Monday, August 25, 2008


The NPC Treasure Hunt was held last Saturday, and the results are available in Michael Pang's blog. A forum has since ensued, and several issues have been raised. Amongst others, there is a debate on a question where the CoC apparently accepted 2 answers found within that sector. I am bringing the discussion of Q22 to this blog, as I think it merits a detailed analysis. Perhaps my Sabahan friends who're still not familiar with Mike's blog can also take advantage and join in the debate!

OK, here is the question:


And the 2 shortlisted answers are:



The CoC had apparently intended (A) above as the "official answer". However, several other teams—including master teams—gave (B).

To summarise, the arguments for and against each other's case, so far, are as follows:

An advocate of the SUNSHINE answer was of the opinion that it occurs naturally, as opposed to the sun being "LIT". He (I'm assuming a he) asked, "How do you 'light' the sun?"

The advocate of the LITSUN answer, on the other hand, raised the significance of the word "business" found in the question. According to him, the answer must account for that word "business". Therefore the word SUNSHINE without, say, "Enterprise" or "Trading" etc would not be acceptable, because after all there is nothing in the word SUNSHINE, standing on its own, that has anything to do with "business".

Those are the points raised by both parties. At first glance, it would appear that both sides have equally valid points. The way I see it, both the answers are imperfect. In such a case, the only question now is to decide which one is closer to the mark?

Let's deal with the SUNSHINE first, since this was not the intended answer of the CoC.

A quick check from the dictionary will show that SUNSHINE means inter alia "the light and heat of the sun". In that sense, SUNSHINE is indeed "always bright" and it also occurs "naturally". So it seems that SUNSHINE satisfies "... always bright, naturally."

But does it satisfy "A business"? This is a bit trickier to answer. As mentioned above, one view is that "business" must necessarily refer to an extension like, say, "Enterprise" or "Trading", so that it will be known that SUNSHINE is used as a business name.

However, the thing about treasure hunt is that sometimes there is more than one ways to interpret the clue. In this particular case, in my opinion, it is also possible to construe the purpose of "A business" in the question as directing the solver to signboards of only business names. Considered from this point of view, therefore, had the word SUNSHINE been found on, say, a road sign, e.g. SUNSHINE STREET, then it shall not satisfy the question. But if SUNSHINE is used in the business context, irrespective of whether it is followed by "Enterprise" or not, then it should be acceptable. It is not perfect, I know, but still a possible way out, albeit perhaps not a universally acceptable defence.

Now we turn our attention to the intended answer, i.e. LITSUN:

Here, the extension, "Motor Trading" does satisfy the requirement of "A business" in the clue based on one possible way of interpreting the significance of "A business". But now we come to "always bright" and "naturally". And here I am having some problems. Had it been just the word SUN, then I would be very happy. After all, the SUN is indeed "always bright", and of course it occurs "naturally" too. But no, we have that word "LIT" attached to it. It is therefore necessary to investigate whether the presence of "LIT" would change the meaning of the word.

LIT comes from the word "light", the past perfect tense is "lighted" or "lit". Unless I am totally blind to other possible meanings intended by the CoC, LIT SUN basically means "lighted sun", just like when we say "lighted candle" or "lighted cigar". If that is indeed the intention of the CoC, then I must echo the question: How do you light (up) the sun? And even if that is possible, it most certainly does not occur "naturally". And if the CoC intends to say that the sun was "naturally" lit up, I think that is also inaccurate. There is no need for "LIT". The sun is necessarily lighted for it to be a sun. Otherwise it is not a sun. But of course I am not an astrophysicist, so I might be wrong here.

To think one step further, could it be that the CoC means to say that it is the SUN that has lighted something? That is no good too. For if that's the intention, then it should have been SUNLIT (sunlighted) Something, rather than LITSUN Something. Think about it: "SUN-LIGHTED VENUE" and "LIGHTED-SUN VENUE". Which one sounds grammatically correct?

For the above reasons, had I been hunting in the NPC, I would have chosen SUNSHINE @ ??? SDN BHD.

But of course don't take it from me, because sometimes the CoC is not that detailed—they may end up accepting an inferior answer! Check out my past comments under the "Treasure Hunt" label in this blog, and you will know what I mean.

The question, standing on its own, is perfectly fine. But in view of these two possible answers, there is a need to throw in something to exclude other possibilities so that only ONE answer can be accepted. It is in that sense that I've said in Mike's blog that it is a dubious question.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Isn't it amusing to get the announcement of the fuel price reduction? It was just too predictable, wasn't it?

The Government was supposed to review the fuel prices on the 1st of September. Unfortunately, the polling day for the Permatang Pauh by-election is on 26 August. And so, the fuel reduction simply had to come before that. We should all be prepared for more "sweeteners" coming from the Government in the next few days before 26 August. Maybe we should have more by-elections, huh?

Friday, August 22, 2008


Olympic Games 2004: Lauryn Williams, as the anchor for the USA's Women's 4x100 Team, messes up with the baton

Olympic Games 2008: Lauryn Williams, as the anchor for the USA's Women's 4x100 Team, messes up with the baton

Lauryn Williams ran in the Olympic Summer Games 2004; and she ran in the 2008 Games too. As the anchor for the Women's 4x100 Team in 2004, she messed up with the baton which Marion Jones tried to pass to her. Four years later, yesterday, history repeated itself—she dropped the baton again and her team never made it to the finals of that event.

I am not well-versed with the track and field training, but I'd reckon that by the time she ran in the 2004 Games, she must have practised the baton-passing several thousand times. And then after the disaster of that 2004 Games, I'm sure she must have practised the baton-passing many thousand times more. When you've gone through such a lousy experience, you'd want to remedy your mistake and come back strong this time. Maybe she has even perfected the passing to the extent of being able to do it in her sleep, so to speak.

What's the odds of the same mistake happening the same way, with the same team, with the same person, twice—consecutively in the same Games? Bear in mind that we're talking about professional athletes here.

Mia and I were having dinner when yesterday's event was broadcasted live on Astro. While the participants were getting ready, I said to Mia that Lauryn messed up 4 years ago; and I was pretty sure that she must have perfected the baton-passing by now. So you should have seen how my jaw dropped when she dropped the baton again.

But, y'know, she's only 24 years old now. Who knows, perhaps if she's not kicked out for good, she might just come back for the 2012 Games at the age of 28 to repeat the mistake for the third time? That would be something, huh? I'm sure it won't be easy to beat that kind of record.

My heart goes out to Lauryn. I hope she remains strong. Never give up. Try and try again, and I'm sure she'll get it right sooner or later.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wrong Focus

I find it strange that most people are inclined to focus on the wrong target, while missing something that is obviously clear.

In an earlier post entitled Scrutinising The Anus, I pointed out that a tear in Saiful's anus does not necessarily mean that he was sodomised. And on the other hand, if there was no tear, it doesn't mean that he wasn't sodomised. But most people have a one-track mind. Their approach is very straightforward. If there is a tear, then he must have been sodomised; and vice versa, period! There is no room for other possibilities.

Now look at this thing about swearing on the Quran. The lad swore on the Quran in his attempt to prove that he's telling the truth. For a while now he's been challenging Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to do the same. But really, what is the value of "swearing on the Quran"? Well, I am happily immune from such drama; swearing on the holy book does not mean anything to me!

Let me tell you a real story.

There's this guy I know who's been cheating on his wife. Well, to make the long story short, the wife had reasons to suspect that her husband was cheating on her. But she couldn't prove it. The husband said to me, privately, that he would readily admit to me that he had been fooling around. But when it came to his wife, he was willing to swear on the Quran, that he did not cheat on her. His logic was that if he admitted his "mistake" to his wife, then his wife would never ever trust him again. So he'd rather swear on the Quran to preserve his wife's trust. There's plenty of time for taubat, you see.

