Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Something else completely different

Ti-Ratana Neighbourhood Family Day
Sunday April 30, 2006
9.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m.
17, Lorong Maarof, Bangsar

The Ti-Ratana Welfare Society is organising a neighbourhood family day at the Ti-Ratana Community Centre in Bangsar this coming Sunday, April 30 from 9 am to 2 pm. Please help to spread the word to your friends and family.

This event is aimed at spreading awareness of the community centre and its activities among residents of Bangsar, Brickfields and the Pantai/Kerinchi areas, especially the lower income group.

The Ti-Ratana Community Centre, Bangsar is situated in a 3-storey building on 17, Lorong Maarof. It organises regular activities for members as well as for interested people in the neighbourhood. Activities are non-religious in nature and include Language Lessons, Meditation, Arts & Crafts, Speech, Dance and lots more.

Neighbourhood Family Day April 30 2006

This promises to be a fun day for all with lots of games and activities for children.

Jumble sale from 50 sen to RM5.00

New and pre-owned clothes, shoes, bags, toys, books, kitchen utensils, electrical items, stationery, home decoratives and lots more.


There will be lots of stuff to take away abolutely FREE!!!


There will be a FREE Halal vegetarian lunch served from 12 noon to 1 p.m.


Magic Show
Face Painting
Balloon Sculptures
Games with prizes to win

Help spread the word, friends. I'll be there and it would be really nice to see some of the bloggers face-to-face so do come along and have some fun this Sunday, April 30 from 9 am to 2 pm. Ti-Ratana Community Centre, 17 Lorong Maarof, Bangsar.

To read more about the history and the work of the Ti-Ratana Welfare Society and Community Centres go here.

Friday, April 21, 2006

And now for something completely different......

Go and visit Holes, a brand new pictorial blog dedicated to HOLES. Have fun. I hope.

Here we go again!

(Adam: SIGH. Here we go again!)

A few days ago I posted something in praise of those flers in blue especially the ones manning the Rakan Cop hotline. I said that the Polis Diraja Malaysia were at last doing something right. Many comment-ers posted to say that they too would appreciate an efficient police force that was proactive and people friendly. But being Malaysians some of the comment-ers were also quite sceptical about how long this new 'efficiency' would last before being consigned to the lock-up room and the keys thrown away.

Well guys, I hate to inform you that my elation and yours may indeed be shortlived.

Driving to work this morning I saw that a big tree branch had broken off one of the trees that lined the roads in my housing area. Worse it was hanging precariously on a single telephone wire that stretched across the road which happens to be the main thoroughfare in and out of Bukit Antarabangsa. Road users wanting to turn left into Jalan Wangsa 1 would have to pass under the wire and the very heavy branch both of which could come crashing down on unsuspecting victims and cause severe if not lethal damage.
(Photo taken at approximately 2.13 p.m. Notice the single strand of telephone wire that is holding the branch up.)

Remembering my experience with those wonderfully helpful people at Rakan Cop a few days ago, I called the number, 03 21159999. Again, the same cheerful attitude came on the other end of the line. Took down the details and said they would do something about it. Less than 3 minutes later I received a call. "Ah, Encik Patrick ah? Ini balai polis Ampang. Tadi you........" The Ampang policeman, as in the other day's experience, sounded irritated that he had to attend to me. Anyway, I repeated the whole thing to him and he gruffly indicated that he would do "something". I checked the time. It was 1059 hrs. That's 10.59 a.m. When I drove back after I finished my rehearsals.........the tree branch was still hanging there! The time was 1413 hrs. Or 2.13 p.m. Almost 3 hours and nothing had been done. I called Rakan Cop again. Same friendly answer. This time........."Oh. Masih ada sana ke?" Still there ah? "Tapi I da bagi tahu balai polis Ampang." So? Feeling a little exasperated I told the gentleman that perhaps the Ampang boys weren't the ones to call but instead if he could do all his rakan rakan cop a big favor, if he knew the number to call the Bomba boys to come and clear the dangerous mess. "Oh. Okay, okay, okay, okay." Ever notice how Malaysians think that by repeating words it is deemed to have convinced the other party that action has been taken? And that's where it's at as I type this post.

It would appear now that Rakan Cop, your Police Friend, is very glad to take your calls. Anytime. But it doesn't mean that they will do anything about it. Well, not all the time anyway.

