Sunday, August 31, 2008

Selamat Hari Kebangsaan Malaysia Ke-51!


Happy Birthday to you~ Happy birthday to you~ Happy birthday to Malaysia~ Happy birthday to you!!!

It's Malaysia's 51st anniversary of independence today. Technically, Malaysia was born on 16 September 1963, instead of 31 August 1957. Sabah and Sarawak were not independent from the British colony until 1963. But for some reasons, the whole country celebrates independence on 31 August.

This year's National Day is the most extraordinary one since the beginning of Malaysia. Last year at this time, the right-wing ruling party Barisan National was so firm on its ruling position, hardly anybody thought that the political arena can change so drastically by the next National Day. It's amazing how things can change so much within just one year.

The last half a year has been too chaotic in the Malaysian politics. It's probably not that bad compared to some other countries because we do not have violence involved (yet). But for a country that has been enjoying peace for the last few decades, the current situation is pretty big a deal. Malaysia is clearly going through change, and there are two possible types of change - sudden and gradual.

A sudden change is like boiling a pot of water. The water is forced to heat up to boiling temperature, energising water molecules to move rapidly and chaotically, and subsequently vapourising it to the new gaseous state. This process involves an agent to expedite the process - heat. In some cases, the heat may not be sufficient to convert the water into gaseous state. It merely heats up the water, so the water remains in liquid state - that is, no change has occur, eventhough there had been some chaos within the water molecules. However, the heat, insufficient it may be, would have helped speed up the second type of change - the gradual change.

A gradual change is like letting the pot of water to vapourise in ambient temperature. The process is so slow, that the change from liquid to gaseous state is hardly noticeable. The agent involved is still heat, but it is much less prominent. Water at the surface transforms into gaseous state when it absorbs enough energy from the air, and similarly, water vapour near the surface also transforms into liquid state when it releases some energy, both process at the same rate. However, as there is wind movement above the water surface, water vapour is blown away, leaving dry air for more water molecules at the surface to vapourise. So the speed of the process depends on how much air movement there is. If the water was pre-heated, it would take lesser heat absorption, and hence, time to transform into vapour.

So now, let's see which type of change is Malaysia going through. There is chaos, yes. It happened quite suddenly, and there is a pretty strong agent forcing the change - the opposition parties. So it is safe to conclude that Malaysia is going through a boiling process. However, we do not know yet if the agent is strong enough to cause a complete change - that is, if the heat is sufficient to boil the water. What we do know is that things could well be moving towards an ultimate change, even if this time around the water does not boil.


If only we can change without compromising peace, wouldn't the world be a much better place?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Where's My Home, You Ask?

I wanna know too.

Home is supposed to be the place where your life takes place, right? And life includes family, friends, and career, right? Well at least it does for me, since I don't have any other commitments so far.

So here's the situation. My family is in KL, my friends are in KK, and my career is in Singapore. Big portion of my life so far took place in KK, but the most critical portion happened in Singapore. I have no affection for KL and Singapore and I know Singapore much better than I do KL.

I just don't know what to say when people ask me where I am from. I don't want to bore people I barely know with my history of migration, and yet somehow the conversation eventually leads to it. Below are two very common scenarios:

Case 1:
New acquaintance: So where are you from?

kaioucat: Sabah
New acquaintance: That's pretty far. How often to you go back?
kaioucat: I don't go back there anymore.
New acquaintance: ???
kaioucat: *Starts explaining history of migration*

Case 2:
New acquaintance: So where are you from?
kaioucat: KL
New acquaintance: Cool. I'm going there for a shopping trip next weekend. Can you suggest where I should stay and what is the best way to get around?
kaioucat: I'm sorry, I don't know KL all that well.
New acquaintance: ???
kaioucat: *Starts explaining history of migration*


Although, most of the time, they assume I'm from Singapore. Maybe it's a good thing. It saves me from having to answer that dreaded question.
Where Does kaioucat Come From?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'm Going Home!


Finally...after postponing for week upon week, I am going home!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lee Chong Wei vs. Lin Dan

Needless to say, I am supporting Ah Wei lah of course. I just hope my internet tonight is smooth so I can watch this match with comfort (through PPStream). I know my whole family will be watching it tonight in KL via the can't-live-with-it-can't-live-without-it Astro.

Been a long time since the Sidek brothers, Yap Kim Hock, and Cheah Soon Kit era. I still remember how everyone was impersonating them in the playground's badminton court.

Will Malaysia get her first Olympics gold medal tonight?

Update: Didn't get to watch the match live. Heard that I didn't miss much. Malaysia lost badly to China. Oh well. Silver's still great. Congratulations to our silver medalist Lee Chong Wei!

Best Sleep Ever

Last night, I had the best sleep ever for a long time. I went to Pengerang (Johor) yesterday. Woke up at 6.20am (!!!) to catch an early boat there. Once there, we cycled for I think a coupla hours total. Not to mention the scorching hot sun that afternoon. I'm glad I wore a cap, although my arms are now reddish brown. I hadn't exercised for so long, that those 2 hours of leisure cycling gave me muscle aches all over. Nonetheless, it feels really good. I almost forgot how it feels to work out.

So it had been a long, tiring day. By the end of the day, I was basically on auto-pilot mode. Reached home at 10.30pm and took a shower, which (as expected) freshened me up a little bit, so I went online for a while. I finally collapsed to bed at 12 midnight. I don't even remember the trying-to-fall-asleep phase. The next thing I knew, I woke up at 8am. Went back to sleep after that and ended up waking up at close to 11am. I did dream of something, but I can't seem to remember any details.

