Friday, 9 October 2015

Life is precious

It has been a while since I wrote something here.

I have not been busy or anything, just taking things easy and taking care of my health.

As an asthma sufferer, the haze situation has restricted my movements these past few days, staying indoors as much as possible.

Even within the safety of the house, there were times these past week when I was wheezing pretty bad and had to resort to medication to breathe properly.

But that isn't the reason why I started writing again.

Someone asked me what I think about the dismal state of our road safety with an "Annie seems to go all statistics" among her sentence that I was like "Whoa, Annie and statistics don't seem to go together" so I went and checked her blog out.

Well, apparently she did write numbers and percentages unrelated to politics.

Not the latest, but several postings before that, which I skipped through all the in-betweens because I have an allergic reaction to politics nowadays, not quite an asthma attack but more of the nauseous kind, so there ...

And that was sad.

For one thing, the loss of human life has become just numbers to measure our "achievements" in comparison to others.

For another, it's kinda horrible to consider "the number of deaths declined by 3.9% from 4,940 victims compared to 5,138 victims last year" like yes, less people died, but thousands still died on the road while traveling from point A to point B.

I didn't get my driving licence in Malaysia, so I don't really know what kind of education would-be road users get prior to getting licensed to drive.

However, from my observation of how some road users behave on the road, I do believe they need to be thoroughly educated about proper usage of the road before they are even allowed out on it.

While some road users need to realise that these roads are not their own personal driveway or racing tracks, so please ...

Those private driving schools are okay I suppose, but I would like to suggest the transport department include at least a few hours of road safety awareness classes conducted by government officers/teachers/lecturers/law enforcement officers, with attendees being thoroughly tested for their comprehension to ensure that they understand the importance of using the road safely before they even get their licence.

And of course there are those who need serious psychological evaluations, driving tests are simply insufficient ...

Road safety campaigns and other such measures are simply ineffective after the fact because we have failed to weed out the most likely road killers and suicidal maniacs from getting licensed to create mayhem on our roads.

As for the adrenaline junkies out there, who are mostly youngsters and young at heart otais, they need to be gotten off the road into proper tracks where they can waste their life away getting all juiced up about whatever it is that get them all excited without endangering innocent road users.

I would like to suggest the government use some of those youth-related budget to set up and maintain a number of affordable public tracks where these speedsters can get themselves killed if they so wish (at least it won't get into our road deaths statistics).

Get one of these groups to kinda manage the place themselves ... if they can organise road races, they can surely organise track races.

Build a number of these tracks so that they can have inter-group events and such, allow them to have a place of their own where they can socialise and do their thing.

Do monitor them and take action when negative and unlawful elements start to creep in, but it is far easier for law enforcement officers to take action in a controllable environment than on the streets.

And for god's sake, don't let Umno Youth, or anyone with political affiliations, get anywhere near those tracks nor that budget ... they are just killjoys and will most likely fail.

For those who were caught flaunting the laws, instead of simply fining them, make them pay the fine as payment for 30 hours of mandatory road safety lessons and make sure they are banned from driving until they completed those mandatory hours.

If they were caught 9 times for various offences, then that means 270 hours of mandatory road safety lessons because they are too dense to understand that life is precious for others if not for themselves.

Even if they have to spend their entire lives attending road safety lessons.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

inconsequential nothings

I have been very lazy this Ramadhan, leaving the day to day work to Yaya and Ema while I brood in the solitude of my room doing my own thing.

Ida is spending her Ramadhan with her family up north, so I doubt that we would see her on the the first day of Raya, but Ema will only be flying back three days after the end of Ramadhan so she'll be around for Raya.

There are four of us girls - Ida is the eldest and the prettiest, next is Yaya who does everything hereself and takes care of everyone, while Ema is the socially adept one with a large circle of friends, and then there is me, the odd one.

I can't remember when was the last time we were all together at the same time during Raya as even back then when I was a lot younger, someone was always somewhere else during any family get-together, Raya included.

However, what I like most about celebrating Raya back in the kampung was the nervous anticipation of waiting for the announcement on the eve, the "Takbir Raya", and everyone being up all night cooking the "ketupat", "rendang" and "kuah kacang".