That was the last time I spoke to him. We haven't been on talking terms since about 17 years ago. This is one thing that I hate about myself, I take a very, very long time to forgive my enemies, if ever. And I also still can't find it in my heart to forgive my grandmother up to now, even though she has long died of cancer. I am not proud of it. But that is a different story.

Anyway, to that man—you know who you are—let me tell you that you are a jerk! Although I don't believe in religions, if indeed there is heaven and hell, I hope you will be punished severely in hell when you die!

As for Saiful and his swearing on the Quran, it doesn't affect me in the least. If tomorrow Anwar, too, swears on the Quran, it shall not affect me as well. The bottom line is, swearing on the Quran does not exonerate anyone. In fact, if anyone finds the need to use the holy book to support his claim, always be wary of his honesty. Swearing on the holy book is not an evidence that can support what is claimed to be the truth.

I shall not allow myself to be influenced by all these mockery of the holy book.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Eternal Youth

According to the bible, the first man, Adam, lived up to 930 years old. Many other people during that era—Noah, for example—lived up to almost 1,000 years old. It is hard to imagine what would happen if we can all live that long.

The current world population is estimated to be around 6.684 billion, and expected to reach near 9 billion by 2042. If we keep up the present birth rate, but reducing the mortality rate substantially, then it can only mean the our world will very quickly become overcrowded.

Apparently, some scientists believe that science might one day halt or even reverse the ageing process. It seems that they have a scientific basis for their belief, but even if it is possible to achieve it, I think it will take many more generations before it can actually happen. However, I'm wondering what exactly did they mean by "halting or even reversing ageing". As far as I am concerned, Sir Cliff Richard most certainly does not "manage to defy the effects of old age".

But can you imagine living up to 1,000 years old? There will be so much time to do anything you want to do. You are free to be a procrastinator; you can learn to be, say, a doctor, practise for a hundred years or so, and then when you're fed-up with that profession, go back to school again to learn a totally new profession. You can borrow a hell lot of money from the bank to buy the most expensive things you like, and then take a few hundred years to repay the loan. There will be no retirement age since you will remain young forever, although perhaps not like Cliff Richard.

And then you wake up one day and realise that you've done everything that you wanted to do; you've been to everywhere you wanted to go to; you've learned everthing you wanted to learn; in fact you've achieved practically everything humanly possible to achieve. You are done with living, but you have some 500 years of life remaining. At that point, your daily routine will be about figuring out what else to do with your life. It can be annoying, that!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Intruders

Sabah is home to numerous unique and rare animals such as the Proboscis Monkeys, Sumatran Rhinoceroses and the Borneo Elephants, to name a few. However, some of these animals have declined in population over the years, and now classified as endangered species. If we are not careful, by the next generation the only place we can see them is in the zoo.

It has been estimated that the current population of the Borneo Elephants in Sabah had dwindled to only 1,000. In recent years, as more lands were opened to make way for oil palm plantations, the Borneo Elephants' natural habitat was quickly reducing in size.

Yesterday, during our Rotarian meeting, a fellow Rotarian, Mr Toshinori Tsubouchi, a Japanese consultant attached to the Borneo Conservation Trust, showed me some pictures, taken during one of their field visits in the vicinity of the Menangor River in Sukau. The above picture shows a baby elephant with its mother. It is good to know that the elephants are still breeding.

But this next picture is very disturbing—it shows the baby elephant is suffering from a serious injury on its right fore limb. It was caught in a wire trap set by oil palm plantation workers. Although it was able to escape from the trap, its limb was beyond help.

How my heart broke when Toshinori told me that they had no choice but to put this baby elephant down. Chances for adaptation with only 3 legs were too remote for a sizeable animal like this elephant. It would have died a slow and painful death.

This land has been the home of the Borneo Elephants since an estimated 18,000 years ago. But their world has become gradually smaller over the years because of human intrusion into their habitat. In the end it's the Borneo Elephants that have become the intruders of the human plantations.

Toshinori is facing an uphill task, but I hope these brave people will be successful in saving the last of these rare animals.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Borneo Marathon—Surviving Fourth Week

How time flies— it's been 4 weeks since I started training seriously for the half marathon. Another 7 weeks plus to the Borneo International Marathon on 12 October. Over the last couple of weeks, I've been gradually building up my distance, especially during my "long runs" (usually on Saturdays).

I have since bought a new pair of adidas running shoes—the adizero (see above picture). Not exactly a very high-tech looking pair of shoes, but I find them very suitable for my purpose. They are very light for the long torture; and also enough cushion for those hard impacts.

I ran 15 km during last Saturday's long run, a distance I never knew that I could conquer. At first I wanted to run at the marathon clinic at the Likas Sports Complex jogging track. But that Saturday afternoon, the sky was cloudy and appeared like it was going to rain heavily. So I went to the gym to run on the treadmill instead. It took me 1 hour and 40 minutes to complete that run. Not a very impressive time, and it obviously doesn't support my ambition of completing that 21 km under 2 hours. Hopefully I can still improve on my speed and endurance within the next couple of weeks.

I foresee doing most of my long runs on the treadmill. Actually, it would be good if I can somehow do at least one long run at the jogging track. But I can't stand running for more than an hour without rehydrating my body. I hate the idea of carrying a water bottle with me during my runs. Running at the gym solves that problem. I can have my water bottle right there on the treadmill, and I can drink whenever I like.

The treadmill can do a lot for me. Some people have told me that running on the track is tougher, but I don't really think so. Running on the treadmill will force me to keep up with the pace, but running outdoor will teach my body to initiate the pace. So I suppose there is a difference from the psychological point of view. Then of course there's the weather and also the hard surface. However, after several weeks of running on the track as well as on the treadmill, I found that after several sessions on the treadmill, somehow I can run faster on the track. I don't know why that is so.

I'm glad that this week will be my "step-down"; which means I will run only 12 km this Saturday. But over the next 3 Saturdays I will have to run 15 km, 18 km and 21 km respectively, before "tapering" gradually by 20% to 30% per week up to the marathon day. I really dread all those long runs, but I suppose since I've managed to reach this far, I should just keep going to explore new frontiers. I just hope my legs will cooperate with me until the marathon day.

Incidentally, while I am still going through this torture, a friend sent me an invitation to join him in the Penang Bridge International Marathon, scheduled for 16 November. Right now I have not even reached the 21 km point, so the 25 km sounds extremely far-fetched to me. But I am tempted to go for the adventure anyway. Perhaps I can also beg Master Jayaram Menon to set a hunt the day before the marathon. That would really make the trip worth it. Besides, I've also asked Mia if she'd like to go for a short holiday in Penang. She said that sounds like a good idea, although we don't know what Penang has to offer.

But I am not going to commit so soon. I want to see how I am doing with the 21 km first. I should be able to know in a few weeks' time. Just a few months ago, it's beyond my wildest imagination that I'd be going all the way to Penang to run. I guess there's always a first time for everything.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Interact Club Of La Salle School—Installation Dinner

The New Board of Directors of the Interact Club of La Salle School (George and I in the centre)

On Friday night, Rotarian George Ngui, his charming wife, Lora, and I attended the Installation Dinner of the Interact Club of La Salle School. I had to beat the heavy after-office traffic home. Then feed Boomer, freshened up and put on my formal attire for the occasion, got into the traffic jam again, and finally reached Promenade Hotel a bit late. But while I was on my way there, I received a call from George, telling me that everyone was already waiting for me.

When I reached the hotel, I met George near the bar. He was watching Chong Wei beating the poor Korean for the silver medal. Apparently the Interactors were still not ready. Our timing was just right, because it was just about the end of the match when we finally got the call from the incoming President, Theresa Muthu.

