This is my letter to the world, That never wrote to me, -- The simple news that Nature told, With tender majesty. Her message is committed To hands I cannot see; For love of her, sweet countrymen, Judge tenderly of me! - emily dickinson -

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

national day

i was watching the independence day speech on tv last night. the prime minister was lamenting about the state of bullying in schools, kids peeking into porn sites, rising road accidents and merchants raising prices. and he was asking why are all these things happening.

so, why are school kids behaving like creeps?

let's see. look at all the nasties being shown on tv. see all the crap being sold at every pasar malam. page through the prints in all the roadside magazines. listen (if you can tolerate it) to all the noise being marketed as music. behold all the idols being manufactured for the masses.

next, why are people behaving like hogs on the road? well, they say that you are what you eat. so, that explains about half the problem. the other half? i think it's in response to the other half. you think you have a better answer?

lastly, why is the price of cekodok up from a ringgit for three pieces to a ringgit for two pieces only? so that the rich will get richer and the poor will remain dirt poor. otherwise, what will the tv stations do if they cannot play around with people's emotions? what will the campaigners vaunt to vex for more votes?

have a nice independence day.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

no speak english

if there is one help that the chinese people need, it is help with their english. i am not just talking about the blissful folks in the airports, hotels and taxis. they cannot harm you much other than leave you with this fantastic sense of frustration. but boo boos with the english language on official signages in major cities and townships are rampant. they can be quite misleading. but most are downright hilarious.

Monday, August 15, 2005


so, everyone's flocking like lemmings to the middle kingdom these days. i suppose many of these folks do not mind being in crowded open spaces, driving along congested routes and dealing with non-smiling, non-english-speaking customer service people. i was there for three weeks, in and around shanghai. it was like being caught in the midvalley mall on a sunday for three freaking weeks with everyone not understanding nor speaking a word of english!

i was told that the population in shanghai was between seventeen and twenty million people, depending on what time of day you happened to be there. so, imagine for a second all the people of malaysia crowding together in kl. then, imagine around a fifth of the people driving on the highways and the roads. and then imagine about half of the rest going around on bicycles, motorized bicycles, scooters and regular bikes. remember that everyone is in a single city. and you thought that traffic around kl is bad? they have up to five levels of elevated highways in shanghai. but if you did not clear your bladder before you step on the accelerator in the morning, don't ever complain about dogs and fire hydrants!

i once read an article on klia. there was mention that it is important to establish an airport that would convey good vibes to visitors from abroad. that we should be all smiles and cutesy. all fine and dandy, everything ought to be. but in pudong airport, i don't think they give a rat's ass about good first impressions. yes, the airport terminal building is swank with lofty sweeping roof structures and tall structures to match the mighty great wall. but talk to the immigration guys, the lady behind the foreign exchange counter. go ask something from one of the leggy porcelain dolls among the cabin crew. try explaining to the guy at the taxi stand that you need two taxis to get your group of five sleep-deprived colleagues to the hotel.

then you have the people minding the front desk of the hotel you're supposed to stay in for the next three weeks. ever met people who talk to you staring down their noses? you speak to them in the most charming manner and they only stare at you as if you were talking gibberish.

it was to be a long and nasty three week stay for me in shanghai.


i know i have been a bad blogger for not updating my site (for the last four weeks! yikes!). i know i have disappointed one particularly loyal reader (hope i did not brew any storms!). i have no one to blame but myself (and my boss[es] for sending me to a place where my english is as useful as hair cream on a bald head!). but i will do my best to make up for the loss(es). plenty to tell about my time in that far away place. just you wait (for just a lil while longer)!