Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I'm sure a lot of people are familiar with the word 'origami' which is a paper-folding technique originating from Japan but very few might have heard of 'furoshiki'. Personally, I had never heard of it until a few people from the Town Council came to demonstrate how to make full use of it (they were trying to encourage more people to recycle and reduce the use of plastic bags). Furoshiki is actually a type of traditional wrapping cloth used by the Japanese to transport goods or gifts in the olden days. This piece of cloth is so versatile that we can transform it into almost anything. A few simple wrapping and tying and we can have a bag, purse, bottle carriers et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I was quite amazed (I shouldn't actually since Malay mothers in the past used to carry their babies around and fashion make-shifts 'buaian' using batik cloths) to see how a simple piece of cloth can be transformed into something creative and beautiful. I used to make small boxes from old greeting cards to accommodate small items which were always lying around on my dresser. I learned to make these boxes from a friend more than 15 years ago (thank you so much Kak Ting). I was quite intrigued by the small, cute boxes that he gave to his guests when he had his Hari Raya open house. In these small boxes, he would put small tokens of appreciation (usually fridge magnets) to thank the guests who had come to visit him. The boxes and the gifts were inexpensive but the thought that he had for his guests was definitely priceless. I still have a few of those boxes left. In fact, I have ventured into other things. I even transformed an old cardboard file into a box to store my old bling bling (yes, I DID wear tons of jewelry and accessories when I was younger but I wear only one ring nowadays).

p/s Suggestion : Fashion-conscious ladies should make their own furoshiki out of their old Hermès and Ferragamo scarves instead of letting the moths have a field day with them. I'm sure they will look trés hobo chic carrying these furoshikis around!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I'm not much of a soccer fan. In fact, to a lot of people I can be considered as a non-fan. Still, it doesn't stop me from listening to the music and songs that usually accompany the World Cup fever. In 1994 it was Queen's We Are The Champions. 1998, Ricky Martin's The Cup Of Life. 2002, Anastacia's Boom. 2006, Il Divo and Toni Braxton's The Time Of Our Lives. Now in 2010, it's Shakira's Waka Waka (This Time For Africa). What about the World Cup songs before 1994? Well, everything before that was too sedate (in other words, the songs were non-pop and non-commercial). Soccer was once considered a very serious game but now, it has become part and parcel of entertainment and business. The present soccer players are no longer mere soccer players anymore but they have also become celebrities, millionaires and billionaires (just watch MTV's Footballers Cribs and you'll be amazed at how opulent their lifestyle is), friends to world leaders, honorary members of the elite society, sex symbols, trendsetters and icons. So how did everything start? I have always considered Queen's We Are The Champions (I love that song actually) as a bridge towards a more commercial sound for the World Cup songs. The world was changing then (it was a natural progression of course) and more people were beginning to accept differences. Consequently, nobody gave a hoot when Ricky Martin started to shake his bon-bon to the tune of The Cup Of Life (everyone followed suit after that). With the song becoming a big hit all over the world, the world's soccer scene is no longer what it used to be. As a result, soccer has become pure entertainment for many people. One thing led to another and there was no way the monster could be stopped after that. Everybody knows that sex sells and it did not take long for the big corporations, the sponsors and the soccer players themselves to be cashing in on that factor. Beckham's sexy Emporio Armani underwear ad campaign finally consolidated the notion that soccer and sex can complement each other (beautifully of course). In 2002, Anastacia showed her well-toned abs and tried to repeat Ricky Martin's success. In 2006, Toni Braxton showed (purposely?) her tits and ass (on two different occasions) for the whole world to see during the opening ceremony. Now, we have Shakira gyrating, shaking and contorting her body in a video that has been viewed more than 25,000,000 times on youtube (I'm sure the number will double soon). Do we even dare to ask what the focus is? Is it the music? Or her hips (which obviously don't lie)? Or lest we forget, soccer itself?