George had the honour of giving a short speech just before dinner. He explained to the audience that our late arrival was due to a matter of national interest; and he announced that Malaysia had won. Later I complained to him that he might have given the wrong impression that we had won the gold medal!

The dinner was well-organised. Surprisingly there were not so many of those loud noises which the kids call entertainment these days. They had some games, and then followed by what was called "King and Queen of the Night". Three predetermined pairs of boys and girls had to do a slow dance, and George and I were given the honour to choose which ones should be the King and Queen.

Later on, there was a lucky draw. Both George and I were called up to the stage to draw some numbers and give away the prizes. George seemed to enjoy his role very much, but I have a shrewd suspicion that he's unwilling to give away the hamper, as you can see in the above photo.

The show ended with 2 songs by three guitarists from the school. It was still impossible to make out the lyrics of the songs, but I must admit that they weren't as noisy as I thought they would.

Congratulations to President Theresa Muthu and her team. I wish then all the best in their activities throughout the coming year.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Amended Marathon Routes

The full and half marathons were originally supposed to go all the way to the Tanjung Aru beach roundabout before turning back along the same road. However, the police, in spite of agreeing to those routes at first, withdrew their consent. The organisers of the Borneo International Marathon has since arranged for the official from the Malaysian Athletic Association to remeasure the respective routes.

Just this afternoon, I received the amended routes from Shan Sandhu, the Event Coordinator of the Borneo International Marathon. The routes are basically similar with the original ones, but instead of going all the way to Tanjung Aru, runners will make a turn at the coastal highway—Jalan Mat Salleh intersection and then back the same way towards the direction of KK City Centre. Instead of going all the way to Tanjung Aru, runners will now turn into the Sutera Harbour Resort internal road; in fact similar to the recent 7k sunset route.

Check out these amended maps for the respective routes (click on the maps):

Half Marathon (21 km) Route

Full Marathon (42 km) Route

By the way, during the last marathon clinic, I was given to understand that the distances are very, very accurate. The margin of error is only about 1%, and the measurements are all certified by only qualified people. I will try to get someone from the BIM to comment from the technical point of view in connection with the methods of measurements, the accuracy of the distances etc.


Update (28 August 2008):

I have since received a techical description on how the marathon routes have been measured. The following is from comment from Mr Murugesu of the MAAU and Mr Chris Nielsen of the Borneo International Marathon:

The routes of the marathon and half marathon have been measured by Malaysian Athletics Federation staff according to international guidelines. This is done using a special distance measurement instrument attached to a bicycle. These are calibrated to a fixed 1 km distance, which is measured using a steel tape in the evening (to minimise errors from high temperatures). Two bicycles are used to ensure that both instruments are working accurately.

Then the course is measured by riding the bikes. This is the best way to measure the exact route, because the bikes can account for the slightly shorter distances that runners will take as they run around bends and curves. This is all done at night when temperatures are relatively constant (and traffic is not so busy), and a re-calibration to the fixed 1 km distance is done at the end to make sure all is working properly.

So at the end of the day, the course distance is accurate to international standards. The overall error in over the marathon distance is expected to be less than 10 m, and measurement is done to ensure that this error is longer than 42.195 km, not shorter.

Outstanding Preachers

When I was still a young boy, my dad was very strict on us kids. Although he was hardly ever around when we were growing up, the little times that he was around, he'd remind us to be very disciplined and study hard for a bright future. He was against the smoking habit and we were warned not lot let him catch us smoking.

But of course dad was a form 3 school dropout, and had not the least idea what discipline was all about. He smoked up to 4 packets of cigarettes per day. Physical exercise was not his thing; and of course he ate like a pig. Those traits ramain up to now—even after suffering two heart attacks.

In many ways, my brother, Dennis, is following dad's footsteps. He is also very strict on his 13-year old son, Mohd Aqil. He wants Aqil to study very hard too so that he will have a bright future. The kid scored straight As in primary 6, so now he's in a boarding school.

Of course Dennis himself, having been lazy, left school after form 5 many years ago. I think he managed a grade 3. He didn't do any physical exercise, but ate without control, resulting in diabetes about 2 years ago. That triggered a rise in his blood cholesterol level. He then bought a strider machine and started exercising on it for an amazing 6 weeks (or was it 8 weeks?) before leaving the machine in the bedroom to gather dust.

These are the outstanding preachers amongst us. I'm sure they could use some of their own advice. If only they'd practise what they preach, huh?

This preacher, too, has a valuable advice—if you want to beat AIDS, stay faithful (to your spouse). God willing, I shall try my best to heed this advice.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Still Standing

"I'm prepared to go even now if the Indian community does not want me anymore"

—MIC President, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu (19 February 2008), shortly before the General Election.

"...times have changed... but there is always a new beginning..."

—(Still) MIC President, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu (10 March 2008), shortly after he was voted out of office in the General Election.

It can only mean that he perceives people still want him to stay. So he's still fighting on to stay relevant. In fact he will be helping the Barisan Nasional to win Permatang Pauh! [The Star]

Like it or not, he is still standing. No—Not his hair; I mean "still standing" as in still fighting on. Oh! you know what I mean!

Natural Love Of Beauty, Part 2

About 9 years ago, Brunei Darussalam was given the honour to host the SEA Games. It was an amazing feat for a small country with a population of less than half a million to host an event of that size.

One can imagine the pressure shouldered by the many people who were entrusted to see to it that the event was a big success. The reputation of the country was at stake.

During the opening ceremony, they had all those customary parades and fireworks etc. One of the events that evening was live singing by 2 famous local singers. They had those "hands-free" mikes on, so that they were able to dance while singing. But those "hands-free" mikes were only for show; if anything, they were put on only because Michael Jackson and Madonna made it the in thing back then. It was fairly obvious that those singers were miming.

I suppose those Bruneian singers were not taking any chances; in the heat of all those excitement anything could happen. They might have frozen due to stage fright; maybe might even forget the lyrics of their songs! So by making earlier recordings of their songs would help eliminate those possibilities.

I can only sympathise with those singers. Who wouldn't want to be perfect for such a big occasion? We all want to be beautiful and perfect in every sense. Some people might not have forgiven those singers for miming on stage. But then again, at least they were miming their own songs. I know those purist live-entertainment fans would not be happy anyway.

Almost 2 weeks ago, I posted an article entitled Natural Love Of Beauty. I wrote about our natural preference of beautiful people. In books and movies, it's always those with good looks that will sell.

It is no wonder that China has settled for a prettier girl to perform during their Olympic opening ceremony. But she was only miming the voice of another little girl who was unfortunate enough to have no good looks. Apparently, that was done "in the best interest of the country". It is sad that a lot of the times good looks are given priority over abilities. It's just us and our natural love of beauty.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lexis Nexis Hunt 2008—Blunder Worth RM1,000

Finally, we come to the question that eluded my team. Had we been able to solve this question, we would have been within the top 3 winners—possibly even the runner-up. Several teams were tied with one mistake only, but I happen to know that the other teams failed in the SKYLACE question. The tie-break would have favoured my team. Therefore, this particular blunder is worth RM1,000 to my team!

Q3) Swiss break in proceedings resulted in this.

"Swiss" is CH. Then "break in proceedings" is PAUSE. The words "resulted in" are taken together as the anagram indicator. And finally the word "this" refers to the answer which is found on the signboard. The letters in PAUSE is rearranged to become ASE UP on account of the anagram indicator. Then they are combined with the CH to derive the answer: CHASE UP. Simple, is it not?

A3) Salun Rambut CHASE UP

It's very embarrasing not to get this answer. Looking at it right now from the comfort of my home, I really can't forgive myself for this blunder. But, y'know, mistakes like this sometimes happen no matter what you do! I have a feeling that even some new teams might have solved it, though it's possible that some of them just made a wild guess!

