Bruce Almighty!

on Thursday, 31 July 2003
For those who don't know yet, after the banning of Daredevil and the ICT debacle, we now have the proposed banning of Bruce Almighty.

Muzammil Daud's letter shows how poor his understanding of other religions is. I don't know about Hinduism or Sikhism, but the Chinese version of Buddhism has no problems with deities or fairies assuming human form, or giving us mortals the power of divinity. Yes, you shouldn't make fun of the divine, but the movie isn't about making fun of God! It's making fun out of a man with god-like powers!

Tunasing's suggestion on having two new categories for movies is brilliant. When we can have food outlets marked halal (edible by Muslims), why can't we have movies and TV shows deemed haram (illegal) for Muslims? It's time we become more open-minded and tolerant of other views. And here we are trying to be a developed nation, but incurring such views.

The worst part is that while Abdul Hamid Zainal Abidin, minister in the prime minister's department, claims that the show is inappropriate, he didn't bother consulting anybody about it. It was just what he thought. It's people like him and those on the censorship who think that they have a right to become our moral guardians and judge what we should and should not watch. If you say it's un-Islamic, then by all means, ban it to Muslims. This is being so insensitive to non-Muslims and free-thinkers who are denied the right to watch simply because half the population should not watch. And speaking of being un-Islamic, shows like Bedazzled, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Arabian Nights, Tomb Raider, The Mummy, and countless others should've been banned as well, simply for introducing elements of magic, the fey, and the divine. Another fine example of selective persecution; which, as I suspect, is due to something as simple as the word 'Almighty', similar to the word 'devil' in Daredevil.

If it's offensive to you, then don't watch it. I for one, want to, since I think it's a novel idea and the trailer is incredibly funny. So does my girlfriend (and she's a Christian!!). It's all about being open-minded and letting us judge the right and wrong of things by ourselves. Once I've watched it, I'll decide if it's insulting, offensive or blasphemous. Not some older, 'wiser' people closeted in small projector rooms who are likely with 'small' (narrow) minds. The piracy problem is already very bad, try not to encourage the populace into getting pirated but original (uncut) versions of movies or tempt them to download off the internet.


on Monday, 28 July 2003
I'm sure all you dating people out there have given thought about marriage right? I guess I'm in a dilemma. See, my girlfriend's older (a small number, but in years) than I am; so naturally, she'll start getting all that pressure to get married earlier than me. On the one hand, I don't want her to have to go through them each time she meet up with relatives (luckily her parents didn't); and on the other hand, I don't want to get married before I'm financially secure and ready. Solution? Work hard I guess. This lecturing contract, supplemented with part-time research claims, is probably not enough. Night job? One more part-time job? Sigh. Like a good friend of mine said: "You just have to make sure you grow up faster."

First Lecture

on Friday, 25 July 2003
Phew! Just had my first lecture. It finished pretty early, considering it was the first and most of the material were basic stuffs. I wonder if I did all right? My mouth and throat were really dry after talking for so long. This is so very different from the tutorials and practical sessions that I had done before. I was quite nervous last night, but during the class, I was calm enough. Some of the students were pretty bored, it's so obvious - one even yawned. Sigh. We all don't like boring lectures but I really wonder how I can keep their attention without boring them. I remember certain teachers or lecturers that simply commanded attention, and when they're lecturing, it's tough to feel sleepy. I wonder how they do that.... Oh well, hopefully I'll figure it out soon. I give myself a passing mark for my first ever lecture ^-^.

Still busy

on Wednesday, 23 July 2003
Rushing to do a lot of things. My girlfriend was referred to a good job and will be moving up to KL. Nice. Went up to Genting last Sunday for an overnight stay. It rained a little up there so it was pretty cold and not much rides were open. I've been on those roller coasters quite a lot of times already anyway. But that Slingshot ride was new... and totally exciting. It's sort of like bungee jumping: u get strapped into a seat, lifted up high, and then u fall down real fast, stop fast, shoot back up fast, then fall fast again, and repeating... each getting shorter and closer to the ground. I admit I've never been feeling so scared of a ride before... and we went twice (cos she wanted too, and me being a man, well, it's just too hard to say "u go ahead yourself", :P). Didn't go on much indoor rides though, and boy has it changed; it's been years since I was last up there for holiday. The new Snow World and Haunted Adventure looked fun, but we didn't go cos I kinda feel such attractions would be much more fun when there's a big group of friends or family. But we did go to the new Ripley's Believe It Or Not Exhibition. Pretty interesting things if you liked the show, and there's quite a lot of things to see too, not to mention they'll periodically change the exhibits.