p/s With the current trend moving from everything sexy to the absurd and strange, I seriously hope Lady Gaga won't be asked to sing the official song for the 2014 World Cup.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


A word or phrase used for our loved ones. That's what terms of endearment are. We use them to address a person we love and there is no telling how many of these words and phrases are. We use them in public and sometimes, we use them in private. Most of them are shared and a few are exclusive. Whatever language they are in, these words and phrases make us feel closer and more intimate to each other. The bonding and intimacy that these words and phrases provide goes far beyond their literal meanings. Certain terms are only used by certain race and culture. To use them outside the race and culture would make them sound awkward and not genuine. Some might even sound vulgar. Certain races and cultures also seem more affectionate and creative than others and have come up with very interesting terms of endearment. Quite prominent and outstanding are the African Americans who are quite creative when it comes to terms of endearment. Here is a list of them in different languages that can be used to express our feelings to our loved ones. Forgive me if they are inaccurate, my dears...

ENGLISH - angel, baby, darling, sweetie, sweetheart, tiger, muffin, peach, princess, pumpkin, boo, honey

MALAY - sayang, intan payung, bujang, buyung, adik, abang, kanda, dinda

ARABIC - hayati, habibi

FRENCH - mon cher, ma chere, cherie, mom coeur, mon loup, mon mimi, ma poulette

CHINESE - bǎo bǎo, qīn ài de nǐ, xiao ke ai

TAMIL - kunju, raasa, raasathy

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Why pay when you can get it for free? I guess that is what some of us will do when it comes to open Internet connection. With many establishments such as offices, restaurants and cafes having open Internet connection, it's not unusual to see more and more people on the lookout for these free-for-all locations. Using that connection for personal use is not something that is that unusual. A lot of people I know do that (this includes yours truly too!). The question is should we or shouldn't we use open wifi connection intended for personal use without permission? This one is definitely up for a debate. Can this be considered as unauthorised computer use since no permission has been granted to us to use somebody's wifi? Can we be charged and if so, for what? If the connection is open, can it be considered as stealing if we use it without permission? Maybe the word 'stealing' sounds a little bit harsh so some people consider their action as 'borrowing'. To some other people, this can be considered as freeloading and freeloaders are definitely not a welcomed lot. Is using other people's Internet connection the same as listening to your neighbour's radio? In some ways it is but in a lot of ways it is not. The invisible signal streaming down our office or home does not really invade our privacy, unlike the blaring music coming from our neighbour's house. Solution : don't leave your wifi open for others to use. The signals are not only confined to your own home but they can also spill to the whole apartment complex, neighbourhood and surrounding areas. Some people are not aware that the bandwidth will be affected if you are downloading movies and videos. The connection will be slowed down when we tap into someone's wifi connection. I don't know whether it is illegal to tap on somebody's open connection but I do know that it is not ethical since no permission is granted. It's like reading the e-mail of a person who has forgotten to log off. One word of caution : Don't start using other people's connection. Once you start, it will be difficult to stop. It's like eating candy. It's hard to stop at one.

p/s This entry was done at home and I definitely did not use the free network connection from the District and Land Office next door to the place where I work.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I was accompanying a friend to get his ticket at the railway station (which is located not too far from my house) a few months ago when I stumbled upon these two old posters. They were lying on the old dusty floor and I could not help but took them home. There was something about them that made me want to have them (I am not a chronic hoarder but I like to collect certain stuff). The old railway station holds a lot of memories for me and my parents. My younger brothers used to take the 'Senandung Malam' and the 'Sinaran Pagi' (one was working in Langkawi and the other one was studying in Port Dickson) and as usual, my late father (may Allah bless his soul) and mother would send them to the old railway station. That was almost 20 years ago and I am not even sure if the 'Senandung Malam' and the 'Sinaran Pagi' services are still available or not. There was even a small canteen at the railway station where the food was cheap but good. Now the canteen is dilapidated, deserted and dusty. I would sit alone (I was a loner and did not have a lot of friends) on the bench at the railway station in the evening watching the trains go by each and every time I went back during the school holidays. That was my favourite pastime back then. The railway station was old and after a while, some people forgot that it was even there. The number of passengers who boarded the train from the station kept getting less and less and sometimes, there was none at all. The quarters for the employees were slowly abandoned and tall grasses started to grow around the area. It was such a sad sight. Now, it has undergone a face lift and a new modern structure has taken the place where the old warehouse used to be. Yet the old part of station is still retained. I have also noticed that there are more and more students from the TAR College using the train service to either go back to their hometowns or campus. I am sure these students are going to have some wonderful memories of their own 15, 20 or 25 years from now.