I have no excuse for this particular failure. I never felt so dumb in my life! The question is commendable. Although all of us in my team are not very experienced, this question was within our reach. Isn't it ironic that we managed to solve the other questions which were "faulty"; yet we failed in a perfectly tight question like this?

Lexis Nexis Hunt 2008—The Laws Of The Law

I have posted some discussions on some of the questions from the Lexis Nexis Hunt. Although I have been critical on those questions, don't think that my team failed to solve them! On the contrary, we managed to solve them all!

So where did we go wrong? Well, in spite of all those extensive analysis (yes, I analyse deeply during the hunt too), we failed to answer 2 questions. The following is one of them:

Q27) AKDN laws perhaps are their expertise too.

Not a very difficult question, provided that you know what's AKDN. But unfortunately, none of us knew the meaning of the abbreviation AKDN. If Tun Dr Mahathir and Pak Lah were hunting together with us that day, I'm sure they could've been a very big help; that is if they can refrain from getting at each other's throats in the car, of course. The AKDN is a very useful and convenient weapon of those holding high office in the Malaysian Government.

Although we did not know what's AKDN, perhaps there's still hope to guess the answer based on the rest of the words in the clue. For example, we have the word "laws" followed by "perhaps". There're 2 ways to look at it.

Firstly, it's possible that the word "perhaps" is an anagram indicator. That would mean the solver needs to anagram that word "laws" or even both "AKDN laws" to form a new word (s). But after a brief consideration, I abandoned that idea. The presence of 2 "A"s in AKDN+laws did not seem very promising to produce any meaningful word (s). Of course I have also considered the possibility of a Malay word.

Secondly, it's possible that the word "perhaps" is to be taken literally—as a suggestive word. If that's the intention of the setter, then we have no choice but to know AKDN. Then again, even if we don't know AKDN, we can at least guess its meaning. Looking at "AKDN laws" from a general point of view, it seems that AKDN is referring to the name of an establishment, say a state or country. For example, we would say "Malaysian laws".

Now an important consideration is whether it's possible that AKDN is referring to a statute; say an enactment or some legal code? This possibility did not appear to be promising to me during the hunt, because it is not natural to construct an English sentence with the name of a statute followed by the word "law". It is more natural to use the words "sections" and "provisions" to refer to the contents of a statute. The use of the word "laws" in this context is at least abnormal, if not totally wrong.

It was revealed during the answer presentation that AKDN means Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri, a favourite statute of the ruling Goverment. I think it is more accurate to say the "provisions of AKDN" and not "laws of AKDN", because AKDN is itself a law.

Anyway, the English version of the statute is Internal Security Act, or ISA in short. The required answer, for obvious reason:

A27) ISA Technologies

Monday, August 11, 2008

Lexis Nexis Hunt 2008—The Great Search For Edible Items

As a hunter I won't be happy when I find inaccuracies in questions, even if I can get the points for those questions. I have noticed a peculiar tendency amongst many CoCs and hunters alike. Not many of them would bother to burden their minds with small details. Small details to them are not important. "Why bother about grammar?", they'd say. There is no reason why they should care whether HATE means BENCI or DENGKI. As long as they can get the points for that question, they are happy.

When I put on the CoC's cap, my focus is always on those people who can't be bothered with details. I often design my questions to punish them. I enjoy throwing in the strict requirement for details and I'd use psychology to beat them. And, Oh! so very often I would succeed! Some people just never learn, you see. It makes my life so easy as a CoC; I can keep using the same tricks over and over again, and these people just don't know what's hitting them! But of course such an approach is not so effective against the masters. They are generally very, very meticulous people, so they don't fall into my traps that frequently.

Q13) Vowels with two sides remodeled for edibles.

The question that bothered me for a bit during the hunt. And then later, during the answer presentation, I was talking about this question with a member of Hunters "R" Us. Of course their team eventually emerged the champion for this hunt. I meant to post a comment about this question, but somehow forgot to do so until another friend reminded me through a text message.

According to the CoC, the word "Vowels" refers of course to the A, E, I, O, U; and the words "two sides" refer to L (left) and R (right). Then "remodeled" is the anagram indicator; and "edibles" is the definition. Essentially, what he's getting at is this: The A, E, I, O, U + L, R are to be rearranged to form another word; and the resulting word shall agree with "edibles".

A13) Aureilo Sdn Bhd @ Pejabat Urusan Foodstreet.

Notice that in spite of all those seemingly complicated analysis, the answer we are looking for is simply the word AUREILO, which resulted from the rearrangement of the vowels plus L and R.

That should be easy enough. I can't be sure about the masters and grandmasters, but I believe the not-so-serious hunters would be very happy if they can find AUREILO. That is a perfect fit as far as they are concerned.

But let me tell you that most, if not all, of the master hunters won't be happy because they would automatically raise the question: What has AUREILO got to do with "edibles"? It is the habit of thinking this further step ahead that usually separates the masters from the novice.

Well, if we are to google the word AUREILO, we might be able to find something that connects it to foodstuff. But that is something that is just too remote for the purpose of this question. I am more inclinced to believe that the CoC is a bit confused with the fact that the word AUREILO is found on a signboard containing the word FOODSTREET. But bear in mind that the answer is AUREILO. That word FOODSTREET is not the answer. It's sole purpose is just to tell the CoC the location of the answer, AUREILO.

In other words, AUREILO stands on its own; and if taken on its own, it does not equal to "edibles".

I know I may appear like a pain in the neck to many hunters out there. Why go through the trouble to analyse to that extent?, you might ask. Well, let me tell you that one of these days, the same CoC will throw in a red herring—and he is famous for that too—and you will fall right into his trap because you're ignoring a small detail lurking somewhere in the clue!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lexis Nexis Hunt 2008—Miscellaneous

Some minor inaccuracies which I would categorise as "I can live with them":


It is a good practice to try to solve hunt questions before reaching the respective sectors. By the time we arrive at the sectors, we should have at least narrowed down the scope of search. But sometimes we would stumble upon questions which are just too short that they are "incapable" of much analyses.

Q17) Blunt hit?

Hardly anything to help us narrow down the search. I think I can safely say that most of the strong hunters would immediately "see" the possibility of the double jeopardy in their minds when they are faced with such a question. Therefore, when I saw the above question, I immediately thought of the double jeopardy.

However, it turned out to be a simple question involving the name of a singer named Blunt. The question refers to his hit song entitled You Are Beautiful.

A17) U'R Beautiful Shop

Two issues have been raised in connection with this question.

Firstly, whether we can accept the fact that there is no apostrophe followed by the letter "s" after the word Blunt? We know that grammatically, since the word "hit" is owned by Mr Blunt, it follows that to be correct, we should have written it as "Blunt's hit". However, in spite of my obsession with grammatical accuracy in hunt questions, I am inclined to accept the omission of the apostrophe S in this case on the grounds of "trickery". I can accept it because it is acceptable in other similar cases too, so we must be consistent. For example, we can accept Safety First = S, even though it should have been Safety's First = S.

Secondly, the song by Mr Blunt is entitled You Are Beautiful. That is a specific name, a title. Even a small change to that title will render it no longer the song of Mr Blunt. Therefore, strictly speaking, U R Beautiful is NOT Mr Blunt's hit song! Perhaps it would have been better had the setter thrown in a sounds like indicator into the question.

However, in this particular case, I think I can accept the answer because of the question mark (?) at the end of the clue. I view that "?" as something suggestive—that the answer might involve some sort of indirect solution.



I have come to accept that it is very rare to find a treasure hunt that is free from grammatical mistakes. Unfortunately, the Lexis Nexis hunt is not immune from this common problem too.