Maybe, that Toyo fler's idea of a developed state just means that emergencies will take a little longer to resolve given that he and his people are now busy filtering water for the population of the developed state to drink.

Post script: I also noticed that many drivers and motorcyclists were cheerily driving under the branch without a care. Many of them were smiling as they went. "Oh look! A big, heavy branch hanging over the road on a single telephone wire . How quaint. Branch fall on me? Nah. It won't happen to me. Anyway, I've got a spare life in the wardrobe at home. What's the problem?"

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Something good this way comes

(Smiling, friendly, helpful. The new face of the Polis Diraja Malaysia? Dare we live in hope?)

Photo from lamanweb resmi PDRM

Those Polis Diraja Malaysia flers have been kena-ed so many times in the past few months I am sure their heads are spinning la. Everybody also want to have them strung up. Commission after commission set up to make them tow the line and do their jobs properly. Many cynical Malaysians were sceptical about how effective all this attention and all those commissions would be. Not many held out much hope. But I am pleased to tell you about this incident which may prove that those flers may actually be trying to get their act together. Finally.

For the past couple of weeks I have been noticing this bright orange tent on a hill slope near where I live. Some people had set up tent complete with washing hanging outside to dry. Sometimes smoke from a cooking fire maybe can be seen rising into the air. Sometimes a lorry would be parked outside the tent. Something was going on. But there was no sign or anything to tell anyone what was going on behind the canvass. So today, I decided to make use of the Rakan Cop phone number that's been flashed up on those ITIS lightboards that have sprouted all over the city. I called 03 21159999. A man answered and when I spoke English he didn't miss a beat and answered me in perfect English. He listened to my story and took down the details including my handphone number and promised that he would look into the matter. Half an hour later I received a call from the Ampang police station. This time this cop wasn't so English literate and spoke in Bahasa with a tone that was just short of irritation. But he said that the police had done a check on my report and he informed me that the tent was set up by some people who were doing some sort of ground engineering check for someone who planned to build a house near that piece of land. My Bahasa wasn't good enough to understand the full explanation he offered so I am still puzzled as to where and when this intended building was going to take place. The hill slope where the tent was, was on the wrong side of the road from where there were housing lots allocated. The area was also at the base of a very steep slope in location which was prone to landslides. Perhaps it's another Malaysian who is foolhardy enough to take on Mother Nature again. Quite possible. After all, the area is under the purview of MPAJ and we all know what their record is concerning approval for sliding houses and apartments.

Anyway, I am digressing. So something good is happening with the polis flers. Syabas! I must say this is the most pleasant experience I've had calling a police phone number. Great service. With a smile even.

Now what we all should do is to help these flers take it one step further. Call them about anything suspicious or wrong that you see. Get answers. Be concerned. Report suspicious characters in your neighbourhood. Report bad and dangerous drivers. The police now seem willing to listen and help. And now it's our duty to help them do their jobs.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

We're Malaysian and proud of it.

(Adam attempting the Malaysian record for holding a stainless steel spoon in his mouth for the longest time)

A comment left by mob1900 gave me the idea of starting this blog to list down things that make us all so uniquely and proudly Malaysian. Although that does not make us Truly Asia-n. mob1900 commented..."we open our car doors to spit, even while driving. Tissues are for whussies!" How true! And how Malaysian. That's not the only thing that Malaysians do with their car doors open. They also like to open the car door to pay their toll charges. Winding down the window would a) expand too much energy that could otherwise be used to give other drivers the finger. Or b) would deplete the battery if it is an electrically operated window. Speaking of which do you know of or have met any Malaysian driver who would only switch on their parking lights even when driving along city streets at night? I asked a Malaysian driver why he did that and the answer was, "Save battery ma." Then he gave me a look like, "You stupid or what?"

Another uniquely Malaysian trait. If it's new and looks good, let's fix that. Seen any of the new Rapid KL busses on the roads? They are so nice la. Spotlessly clean. Signs that make sense. No A4 paper sign in sight. Empty. But don't be too concerned because the Malaysianisation of those busses has begun...

(Rapid KL bus photographed on Jalan Ampang on Tuesday 11 April, 2006)

(Sahaja sehari. Bad Bahasa maybe but it could prove prophetic.)