Dad would not be back from the nearby mosque until much later, and then he would take over presiding over the final stages of the cooking.

We had this outdoor cooking stove where we cooked the ketupat and rendang.

I wasn't much into the "bunga api" and "mercun" let alone the noisy "meriam buluh", so I spent most of the evening trying to help out in the kitchen.

Mom and my sisters would be up very early in the morning to cook the "sayur lodeh" and other quick cooking stuff for the morning breakfast.

I admit that I am not very handy around the house - whatever I can do, someone else can do it better and faster.

That's the problem when one is the youngest in a family of achievers, you find yourself to be in the way most times instead of being useful, and after a while you simply do not know how to be useful.

For example, Yaya not only does the cooking, sewing, cleaning and gardening, she also does things like  putting up wall fans, shelves, curtain railings, to tiling and painting the kitchen walls.

She makes her own organic fertiliser, plants vegetables to supplement our store bought foodstuff, and now hardly ever have to buy herbs because her herb garden is thriving.

Yesterday, we helped her cleaned and serviced all the air-conditioners in the house in addition to cleaning up all the ceiling fans.

She is also responsible for maintaining three other properties too.

She is also raising two boys who are doing reasonably well academically and fairly well-behaved.

I can only say that I may not be nearly half as accomplished as Yaya is, but putting up the curtains in the living room for Raya this year is fully my responsibility.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Towards total collapse

The attack is now moving on to Mara, the first vehicle that enable Bumiputra economic and social empowerment, now that they have fully established public distrust against the present administration under PM Najib.

Previously their attacks have mostly been against those associated with PM Najib, but now they are moving towards creating greater public distrust and disgust at everything that was built by the BN government and the Bumiputra agenda.

Politically speaking, the Peninsular Malays as a whole have completely lost their collective political power, it is the Sabah and Sarawak Bumiputra that continue to determine whether the Bumiputra will continue to hold on to govern the country.

All three states that contributed the most to the present Bumiputra-controlled federal government - Johor, Sabah and Sarawak - are under intense pressure, politically speaking, with certain powers in Johor pushing for secession and Sarawak demanding more autonomy, while Sabah has both Manila and the secessionists in their landscape.

What amazes me is how easily people are being manipulated to further weaken our own socio-political situation.

It is very disheartening to see my people being manipulated to a point where we have lost sight of the big picture, being blinded by overwhelming ego, insatiable greed and flawed judgement.

For me, it is pretty interesting to watch how we have managed to get to this point where an entire ethnic group has been fractured into little bits - ensuring that they will eventually lose their majority power in a western-style democratic election system to determine the next administration.

First they attack the man at helm, making sure that he is seen as weak and incompetent.

Then they attack his initiatives to further undermine him, his administration and everything associated with him.

Once that distrust and disgust has been firmly established, the connection between him, his ethnicity and the establishment means the present administration is continuously on defensive mode as they make their attack from one establishment to another.

Now every issue raised against the establishment is immediately perceived by the public as true and the demands are made for explanations, even though hardly anyone actually believed the explanations given.

Our country is breaking apart, and yet there is nowhere I want to be as I believe that what is happening here is also happening elsewhere.

It is a time where chaos will rule.

Just a note to those who practice "The End Justifies The Means", the Almighty determines "The End", we should think how we will be judged by "The Means" that we employ to achieve "The End" that we wanted.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Salam Ramadhan

It is the first day of Ramadhan.

Everyone was at the dinner table this early morning including the cats.

Well, Seman and Sammy had their bowls by the fridge, but they joined us at the table as is customary at meal times - they have their own stools where they would gawk at us while we eat.

Last night the boys went for their taraweeh prayers at the nearby surau.

But from tomorrow onward, we may just go a little further to a more familiar place, insya Allah, but it is a good start for us.

I feel peaceful and blessed.

For all Muslims, may you have a blessed Ramadhan too.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Living Safe

It has been a while since I last posted something here.

Right now, I feel that I am needing less and less reason for a public outlet for my thoughts as I am still going through a phase of detachment from whatever is happening out there that doesn't concern me directly.

Since I don't travel much these days, the horrendous traffic situation no longer bug me.

However, when I do venture out of the house, I find the roads are getting from bad to worse - which is why we may just have to invest in a bigger and more robust car for Yaya.