p/s I didn't have a scanner big enough to scan these posters so I had to use my already outdated digital camera to take these pictures. I had to do some minor adjustments and editing to them since they are no longer in pristine condition.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Most of us don't even realise that we are hoarders (most of us think we are keen collectors when we are not). We collect and save everything that we think can be of use in the future. Some of us are so obsessed with this habit that it becomes quite difficult for us to discard and part with the things that we have collected over the years. Animals such as rats, hamsters and certain birds are known to be notorious hoarders. They gather food and materials in their nests and it does not take a genius to tell that the sight is not pretty. I am a teacher and I know a lot of other teachers who are hoarders (though they refuse to admit that). They keep past years exam papers, sample essays, old textbooks, outdated reference books, extra unused hand-outs (and some used ones too) and myriads of things in their drawers, on their tables and under their tables (not to forget the boxes, files, baskets and other forms of containers under and on their tables too). At the same time, there are also a lot of women (especially housewives) who collect and save plastic spoons, bottles and jars, paper cups, fridge magnets, recipe books, pieces of cloths, 'bunga telur', food coupons et cetera et cetera et cetera (I can go on forever listing them actually). Hoarding can be a very dangerous habit since it can be a hazard when these materials are not properly stored. Now, the trend has taken a new turn and there is a new type of hoarding that is affecting the modern man (and woman). It is called digital hoarding and it is as serious as (if not more than) the usual traditional hoarding. With portable hard drives becoming cheaper and having bigger storage, it has become much easier for these hoarders to save everything. Movies, songs, audiobooks, anti virus (usually pirated), games, presentations, jokes and pictures. You name it and they will have it. Unlike conventional hoarding, digital hoarding will not take up a lot of space but the same questions remain. Is digital hoarding as dangerous as conventional hoarding? Can it become a problem since there is no physical threat or danger involved? I would like to believe that I am not a hoarder but I do have problems throwing away certain things such as clothes, shoes and magazines. Please don't even suggest that I throw away my old cassette tapes, VCDs and records (definitely last century technology). I still want to keep them although I know I do not need them anymore. For the past couple of years I have been on a movie and song downloading spree (I am into my third portable hard drive at the moment) and I find it very difficult to delete these movies and songs. Sometimes I wonder if we will ever be free from all material things which have enslaved us.

p/s So am I a hoarder? To a certain extent, YES. Am I an obsessive-compulsive hoarder? Definitely NO. But some might argue otherwise.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Some people say in order to gain freedom and peace, some people must die so others will be able to enjoy them. I wish it doesn't have to be that way. Everyone deserves to live in peace and comfort. Nobody should go through their lives without proper shelter, enough food and warm clothing especially children. I could not help but feel terribly saddened and angered by the recent Freedom Flotilla raid which took the lives of nine innocent civilians. This kind of violence, brutality, cruelty and arrogance must be put to an end. Ten years have passed since we embarked on a new millennium and yet, we are still killing like we were thousands of years ago. One thing for certain is the flotilla is on a humanitarian mission and nothing else. It is an act of kindness and compassion. All for the sake of peace and humankind. Nothing can ever justify the killings of these people. Enough is enough.