fortune. I never knew that I was such a lucky person. However! at the end of that long chain of good fortune, there's one "black mark" — a mishap according to Mr Singh. Safe for that "black mark", everything was perfect. Fortunately, Mr Singh, being the brilliant fortune-teller that he was, was able to remedy that "black mark" so that the negative spell could be eliminated. I was fascinated. But still, y'know, BND100 was my half-week wages. Then I thought of a compromise; I offerred Mr Singh BND50 (that was all the money I had on me).

Mr Singh became annoyed. He said it was an insult on his name. Absolutely no one ever bargained with him on his fee. He said it's not even enough to cover the cost of his hotel room. I felt ashamed, and Mr Singh left with a sour face.

That night I kept thinking about Mr Singh. Mind you, 7 happiness — except for one miserable "black mark". Think about it, what is the price of BND100 to remove that "black mark", and then everything would be perfect. Oh I must get Singh to help me. But how was I going to get hold of Singh? Then I remembered that he's staying in a hotel. That should be easy, because back then, there're not so many hotels in Brunei. So I started calling the hotels one by one from the cheapest one up to the most expensive one. When I finally got to the most expensive hotel, there was indeed a Mr Singh who flew in from Singapore earlier that day. I was put through to his room.

I introduced myself and immediately apologized to Mr Singh. I said I was the one he met that afternoon — the one who declined his service for a fee of BND100. I said I've changed my mind and would like him to remove the "black mark" so that my fortune would be perfect.

There was a pause on the other end. And then came the answer from Mr Singh:

Now look here, I'm no fortune-teller — I'm a Government servant!

And again I felt ashamed for the second time that day. So remember folks, never ever take things for granted; never assume that there is only one Mr Singh around. They are all Mr Singh! The next time you meet a Mr Singh, make sure that you know his first name too.

As for the fortune-teller, he failed to get my BND100 that day. I guess I am doomed with the "black mark" for the rest of my life...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Learning from The X-Files

I've mentioned before that I am an idiot when it comes to modern technologies related to computers and the internet. I always find myself in awe whenever I witness what computers and cyber techonlogies can do for us. One such occasion was when I was watching The X-Files some time ago.

Just for the record, I don't spend a lot of time watching TV. I am NOT one of those creatures who would wait for a favourite TV program to come on air on Sundays, just to be disappointed when that weekly program had to be cancelled to make way for Sure Heboh.

Anyway, coming back to The X-Files, there was one episode where Agent Mulder obtained a lead from a tape recording of a CCTV. I found myself in awe of the state-of-the-art video-enhancing software the FBI uses in its investigative work. From a blur footage, the said software was able to "enhance" the images to the extent that Mulder was able to determine that the person on the tape was Agent Skinner! The "video enhancement" process also took no more than 5 minutes to complete. Did you ever wonder why the FBI is respected and envied the world over?

And what have we learned from The X-Files? Well, we have learned to get their experts to help us out whenever there is a need for the so-called video-enhancement tasks. Such was the case of the gruesome murder of Nurin Jazlin. Our police force, due to its brilliant investigative skills, had managed to get hold of CCTV recordings. Unfortunately, as in the X-Files, the images found in those recordings were blur. So we sought help from the FBI. The tapes were sent over to the States for video-enhancement. I am sure everyone was kept in suspense over the last 2 weeks or so while waiting for the outcome of those "enhancements".

Finally, the video-enhancement was completed and sent back to our police. The Malaysian police in turn decided to publish those enhanced images to the public. Quite an amazing journey for those tapes, really. They've travelled thousands of miles...

From the front page of The Star, now we know that:

1) Man in a long sleeved T-shirt parks his Modenas Kriss motocycle in front of the Jalan PJS 1/48 Petaling Utama three-storey shoplot.

2) He removes his helmet and makes a phone call.

3) The man, still on the phone, goes and checks out the shoplot before returning to his motorcycle.

4) The man takes the bag that had been placed between the motorcycle seat and front basket.

5) He coolly walks to the shoplot with the bag.

6) The man returns to his motorcycle minus the bag and speeds away from the scene.

Now get this: neither the face of the bagman nor the registration number of the motorcycle could be seen clearly.

I didn't get to see the CCTV tapes before the so-called "video-enhancement". But I have a feeling that had I been shown those tapes before the FBI had a hand at it, I would have been able to give the police those information 1 to 6 above. Now with these information, I am confident that our police would soon lay their hands on the murderer(s).

Why blog?

Someone told me about blogging some years ago. But I didn't really look into it because I am simply an idiot when it comes to modern technologies connected to the internet! In fact, before this year, I never contributed anything to a blog.

A couple of months ago, I was introduced to a blog by a friend. Since then, I've been spending quite a lot of time discussing issues mainly related to treasure hunts. To a lesser extent, I've also been giving my views on other subjects.

A friend suggested that I start my own blog — an interesting suggestion which I've been meaning to try out for a while now, but never actually embarked on it... until now. So here I am with my very own blog!

I suppose over the next few days — or even weeks — I'll be doing minor changes here and there to make this blog appear more "professional", so that it won't be too obvious that I am totally new at this. In the mean time, if you find any problems navigating around my blog, please bear with me. Either I'll solve the problems myself; or I'll get someone to rescue me!

Those of you who are familiar with my posts over at the RIDDLERAIDERS blog, I'm afraid this won't be another treasure hunt blog. I intend to break away from treasure hunt discussions, although I might discuss something related to treasure hunts occasionally.

OK, so let's see... what should I talk about now?...