Q24) A fashionable girl who would initially likes it loose in England.

It is not exactly something that will negate the validity of the answer, and that is why I have categorised it under "I can live with them".

To make it easier to see the problem, let's remove the word "initially" from the sentence. We will then end up with "A fashionable girl who would likes it loose..." Notice that because of the word "would", the verb "like" should not come with an "s". We say, "the boy would come...", not "the boy would comes..."; we say, "the girl who would like it loose...", and not "the girl who would likes it loose..."

As I said, it is a small grammatical inaccuracy and does not disqualify the intended answer:

A24) Butik LILIE



I happen to know that some people are die-hard fans of the Star Trek. I, alas, am not one of them. Sure, I was briefly intrigued by the TV series when I was a small boy, but that fascination was mainly due to my brother, Dennis, whose huge ear lobes were strikingly similar to those of Mr Spock's. Otherwise, apart from Captain James Kirk and the USS Enterprise, there is hardly anything else that I know about the Star Trek.

Q33) Remember how Scottie with Enterprise would _______ up his captain.

I am a bit puzzled by the necessity of "Remember how..." in the above clue. In my opinion, these two words are not entirely necessary; they have very little role to play in assisting the solver to arrive at the answer. Perhaps the setter means to signal to the solver that this has something to do with something "old", hence telling him to "remember".

The word Enterprise starts with a capital letter, thus suggesting that we are dealing with a proper noun. However, I think all those help—if they're indeed intended to assist the solver—are unnecessary, as it's fairly easy to guess the word to fit into that blank. A quick scan through that sector would yield the word BEAM.

A33) BEAM @ Bumicita Electric

There is no need to know Star Trek to be able to solve this question, you see!

BUT! people like Richard Si might ask: Who the hell is Scottie!? He can probably tell you everything you want to know about the fictional character, Montgomery Scott, otherwise known as Scotty. But he would probably be annoyed by the wrong spelling of the name. These die-hard fans of Star Trek might be offended by the smallest mistakes when it comes to the things they love dearly, you see.

And we also want to try to be fair to the hunters—we owe it to them to at least give the correct spelling for something as important as the name, even if it's just a fictional character.



A common feature of Malaysian treasure hunt questions is the translation of English-Malay. Questions are usually overwhelmingly in English, but every now and then hunters are required to solve questions based on some word power—in Bahasa Malaysia (Malay). Sometimes, if the setter is feeling kind, he will provide a translation indicator, e.g. "local" or "Malaysian". At other times, no indicators are provided, and hunters are therefore required to constantly remind themselves to translate English words into Malay. Essentially, it means that it pays to have at least one team member who is well-versed in Malay. Of course Malay dictionaries can help too.

Q35) I hear the local hates this brand. What and where?

I believe this was a well-answered question, not only because the answer was easy to spot on the signboard, but also because there were not many alternative choices within that sector.

"I hear" in the clue signals to the solver that he's dealing with a sounds like problem; "local" is the translation indicator; "hates" is the fodder.

The hunter thus scans the sector, spots the word DENKI on a signboard, and realises that it sounds almost like the word DENGKI. The clue asks for "What and where?", meaning the hunter must write down where he found the answer.

A35) DENKI @ Alat Ganti Kereta Evergrown Enterprise Sdn Bhd

So everything falls into its respective places and the hunter earns his points.

But now we come to the problem. That word "HATE", when translated into Malay, is "BENCI". I suppose some people would also consider "TAK SUKA" and "MELUAT".

"DENGKI" has a different meaning; in English it means "JEALOUS" or "ENVIOUS". I think any attempt to equate "DENGKI" to "HATE" is bound to fail miserably. Of course it is possible that some people may use—wrongly—the word "DENGKI" when actually they mean "BENCI".

But for the purpose of setting treasure hunt questions, the CoC owes the duty to the non-Malay speaking folks to be accurate in the translations. You can't expect these poor souls to work deligently over those thick dictionaries, fail to find HATE=DENGKI, and then punish them for that!

Lexis Nexis Hunt 2008—Elusive Iraqi

All of us—master hunters and newbie hunters alike—have experienced moments when we become blind to the most obvious solutions. All those years of hunting experience seem to abandon us somehow. And then we end up kicking ourselves for weeks after the hunt!

Q16) They have Saddam's title.

Generally speaking, many hunters are afraid of very short clues. The shorter the clue, the lesser information is available to help the solver to get the answer. Such was the case in the above clue; it contains only four words.

Now when you are faced with such a short clue, always remember to account for ALL the words in the clue. But first, let's consider the literal meaning of the clue. Literally speaking, we need to know the man, Saddam; and then we must know his title. So we might come up with, say, (former) President. Other titles such as "dictator" or simply "Iraqi" might also deserve some considerations, although perhaps very unlikely here. The word "dictator" might be deemed as somewhat politically sensitive for a treasure hunt question; "Iraqi" is somewhat too wide and renders that specific name, Saddam, superfluous.

Such was the line of thought my team members were thinking along. And I have to reluctantly admit that I was fooled for a little while too. We therefore failed to figure out the answer and left the sector to attempt the nearby questions first. Then later on, we came back again to this sector and I was able to see the clue from a different angle—the cryptic angle.

The idea is quite simple, really. The word "They" at the beginning of the sentence must be referring to the required answer which is found on the signboard. Then the word "have" is a hidden word indicator. It means that we need to find a word (s) found within "Saddam's title". I alerted my team members on this possibility. Claire quickly agreed with this alternative idea, and then we spotted the answer soon after.

A16) Pejabat Urusan MSTI Corporation Sdn Bhd

Notice that the required answer, MSTI, is found within "SaddaM'S TItle". Very nice, if you can figure it out. And you must admit that it's not so difficult too. However, during the hunt, it wasn't very easy for me to find this solution at first. This was because the question was wrongly set to start with.

Later on, a master, whose team did not solve this clue, explained why they have failed. And I fully agree with him. In fact, that was the same reason why I, too, failed in the beginning. I was just lucky to have been able to shake myself out of a wrong thought process and seen through the wrongly set question.

Let's have a look why this question was wrong.

"They" means the "answer" (which is found on the signboard).

"have" means a hidden word indicator.

"Saddam's title" means (on account of the above indicator) the answer is hidden therein.

Therefore, if

X have Y

it means that Y is hidden somewhere in X, and not the other way round.

For example,

ABCSadd amstitleRST have Saddam's title

would have been the correct way to set the question, assuming of course that there is a signboard containing "ABCSadd amstitleRST".

But in our present case, the intended answer is MSTI. And MSTI does not "have" the SADDAM'S TITLE. Instead, it's the SADDAM'S TITLE that "have" the MSTI. In other words, the question was wrongly set. The correct way to set the question would be something like this:

Q) Saddam's title have them.

Where the "them" refers to MSTI, i.e. the required answer.

Lexis Nexis Hunt 2008—Strongman & His Woman

I frequently write formal letters in the course of my work. I have never undertaken any formal training as far as business writings are concerned. However, I suspect the majority of the local business people are not well-trained in business writing either; I fancy that they are therefore unable to spot the mistakes if they see any.

In the English language, we have a well-established system for titles of respect for people, i.e. Your Honour, Sir, Mr, Mrs and Miss, to name a few. These titles of respect are very specific and they're mostly used for people of a specific group (s) only. For example, adopting "Mrs" for a man is wrong.

11) Sounds like the Greek strongman's woman?

Not a very tough question and I am convinced that many teams must have solved it. Even if they failed to spot the required signboard, I'm sure they must have had a very good idea what to look for.

I am a bit embarrassed to have considered Samson as the Greek Strongman. But it was of no consequence because my team members quickly came up with Hercules, which is of course the correct name.