That little Viva simply cannot withstand the constant bumping it gets from the poor road condition.

My Proton Saga fares better, but not by much.

Trash collection around our neighborhood has improved - we no longer had to deal with week-old uncollected trash and maggots invading our home.

However, the communal trash collection bins in the neighboring flats and shop houses are still pretty bad if not worse than before.

Whenever I was visiting friends in that part of the neighborhood, the smell was overwhelming and you can't avoid it because you can't perpetually hold your breath.

I can't imagine what it is like for families who couldn't afford better living conditions and having to put up with putrid maggoty uncollected trash under their windows.

I lived in a flat in JB too when I was working there - not one of those posh foreigner-filled expensive condos, but one of those regular flats, with regular folks as neighbors in one of the less reputable districts of the city.

It was simply a stark contrast from what we have here - my neighborhood in JB was clean throughout and those who failed to clean up after themselves were warned.

We did get regular fogging because our neighborhood was identified as a dengue red spot, so I can't imagine what the dengue situation is here when I saw how much dirtier it is and hardly any fogging done at all.

My neighbors in JB were a diverse lot.

Some were factory workers, most were employed by the small businesses around the area, and there were a number of shady characters too - I was told they were involved in undefined underground activities.

Some commute on their motorbikes to Singapore, while some were low-ranking government servants and there were also the occasional shop-owners.

Someday I will probably write about them as one of my favorite past times was to sit on a the park bench and just had impromptu conversations with everyone there including the police officers assigned to watch the neighborhood on the sly.

As for now I will just worry about my neighbors who had to live in what I consider as unacceptably dirty surrounding.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Handling the heat

Today has been another exceptionally hot day.

I was planning to make a trip to visit someone in Perak but decided to cancel it because it was simply too hot to leave the comfort of the house.

Then there is also the matter of my recurring poor health largely caused by the extreme weather.

On the political front, the row between Tun M and gang against PM and his "supporters" are still hot and sizzling.

I have refrained from commenting on the subject mainly because I find the whole thing unproductive and damaging to the political interests of Malays in general at a time when we need unity more than anything else.

When they should be focused in making sure that everyone contribute to build on strengthening their collective political clout through unity, the Malays are further breaking apart into little fractions.

Everyone is so focused on their own opinions of what is right and wrong that they do not see that the ultimate direction they are taking us to is further fragmentation of the Malays.

He is often accused of being "lembik" and yet many failed to realise that DS Najib inherited an Umno that has been corrupted well before he holds the reign of power.

His style of appeasing the warlords within is the only way that he could hold the party together in order to ensure Umno stays in power.

In a way, I can also understand why he is surrounding himself with consultants - unlike the all powerful warlords with their almost cultic followers, these consultants are people under his payroll that he can control and lead to certain objectives.

I disagree with many things that DS Najib has done, in his way of governing the country and leading the nation, but I see that as his prerogative as the leader that has been chosen by his party, and through the election process, as our leader.

I personally disagree with BR1M, but I accept his sincerity in trying to give to the needy.

Besides, I have personally seen some of the feel good factor on the ground - what those few hundred ringgits could do to make them feel someone up there cared.

However, I wholeheartedly agree with the doing away of subsidies as I believe that blanket subsidies for consumer goods, including fuel, benefit those with better purchasing power more than the under privileged who make do with less.

The decision to implement GST is also good one although they could have done a better job of educating the public on it.

I do find the stories about 1MDB alarming but I will accept that the audits are required before any opinion is formed either way - that is because I am a strictly fact-based person.

As for the Altantuya murder and Sirul mention, I think that was not really directed at DS Najib, but at the Police, the Attorney General Office and the judges who investigated the case, charged all three of them, found the two policemen guilty and sending them to the gallows.

Actually it was the Altantuya question that made me decide to give DS Najib the benefit of the doubt - it was standard Pakatan-style politics of innuendo.

For me, that last question was really what made his explanations on the other issues easier to accept.

I hope he can ride through this heatwave and prevail.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Uninterrupted TV and other things


We finally got Unifi installed at the house after more than 2 years of waiting and getting rebuffed with the same message of "missing address" or "dah tak ada port".