Meanwhile, maybe Rapid KL should take heart. Once those new busses manage to retain a layer of grime, sound like a rock crusher gone berserk and belch black smoke the KL commuters will sell their mothers for RM2 to get on and ride.

Another very Malaysian thing is we love to impress tourists. Especially, when they come here for big sporting events being staged here like the annual F1 races. Each year when that time rolls around the city is dressed up for them. Sidewalks are paved. Beautiful flowers miraculously appear along the road dividers on Jalan Sultan Ismail. But straight after F1 is done.......

(Picture of dead and dying flowers on road divider across from the Sheraton Imperial Hotel along Jalan Sultan Ismail. Taken 4 days after F1 2006)

This is one of my favorites. We Malaysians love to "use other people's buttocks as our face" (old Chinese saying). Anybody that makes it into the big time on the international arena be it sports, the arts, entertainment we are super fast in discovering some Malaysian connection. Hey, Miss Georgia 2006! Her father is Malaysian. Never mind that he's maybe emigrated for decades. Hey, Anita Sarawak is big time! (well this is going back a few years la) BUT her parents are Malaysian. Don't matter if she's been Singaporean for years. Hot babe Vj, Paula Malai is now as Malaysian as nasi lemak since she married one of us. But even before that we laid claim to her beauty and talent. Just because she chose to be based here for reasons best known to herself. Feel free to add to this list of international celebrities that have Malaysian connections. Go for it.

Of course, there is that part of being Malaysian that we all know and love. Breaking dubioius records. Does anyone remember what our latest attempt is? One of my favorites is that record of the most number of people having a sit down Chinese dinner on a football field. Beat that!

This one just came in from a comment-er as I was typing...

..."parking our cars right in front of any restaurant while few steps away got parking bays! like we have no legs to walk for that distance"

That's right. We hate to walk. Malaysians will circle for hours in a mall's parking lot until they find a bay that is right outside the elevator door. It's a wonder that nobody has started drive-in businesses for mamak restaurants, pubs, cinemas etc. Malaysians would love it. Just drive right up, folks. No need to walk at all.

Some Malaysian-isms with potentially tragic consequences include our inability or unwillingness to question those we voted into power to manage our lives and livelihoods. I am sure we have all read about the abortion of the scenic bridge idea but the fine print also informed us that 100 million Ringgit will be paid in compensations to the contractor plus some government contracts on a silver platter as well. So at the end of the day we could be flushing a couple of billions down the toilet. And the most we will have to show for it is that potential white elephant they call the CIQ complex. It will be a nice building. For a while. Until that Malaysian-ism that has infected the Rapid KL busses gets to it. I am sure that topic will be debated at mamak stalls, offices and in traffic jams for a while. Until it's time for EPL 'live' on TV this weekend. Then it's back to business as usual.

I am going to stop here and go reminiesce about the time when being Malaysian meant being proud to be hard-working, passionate, productive people. Proud of doing our given tasks to the best of our ability. And hope that one day soon those times will return. So I'm a dreamer. So sue me.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

How do you know it's a government owned facility?

(View of Taman Tasik Titiwangsa)

We took the kids out to Taman Titiwangsa last Saturday. For those of you who have not been to the park it is actually a great place. Lots of space. Green. Trees. And lots of activities to keep kids happy. Cycling paths. Boating lake. Horse rides. Horse carriage rides.

Laura having a great time at Taman Tasik Titiwangsa
Min and Adam enjoying the horse carriage ride

But how do you know it is a facility owned and operated by the Kerajaan?

The omnipresent A4 paper signages stuck on with yellowing, dried cellophane tape. Keep a lookout for this piece of Malaysian mystique the next time you visit any government facility. Actually, the A4 paper sign has invaded even private enterprise. Lots of them around the KLIA too. Just one of those things that make us sooooooooo Malaysian. Sad thing is that we are actually becoming proud of our A4 paper signs.

Jalur Gemilang

(Photo taken in the kampung that is next to Damansara Jaya)

Is it patriotism or a state of the nation statement? I just think it is a jailable offence.

Even with the poor quality of the photograph one can see that the flag is a tattered and pathetic piece of cloth fluttering in the breeze atop a flagpole that stands high above the roofs for all to see. Maybe the owner of this weather worn Jalur Gemilang is making a statement. Sure got me pissed off.