OK, so now that we know that we're talking about Hercules, how do we proceed with this question? The automatic thing to do—if you don't already know the answer—is to google up the information from the internet. And then you will probably end up with plenty of conflicting information, thus getting confused who exactly was his woman!

It turned out that it didn't matter what's the name of his woman, because within that sector there was a signboard containing:


The wrong spelling of the name is covered by the "Sounds like..." at the beginning of the clue. The "MS" in the answer is covered by "strongman's woman". Or is it? Let us explore this issue a bit further.

Now I have a wife and a daughter. Their names are Euphemia Thien and Jamie Koh respectively. If I were to apply titles of respect for them, which are the suitable ones to adopt?

Let me deal with my wife first. We can address her as Mrs Koh. In this case, she has adopted my surname. People would then know that she is married to a Mr Koh.

An alternative way to address her is Madam Euphemia Thien. She is still adopting her own surname here. The title Madam has been used even for unmarried women in some countries, but in Malaysia it is commonly used for married women only; or for women holding high positions.

Another way to address her is simply Ms Euphemia Thien. Apparently this is also becoming fashionable in recent years. It is used when women do not wish to reveal whether they are married or not. The Ms is used in front of the woman's name, but adopting her own family name.

In the case of my daughter Jamie Koh, we can address her as either Miss Jamie Koh or Ms Jamie Koh. Miss tells us that Jamie is unmarried; whereas Ms tells us that she could be both married or unmarried. But she must still adopt her own family name.

NOW when people are talking about my wife and daughter, but referring through me, how should they address them?

Would you say it is correct for me to refer to my wife as my woman? I am sure you would say "yes". Therefore, it follows that "Cornelius' woman" should be Mrs Koh (or if you like Mrs Cornelius).

Would you say it is correct for me to refer to my daughter as my woman? Somehow it doesn't sound correct to me. I would probably introduce Jamie as my daughter and not my woman.

If you can agree with me, then you can see why the answer to "Sounds like the Greek strongman's woman" should be "Mrs Herkules" and not "Ms Herkules".

Lexis Nexis Hunt 2008—Amended Cases & KL Bar

How does one deal with a question which apparently has no cryptic solution? This is of course not an original question; I am sure many hunters—especially the new ones—often raise this very question. Well, since I am also a new hunter, I am not qualified to recommend an air-tight formula. What I can do instead is to share with my readers what I would do.

Q8) They are mainly soliciting your amended cases endorsing KL bar here.

The question that apparently defeated a fair number of masters and grandmasters. My team was more or less at the verge of raising our white flag on this question too, but I somehow came up with something that saved us. We made a second sweep of this sector and was lucky enough to find the answer. I was not very surprised when it was revealed later that many strong teams failed to find the answer. In fact, even a member of the champion team also acknowledged that this was the tough question of this hunt.

Upon reading this question for the first time, my first reaction was to look for the anagram indicator. I don't know why I did that. I guess as a norm, the anagram is almost always a popular theme in any hunt question. To this end, I zoomed in to the word "amended", since it is the most promising word for an anagram indicator. OK, fine; then what?

The word "They" at the beginning of the clue might be referring to the required answer (which is located on the signboard). That is not very helpful, but it still gives us a direction. However, the last word, "here", also usually refers to the required answer. Furthermore, since the "surface meaning" of the sentence appears to refer to something related to the legal profession, is it possible that "They" refers to people of the legal profession? For example, lawyers, judges, prosecutors etc might come to mind. There were a couple of signboards of legal firms within that sector, but none could fit in with the rest of the clue.

I then spent some moments on the word "bar". Could that somehow be an anagram indicator? I threw the idea out to my team members, but Claire didn't find it very appealing. And I didn't blame her too, as I myself wasn't convinced of that solution too.

Time was ticking away very quickly. We left the sector to attempt the other questions first. Then later we came back to this sector again for another attempt. This time, from a fresh perspective, I raised another strange idea. I suggested the idea of "mainly" as an initial indicator. My team members liked that idea and quickly spent some efforts to investigate further. And then, very quickly, Julie spotted a signboard containing SKYLACE. That board looked promising, but it did not really fit to the flow of the clue. So the next step was to figure out how to maneuvre and develop our ideas to fit the answer to the question.

Now IF "mainly" is an initial indicator, we can get SYACE from "Soliciting Your Amended Cases Endorsing..." We are still short of the letters K and L. But we can quickly see these letters in "KL bar". And then Wong came up with the idea of removing the K and L from SKYLACE so that we are left with SYACE only. So that would explain the word "bar", meaning as a deletion indicator, to remove the K and L from SKYLACE to become SYACE. Hence "KL bar here" means "remove K and L from the board".

We therefore settled for this answer. I was very happy that all four of us played our respective roles to arrive at the answer. In a treasure hunt a lot of the times, it takes everyone to work together to figure out the answer.


BUT! I am not suggesting that the grandmasters did not work together. They are basically well-oiled hunting machines, and I am very sure that they're very well-versed with the principles of teamwork in treasure hunts. But I think they failed here because:

Mainly = Initial Indicator?

I must admit that I was not aware that "mainly" is an initial indicator. Although I was the one suggesting it to my team, I did it because of the "elimination process" from my mental checklist. I have a feeling the other master teams must have also adopted this "elimination process", but I suspect they did not seriously explore this idea long enough. To be quite honest, I still think MAINLY = initial indicator is debatable.

Lexis Nexis KL Bar Treasure Hunt 2008

An interesting hunt clerked by Time Out Solutions. This was meant to be a training hunt for me and some KL friends in preparation for theSun Hunt which is scheduled for 02 November. I have hunted together with Julie during the Kiwanis Hunt a little over 2 months ago, but this was the first time I hunted with Claire and Wong. As in the case of the Kiwanis Hunt, I had a lot of fun in this Lexis Nexis Hunt. I think the four of us can work well together; there was no bickering or pointing fingers at each other. In fact we had lots of light moments laughing at, and with, each other.

I flew over to KL on Friday afternoon and checked in to YMCA hostel. I had insufficient sleep the night before due to the excitement of this hunt, so I had intended to sleep early. I went to the shops across the street and noticed a number of massage parlours. It's interesting to note that they're manned by blind people. Since my legs were still aching, I went up to one of those parlours. A blind man by the name of Yong gave me a good foot massage for an hour at a price of RM40, but I gave him a RM10 tip too.

Then I walked the street and found a stall selling some durian kampung. I was pleasantly surprised when told that the durians were selling for only RM4.00 per kg. I stood there and then eating durians and paid RM6.00. If only durians are that cheap in KK. Then I walked over to Sentral Station to check out the morning LRT service in preparation for my journey the next morning.

Later on I had some fried rice for dinner and I finally went back to YMCA. A quick shower and then some TV. I went to sleep at around 10.00 pm. But the whole night there were some people banging doors and talking loudly in the corridors. There was also a 24-hour Indian restoran closeby and people were making all sorts of noises throughout the night. Not to mention the sounds of vehicles in the street. I could hardly sleep.

At 5.00 am, my cellphone alarm rang. That is followed by my wrist-watch alarm a few seconds later. And then shortly after that, I got the wake-up call from the reception desk. I had to make sure that I wake up for the hunt. Paranoia and kiasu is a terrible thing, you know!

I freshened up and walked to the Indian Restaurant, Restoran Kevari. As I passed the main entrance of the YMCA, I saw a security guard busily sleeping on 2 plastic chairs that he had arranged to become a make-shift bed. I ordered roti telur and Teh-C ping (which tasted more like sugar water). There were only two other customers then.