And for the first time we are watching tv uninterruptedly despite the heavy rain outside.

TM in the TV cabinet

We only subscribed to the VIP5 package, and yet uploading and downloading stuff from the 'net is sufficiently speedy and we no longer get "sakit hati" with the constant timeouts when browsing the 'net, especially when pictures are involved.

Even Yaya is happily browsing on her tablet, looking up gardening resources to expand her herb garden and new recipes for freezing now that we've got a bigger freezer.

Today, for the first time I made 6 pizza crusts for the freezer, and they turned out okay and now freezing nicely.

Pizza crusts in the freezer

I know, they look more like pita bread, but the boys prefer these fat, fluffy crusts to the thinner crispy ones that I like.

However, since the very reason we are freezing food stuff is to make it easier to prepare their favorite food, thick pizza crusts it is that get frozen.

We are planning to make more food stuff for the freezer this week - pau, karipap, roti canai, bread, gravy, meatballs, fishcakes, pasta sauce - as these pre-prepared food makes food preparation while on the go become less chaotic.

The boys' days are full - day school, religious school, homework, taekwondo, music lessons, basketball training - which means Yaya's days are full too as she ferries them everywhere and supervises their school work.

There isn't much time to spare, what with cleaning up after two boisterous boys who seem to demand constant attention, two cats who are equally attention seekers and having a life of our own.

I help out with tutoring them in my free time, the sewing and mending too, but food preparation that involves baking, roasting, or anything to do with the oven is what I love doing most.

I just love the fresh smell of bread baking, the scrumptious smell of pies cooling on the rack, and stretching gooey cheese as we break open cheese buns, still warm from the oven.

Kneading dough is such a soothing activity, just like sewing and embroidery work, which I love too.

Whenever I get stuck with work, I will start baking or sewing.

They keep the hands productive, but free the mind to think things through, and enable me to maintain some sense of balance.

I used to drive to clear my mind, but now I realise that driving around aimlessly not only wastes petrol, it also contributes to air quality degradation, traffic congestion and cost of car maintenance.

Besides, with the state of the roads in Selangor nowadays, it can be right down dangerous.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Surviving in the Cat World

Two days ago, we finally made the decision to adopt Sammy formally into the family.

He is now practically THE house cat, more so than Seman who comes home only when he is hungry or when he needs a comfortable place to sleep in peace.

The ultra cool Seman tolerates him, even allowing him to sleep on the living room ottoman and the dining table, although Seman never entertained his tentative licks of friendship.

He never tries to compete with Seman, always giving way to him, and will only eat after Seman has had his fill at the food bowl.

That kind of easy relationship that he has with Seman, the first stray that we adopted because he was just the coolest kitty ever, is the main reason that we decided to adopt him.

When Sammy first began to come regularly for meals, we found out from a neighbor that he was originally one of four kittens that was born into a young family two blocks down the road.

However, as the family grew, with a new baby and a less than attentive new "bibik", the kittens grew up to be neglected adolescents.

Sammy also had the misfortune to be the runt of the litter, so he lost out to his brothers; being the last to eat, and constantly chased out of the brothers' territories, be it under the cars, under the porch or other comfy nooks and crannies for cool afternoon naps.

Eventually he was abandoned by his family to the mercies of the neighborhood cats and the ferocious Persian foursome from next door; Shifu the beautiful brown tabby, Blackie the orange-eyed gang leader, Night the chubby enforcer and dainty Cutie Pie who depends upon her brothers to ensure the neighborhood is safe for her. (These are of course not their real names as given by their owner).

He became another semi-longhair stray, spending most of his time with backlane strays who were mostly similarly abandoned by their families, waiting on the mercies of the neighborhood samaritans for scraps of food and napping at the edges of the group for safety against bullies.

Then one day, all the backlane strays disappeared, but Sammy was still there furtively hiding under Yaya's plants.

He scratched on our kitchen door one wet morning, drenched, hungry and pathetic looking, begging to be let in, so Yaya took him in, toweled him dry and fed him off Seman's bowl.

Now he hardly ever leave the house, his only activities are either sleeping or eating or begging to be petted.

My only worry now is whether we can afford to keep him fed as he seems to have a huge appetite.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Scary Shadows

Everyone is getting all excited about the hudud implementation in Kelantan.