I didn't feel like taking photos during the trip. Hence, no photos to show here. I just felt like taking the trip free and easy, just a casual outing. The trip turned out more adventurous than I expected. We almost could not return to Singapore because we missed the last bump boat from Pengerang terminal. We even thought of staying there for the night. We ended up going to Sebana to catch a more expensive ferry to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal in Singapore. The road to Sebana was amazingly secluded. I couldn't even see where the road ahead was leading towards. There was one part of the journey with tall grass on both sides of the extremely narrow road. I wanted to snap a picture of that road but the taxi window could not be wound down (!!!). I felt like I was in an episode of Amazing Race, where I am a contestant seriously in doubt of whether the taxi driver knows where he's going. It was a hilarious scene, though.

So instead of the initially planned return to Singapore at 5pm, we ended up reaching Singapore at 8pm. Instead of the initially planned expenditure of RM60 per person, we spent almost RM150 each (thank goodness some of us brought extra cash). But hey, that's RM150 for a day-long adventure. That's way more worthy than an afternoon of shopping at Orchard that could cost me a whopping SGD500!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Looks Are All that Matters!

Remember the cute little girl in a red dress singing in the Olympics Beijing 2008 opening ceremony? Yep, the one who charmed the world with her pretty face and angelic voice. Guess what? Pretty face - hers. Angelic voice - not hers! Yeah, some of you most probably have heard or read about this already. This issue is all over the internet now.

Apparently the organisers wanted a girl with a "good image" and a "good voice". You'd think that is easy feat in China's vast population. But no, they had to resolve to having the cuter girl lip-sync to the better singer's voice. The organisers are defending themselves by saying it is of national interest to portray a perfect aesthetic image to the world. But doing it at the expense of jeopardising a girl's public image and another girl's self-esteem? The only image portrayed here are those of deception and cruelty! Oh, and by the way, the supposedly no-cute-enough girl is adorable! (I have decided not to post pictures of those two poor girls here. There is already enough exposure of them elsewhere in the internet.)

First, I thought that hey, at least they used the girl's voice and let the other girl lip-sync, instead of downright shunning them from taking any part in the ceremony just because they are not perfect in both aspects. They would be like partners, each enjoying 50% of the cake. All seems fair, except that they never once given any credits to the girl behind that voice! The cuter girl took all the credits and was shot to soaring fame overnight. Now the whole world also knows she is a poser, and she probably doesn't have a clue about what is going on. Great job, organisers. Well done.

That's not all. Remember the giant footsteps made of fireworks at the very beginning of the ceremony? Yep, that was fake too. The organisers have admitted that the footage (pun unintended) was produced with lots of CGI effects way before the big night, and was distributed to broadcasters for "convenience and theatrical effects". The organisers also said that it was a safety precautionary measure as attempting to capture the footage live could be dangerous and the quality of the footage may not be clear. That's fine and all, except that they have deceived everyone into thinking that it was real! The whole idea of 29 footsteps towards the Bird's Nest is actually very creative and symbolic. If they could just come clean right from the beginning, telling everyone that the footage was not live and has been enhanced with GGI effects, it would still have been awesome.

I actually noticed something funny during one of their performance, where thousands of performers were wearing fluorescent costumes with light bulbs wired all over their bodies. One of the performers could not get his light bulbs lit. So he was the only dim guy amidst the crowd of bright running men. I find that really hilarious. But now that I realise to what extent of perfection the organisers wanted the event to be, it must have been horrific for that guy with faulty light bulbs and the organisers.

I thoroughly enjoyed the opening ceremony. It was very grand, and I was very impressed by the amount of effort they put in. I just hope that nothing else I saw that night was fake. London 2012, please keep it real!

Note: Here's a very well-written post on the same issue.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Left Out

It was Mom's 51st birthday yesterday. They all went out for dinner at The Ship (a steak house). Lil' Bro was telling me about it last night. As with all other occasions when they went out to celebrate without me, I felt like I am missing out so much. So much has happened back home and I had to hear it from second-hand description. Five years. It has been 5 long years since I left home for Singapore. It was during these five years that the most substantial changes happened in my family.

Lil' Bro's graduation from secondary school. Lil' Bro's going to National Service. We moved from KK to KL. Settling down and adapting to the new city. Lil' Bro's drastic transformation into a fitness training instructor. Big Bro brought his girlfriend home to see my parents for the first time. Lil' Bro brought his girlfriend home for the first time. Lil' Bro graduating from A-Levels with flying colours. Lil' Bro's choosing of his education path. Big Bro switching to a new job. Lil' Bro's big car accident and the loss of our beloved Proton Waja (which we shipped all the way from KK). The new entry of the second-hand Kancil into the family. Major events in the Malaysian politics. Five years' worth of birthdays, Mother's Days, and Father's Days. Five years' worth of personality changes. Five years' worth of sickness.

All these happened while I was in Singapore. Goodness knows what else will I miss for the next 2 years, before I can go back for good. I just wanna go home and be with my family.

Cue "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing" by Aerosmith

Friday, August 1, 2008

Homesickness

It has been a few hectic weeks since I returned from Kuching. Didn't have time to stop to think.

This morning before I left for work in a hurry (as usual), I took a glance at my graduation photos hanging on my walls. There were Mom, Dad and Big Bro smiling back at me. I suddenly felt the urge to just breakdown in tears, which I quickly brushed aside, lest I'd be late for work.

God, I miss home so much.