Then quickly back to YMCA again, checked out and rushed to Sentral Station. I was just in time to catch the 6.00 am LRT service and then found myself at Taman Jaya Station about 10 minutes later. A little wait for Claire. We went for a joy ride making several wrong turns here and there before finding our way to Julie's apartment. When we reached there, Julie and Wong were already waiting. We then headed to the flag-off station closeby.

There were already so many people at the start station; and there were so many familiar faces too. Among them I bumped into Teck Koon and Michael Pang. Even Jayaram, too, came all the way from Penang.

Some minutes for the final briefing by Dominic and then it was time for the flag off. Everything went smoothly. There were 2 categories for this hunt; closed and open. But the bulk of the teams were in the open category. Each team had 5.5 hours hunting time plus 30 minutes penalty time. 40 route questions; 4 treasure questions; 5 road safety questions. Total maximum score of 145 points.

Overall it was quite a mild hunt. It was certainly not as tough as I had expected. The thing about this kind of hunt is that there is no room for any mistake. One silly mistake is all that it takes to fall several rungs in the leader board. It takes a perfect score to reach pole position. Otherwise all the rest will have to fight very, very hard for all the prized positions. Second to fifth positions were all tied at only one wrong answer of the entire 40 questions! Then sixth to eighth positions were tied at 2 wrong answers. Unfortunately my team lost the tie-breaker and got eighth position. Just imagine how competitive the field was; only 2 wrong answers and we got eighth!

I thought the hunting time of 5.5 hours was also sufficient. However, teams still needed to plan well, as the final homestretch was a killer bumper-to-bumper jam. Nonetheless, we managed to reach the finish control with 6 minutes to spare.

Having had what I considered a somewhat lousy experience during the KK City Tourism Hunt last February by the same Clerk-of-Course, I must say that the quality of the questions in this hunt was a big improvement. I still did not win this time, but it was more satisfying.

Having said that, however, that is not to say that I don't have any comments and discussions on some of the questions (it wouldn't have been me!). I shall follow up with my customary comments and discussions on some of the very interesting questions.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Scrutinising The Anus

So many people have been blogging about the Anwar saga—about what has now become the very famous anus story in Malaysia. I have the impression that most people are inclined to believe that Anwar did not do it; that it was an "assassination" orchestrated by the his political enemies.

The one million dollar question: Did Anwar do it?

It is difficult to tell. For one thing, the police have not revealed their case in full so far. The police report lodged by the so-called victim has been kept secret up to now. However, before the victim lodged the report, he went to see a private doctor who examined his anus. Although it has been said that the medical check was not a sodomy-related investigation, the fact remains that the doctor did examine his anus. What's more, the doctor stands by his report! [The Star]

The said report has somehow found its way to the Malaysia Today blog. The doctor gave quite a detailed account of that fateful medical examination. The report gives us two important information.

Firstly, that the doctor could use some improvement in his English command. That line, "Then I advised patient to keep a deep breathe and relax" looks awful to me.

Secondly, that:

"On my observation the anus was normal, no bleeding, there was no sign of piles and no abscess and no pus, no injury, no tear and no discharge. Anus was clean and dry and looked normal. No abnormalities seen."

In fact it looks like the police are faced with an uphill task, aren't they? With the surfacing of the good doctor's report, it seems the case against Anwar is bound to come to a dead end. The medical report also seem to support Anwar's case.

I think the popular opinion among Malaysians is something like this:

Anwar's enemies are getting worried that Anwar is trying to make a comeback into politics. And he seems to be succeeding too! Therefore his enemies decided to cook something up to end his political ambitions once and for all. They made up this whole story about the sodomy; got this college drop-out dumbo onto their side somehow; and voila Anwar is in trouble again!

However, to convict this pest, they need to have solid evidence. But I think they have very little, if any. It is very inconvenient that! So for the time being, they had no choice but to suppress the police report lodged by the lad. Perhaps it would be good to get a DNA sample from Anwar. They can then use a small portion of that sample and say that they found it in Saiful's anus. Yes, that would be very damaging for Anwar.

Unfortunately, Anwar is a very smart man. He's not giving his DNA just like that. He wants to see the police report first; what did the police find in the victim's anus?

Well, if the above is indeed the conclusion of the majority, then I must say that I range myself in the minority! I have long ago decided that Anwar Ibrahim is a very, very clever man. This whole thing against him now is just too good to be true. The facts of the case, so far, are nicely cut and dried. The solution is very straightforward and seems to fit in the tangible sense. But the psychology of the matter does not ring true to reality. It's just too convenient!

If indeed his enemies wanted to set him up, I am sure there are many other avenues to do so. If there is no truth in the accusation, I am sure his enemies themselves knew that the majority of Malaysians would have the "popular view" above. Psychologically speaking, therefore, his enemies chose this particular avenue because it is the truth! The only question now is how to prove it?

As I said earlier, Anwar Ibrahim is a very clever man. When he was in prison, he was wheelchair-bound. He seemed like a gone case. Upon his release from prison, he went for a surgery abroad. And within months, he was dancing on stage. Perhaps he really had some problems with his back, but I did not for a moment entertain the notion of what he tried to portray then. All those charade with the neck braces and waist straps did not fool me one bit. If he is going to indulge in something like this anal sex thing, he will see to it that there is no room for DNA evidence to come back to haunt him later on. He might have even used a condom, for example. Perhaps some lubricants can help too. And this is where I feel the majority of Malaysians have overlooked an important point. Just because there is no tear in Saiful's anus, that does not mean that the anal sex did not take place. The doctor's report can help a bit, but still not conclusive!

Having said that, it's hard to imagine Anwar, a 61-year old man, spending the time and effort to put a condom on, and then applying the lubricant on Saiful, the unwilling victim. The young man could have easily overpowered Anwar. Somehow it does not fit. Therefore I am forced to the conclusion that Saiful was a willing partner. And here, we come to another interesting question: If he was willing at first, why does he turn on Anwar now?

My guess is as good as anyone's guess. But two possible solutions come to mind. First, that the college drop-out had initiated the act, for the purpose of blackmailing him later. To detour from this subject for a bit, I still remember the time when I tried to learn a bit about criminal law. Mia was preparing for her criminal law papers, and I spent some time to read her thick book. But I abandoned it after a while. It was just awful. Almost on every page, I could find the terms, mens rea and actus reus. Apparently, for a person to be criminally liable, the prosecution must prove both those elements are present. I don't know about mens rea, but apparently Anwar has been said to have an attraction to men's rear. Anyway, it's possible that Saiful tried to blackmail Anwar later on, and having failed to get anything, decided to go public, just to get even.

The second possibility is also quite interesting; that Anwar's enemies knew his weakness for men's rear. They threw in this college drop-out as a bait. Perhaps they didn't have high hopes at first. Although Anwar is a very clever man, we all know that when it comes to sex, sometimes it is very difficult to control oneself. And so, he fell for the trap, although being the clever chap that he is, he must have taken precautions to cover his track.

NOW the question is how to prove it? We are forgetting that just because there is no evidence, that doesn't mean that Saiful is lying. It is possible that it really did happen; just that Saiful initiated it, and the pervert couldn't control himself. It was in this sense that I suggested in another thread that Saiful be punished too.

These are all of course my views on the matter, and I concede that I might be proven totally wrong in the end.

What if you are the police and you know somehow that this guy is guilty. But you don't have evidence to prove his wrongdoing. In the eyes of the law, you can't touch him. In fact, this man seems destined to become the prime minister of this country (at which time I shall consider buying one of those chastity belts—for myself). If you are the police, what would you do?

Playing Doctors

This whole thing about the famous anus of Saiful Bukhari's. It seems that everyone has been trying to play doctor over the past month or so, huh? And this morning a friend texted me to go read up the latest post in the Malaysia Kini blog. Yet another revelation about the rectal examination conducted on the poor chap.