Like an anonymous commenter in my previous post noted, what's the fuss?

Firstly, it will only be in Kelantan.

Secondly, it is only for Muslims.

Thirdly, Kelantan is overwhelmingly Malay and Muslim.

Fourthly, it was done through democratic processes, i.e. tabled and voted in.

Fifthly, the people residing in Kelantan are not the ones getting all excited, in fact they have voted in PAS every time on the promise of hudud implementation.

The majority of Kelantan voters wanted hudud to be implemented for the past couple of decades.

They wanted it so bad that they have been putting up with what I would consider as unacceptable socioeconomic non-development for all these years, their youngsters going elsewhere to look for employment, but going back to Kelantan without fail for every GE to make sure PAS are voted in every time.

Even if Umno and PKR reps were to vote against the bill, they would not be able to block it; all they would have achieved is to lose their seats in the next election because the people they represent in the Dewan wanted them to say yes to hudud.

It is their democratic right to want to be subjected to hudud.

Democratically speaking, what right do we have to deny them from implementing their version of Syariah laws?

You don't like it, don't enter Kelantan.

You don't want your states to make similar amendments, you just make sure you select your representatives who will not vote for it in the Dewan.

Simple, kan?

Why are non-Muslims all agitated over some laws being amended in Kelantan?

Why are some Muslims all out against it to the extent of ridiculing and insulting their fellow Muslims over it?

Can't you people see that in a democratically elected representation system that we practice in this country, the majority in the Dewan wins?

No matter how loud and obnoxious the minority is, the majority gets to decide what kind of laws they want.

And so you don't share the majority values or beliefs, does that make it right to force your values and beliefs on them?

Do democracy, justice and freedom only prevail when they serve your interests, values and belief system, no matter if the majority do not share those values?

What kind of arrogance and conceit drive some people to make presumptuous and derogatory statements about other people's character, simply because they hold different views?

I have written this in some form before this, although not necessarily in this blog, that the level of education is not a measure of a person's intellect, neither is it an indication of wisdom attained.

Sometimes, too much education simply leads to arrogance, pretensions and self-importance.

Friday, 20 March 2015


Someone asked me about why Umno Kelantan supported the Hudud enactment in Kelantan and why I have not posted something about it, everyone else did.

I was like, eh?

First and foremost, how would I know about the motivations of Umno Kelantan?  I am not even Umno whatever ...

Secondly, I am not everyone else.

My position on Hudud, or laws of any kind, is simply to leave the matter to experts in that particular field.

However, since I am already on the subject, might as well put down my thoughts here - just my own personal thoughts as someone who is totally unlettered and quite ignorant about the laws.

To me, as a Muslim, of course I accept being subjected to Islamic laws.

However, I can also see why non-Muslims may not like being subjected to Islamic laws.

Why should they be subjected to something that is not of their faith?

But the thing is, we need laws in order to maintain peace and order, so why not Islamic laws?

Why are we willing to be governed by the present laws, but not Islamic laws?

Maybe the punishment is deemed harsh by non-Muslim standards, but wouldn't that make greater deterrent for would-be offenders?

If the threat of punishment do not deter them from the deed, then the offenders deserve the punishment if caught and convicted.

If the Islamic values that define what is considered an offence differs from that of non-Muslims, then that's where they should only apply to Muslims.

However, I don't see that offences such as murder would be an issue as even now the death penalty applies.

Here's a thought, if only Muslims are subjected to the Hudud implementation, Malaysia will eventually reach a stage where criminals will only be non-Muslims as Muslim criminals would either be deterred by the harsh punishments, or decommissioned early from the crime career path once caught and punished with either death, amputation or bankruptcy.

Muslim criminals will not decide to become apostates to avoid the laws because that would be certain death under Hudud.

Criminal profiling would become much easier for the police, and we can address the question of crowding in prisons as incarceration of Muslim offenders would be less likely, either they are dead or handicapped or bankrupt.

Wouldn't that be a positive thing?

One more thing, can we just do away with incarceration as punishment - just prohibitive fines, amputations and death?

Our cost of maintaining law and order as well as the upkeep of criminals in prisons would be lower.