Well, I'm sure most Malaysians are experts on rectal examinations by now. I have been meaning to express my opinion on this topic too, but somehow refrained from doing so all this while. Let's see if I can find the time and energy to post something tonight after my run. If not, then it will have to wait till I come home from KL over the weekend.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Running—Virtue Of Stretching

A bunch of guys were drinking in a pub one evening. Then all heads turned when a gorgeous young woman walked in. She raised her hand to call the waiter, thus exposing an unusually hairy armpit! The waiter took the order and brought her her drink.

Later on, one of the guys sitting at the bar, obviously drunk, pulled out some cash and said to the bar tender: "I'm paying for the beautiful ballerina too."

The bar tender was surprised; he said: "You mean you know that young woman?"

"Nah—not really; I just feel like buying her a drink," said the drunk man.

The bar tender said: "But how did you know that she's a ballerina?"

"Because only ballerinas can lift their legs that high, of course!"


The flexibility of the likes of ballerinas and gymnasts can never cease to amaze me. I am convinced that one has to be born with that kind of flexibility. These people probably spend hours each day stretching their bodies. Otherwise they are bound to lose such flexibility.

Since I started training for the half marathon, so many people have been recommending me to do some stretching before my runs. But I haven't been doing much. Some friends who've joined marathons before also wrote to me about the virtue of stretching before and after my runs. Because of the overwhelming number of people who recommended me to incorporate stretching in my trainings, I decided to google up some information about it.

To my surprise, stretching has many benefits to the runners [Marathon Training Programme: Stretching]. I should've googled up these information earlier than this. Maybe that is one of the reasons why I feel my muscles are slow in recovery after my long runs. Apparently stretching before and after the runs can help to minimise muscle soreness and fatigue. I shall try harder to spend some time to stretch before my runs. Hopefully my legs will recover faster.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Rotaract Club of Likas Bay—17th Installation Banquet

Seated (from left): NGD Wong Chu Lai, PE RC Likas Bay Richard Chin, DRC Vincent Pung, President RC Likas Bay Chua Soon Lan, Incoming President Ester Chong, ADG David Kong, AG Robert Lai.
Back (from left: Rtr Dennis Kok, Rtr Michelle Chong, Rtr Chelwin Soo, Rtr Yap Vui Fui, Rtr Leong Wah Kon, Rtr Wesley Chua, IPP Veronica Chin.

Handing over of presidency: IPP Veronica Chin to President Ester Chong

Yesterday evening, after I went for the 10 km run, I had to rush home. A quick shower and then I was off again to the 17th Installation Banquet of the Rotaract Club of Likas Bay. It was held at the May Flower Restaurant at Jalan Bundusan.

As Murphy's Law would have it, since I was already running late, there was a massive traffic jam along Jalan Bundusan. When I arrived at the restaurant, they were already enjoying the first dish. I was showed to Table 5 which was mainly occupied by Rotarians from the Likas Bay Club and their spouses.

The Guest of Honour was President of Rotary Club of Likas Bay, Chua Soon Lan. I also saw PP Robert Lai, PP Vincent Pung and PP Dr Richard Barrows in the crowd. It was quite a sizeable crowd of 10 tables, i.e. 100 people. The food was surprisingly good. It's the first time I ate there. It was quite a lot of fun getting to know other Ratarians from the other clubs.

There was a presentation from two Interactors of Kian Kok Middle School—a duet of a sentimental Chinese song. And then later on, the Likas Bay Rotaractors themselves gave a stunning performance—a dance which I thought was well-choreographed. I have the impression that Rotarian Samuel Yeh was a very happy man that night for having the opportunity to dance with such a beautiful young woman!

All in all, it was a well-organised banquet dinner. Congratulations to the new President Rtr Ester Chong and the Board of Directors. I wish her every success in the club programmes and activities during her term.

Marathon Clinic

For the first time, I went to the marathon clinic held at the jogging track of the Likas Sports Complex yesterday afternoon. The clinic was scheduled to start at 4:30 pm. But the weather was extremely hot then, so Mia and I purposely arrived late. When we arrived at the track, there were only several of them assembled there. Teo was also there and he showed me his new Adidas running shoes. I had expected Shan to be there too, but perhaps she was still sick.

While waiting for the rest to arrive, we created small talks with each other. I had intended to run 8 km, but Teo said he's doing 10 km. I didn't think I could achieve that distance, but I thought since Teo's doing it, I might as well try to push myself too.

We started with a slow warm-up run around the lap, which was about 1 km. After that we did stretching for some minutes. When it was time to run, it was still very hot. We were supposed to do an average 6-minute lap, but in the first lap we were doing a 5-minute lap instead.

After the first lap, Teo pulled ahead. I tried to keep up with his pace, but he was obviously a stronger runner than this old man! After 2 laps, we began to space out a bit more. Mia was already quite far behind. I could see Teo about 30 metres ahead of me. He didn't make a good pace-setter for me, that's for sure. I would burn out in no time at his pace!

But to my surprise Teo stopped running after 3 laps. When I passed him, I saw him having a drink. How I felt like having a drink too. After that I ran solo for the rest of the workout. By the 5th lap, I was beginning the feel my legs getting tired. By the 7th lap, I wanted so much to stop running; but I pushed on, still keeping up the 6-minute pace. By the 8th lap, every step was a torture. From the corner of my eyes, I saw Mia had already finished her 6 laps.

When I finally completed the 10th lap, it was a big relief. 56 mins 52 seconds. I don't remember ever running that distance in my entire life before. But then I was told that each lap was only equivalent to 950 metres. Which meant that I only did 9.5 km. Had I covered another 500 metres, perhaps I would have taken about an hour. Still below my expectation, so I will need to work extra hard in the coming weeks.

I must thank Teo for pushing me that far. For if it wasn't because of him, I would've only ran 8 laps. I can see the benefit of the marathon clinic now.

But, Teo, if you are reading this, you shouldn't cheat an old man like that. When I said I was running 8 laps, you pushed me to run 10. But in the end, you only did 8 laps yourself. Very funny! What's the big idea?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Natural Love Of Beauty

A few years ago I bought the VCD of the movie, Shrek, for JJ. She was still very young then and couldn't really understand what the movie was all about.

A couple of days ago, the VCD surfaced again from our VCD album. This time JJ was able to understand what it's about. She couldn't remember that she's seen the movie when she was younger.

Later, when the movie had finished, JJ was quite disappointed—she went to her mommy to lodge a complaint.

"Mom," she said, "Princess Fiona became very ugly in the end. But Shrek still married her. How come, mom?" Then she added: "Why would Shrek want to marry an ugly girl?"

Her mommy smiled and explained that the outer beauty was not what Shrek had fallen in love with. Instead he loved the princess for the kind person that she was. She said that the external beauty won't last forever. I observed them discussing about Princess Fiona. I doubt that JJ is big enough to understand her mommy's explanation. Perhaps in a few years from now, she will eventually understand Shrek's action.

It is interesting what we can see through the eyes of young innocent children. They remind us of our natural instinct: the love of beauty.

How many of us would fall in love with someone as ugly as Princess Fiona? In fact, I'm inclined to believe that even ugly people would want beautiful people to be their spouses. That talk about "outer" and "inner" beauty doesn't really work on a lot of people. Many of us would still prefer to find a beautiful spouse if we can help it. But of course not all of us are lucky to get one.

Having said that, however, most of us will sooner or later learn that beauty in terms of appearance is not everything. After many years we will all become old and the external beauty will fade somehow. One way or another we will learn that what really matters is the characteristics of the person after all—her determination in overcoming the many obstacles to achieve her goals; the crazy things that you love to do together; the joy and laughters that never seem to end; that she is the one unique person for you, that she completes you. The external beauty, if you can get it, is just a bonus.