Project Petaling Street

on Tuesday, 15 July 2003
Oh, I guess I should post about Project Petaling Street too, since I'm a Malaysian. It's been launched and kudos to all those beta testers who helped. Check it out for a good listing of Malaysian blogs.


Ooo... before I stop, I'd better say my piece about MyKad. Just the other day, The Star reported that the Director-General of the NRD commented on the under-utilisation of MyKad. MyKad utilises the smart-card technology and, at present, provides these 7 functionality or applications:

  1. As an identification card,
  2. A driving license,
  3. International passport,
  4. Storage of health information,
  5. E-Cash,
  6. ATM services; and
  7. Touch n' Go and Public Key encryption infrastructure.

While there has been extension coverage of the benefits of the usage of a MyKad by the local media, there was hardly any discussion or information regarding its security and any contingency plans for stolen cards or information access rights. What happens when my card gets stolen? Will the thief with the appropriate reader be able to illegally use or sell my personal information? Or will I face discrimination when looking for a job or trying to get insurance based on my stored health information?

Belkisa Lim recently sent a letter to Malaysiakini. In it, the author mentioned a hotel booking incident using MyKad, the very first time the author made a booking. It seems that just based on the MyKad number, the person with the right tool can find out everything about you: including your name, phone numbers (home, mobile, and office) and address.

Frightening? I for one, think so. I value my privacy, especially my whereabouts on any given day. This sort of information easily allows the government to track our daily activities. I have a feeling that when the government finally makes it mandatory for all Malaysian citizens to switch to MyKad, our situation is going to be like the Americans and their Social Security numbers. With a simple number, everything about you and all you've done from the point of having the card can be recalled with a single click. My question is: Who has access to all this information? Why doesn't the government release information on the precautions taken to prevent such things? Or was there no consideration at all, given the government's track record of reckless implementation and lack of detailed planning?

Until the government forces me to, or assures me satisfactorily of its safety, I'm sticking to cards that each perform a specialised function.

Read this one by TV Smith.


I've got a lot of stuffs to do. I have to finalise and start producing something from the research work I'm doing for my supervisor; I have to start preparing subject materials for two subjects (new semester starts next week); and my girlfriend's coming down tomorrow (for which I'm extremely glad, although I must say I'll have to really try to slot in time for her). But at least this'll kick me back into a more active routine, rather than time passing slowly and uneventfully by.

Price Control

on Thursday, 10 July 2003
Kudos to RKK for noting that the government didn't bother with controlling the prices and demanding the pricing structure from our more basic amenities like phone, water and toll rates.

When the high-ups and investors mention the rampant intellectual property piracy prevalent in our country, we become witness to an era of rare police efficiency as well as tough policies and measures. When the public complains about some ridiculous rates we have to endure for public services, nobody seems to hear. And they are supposed to be "public" services, which apparently rank lower in priority compared to luxury items like optical discs.

The Belief System

on Wednesday, 9 July 2003
Jas directed to me some atheists' sites in response to my previous entry on religion (July 2). I'm not a free-thinker. Definitely not one. I guess it's the fact that while I don't believe in the "rightness" of religions, I do believe in divinity. Somehow, I do get the feeling that there is a God somewhere out there, but it's just He/She/It is much more passive and doesn't care about how what we do. It's just like watching ants go about their business. How long would your attention span last if I told you to keep an eye on those ants crawling on your wall about their business? I'd more often than not smash my fingers into them! Muah-hah-hah-ha!!!

Ahem... Dead Serious Warning! Following paragraphs would be considered blasphemous by MOST if not ALL religions!

And just a little pondering: Did God create the world? If so, who created God? How did God exist in the first place? There's an alternate answer: Evolution created the world, WE created God. Wait, wait, before you all start screaming curses (again!) let me explain my thoughts. First off though, if anyone has at least more than passing knowledge of the world of Dungeons & Dragons (it's an RPG) and/or read Raymond E. Feist's fantasy novels. Anyway, since most people would be inclined to agree that our minds are incredily complex, and some believe that we are capable of extraordinary feats such as ESP, telekinesis, precognition and such. There's also this phrase: "If we put our minds to it, we could accomplish anything."

What's the whole point? Well, I'm just offering some reference to my thought: that because we humans have believed in the divinity for so long, divinity simply came into existence!! Incredible? Unbelievable? Think my basis is simply too baseless? Remember X-files? Or rather specifically one episode (I don't remember which season) about killer cockroaches. It deals with something call mass hysteria. That's just scratching the surface on the science behind our minds and our belief systems. Did you know that you can't always trust your mind? Sadly, I don't have links and no more time to search. It's said that our minds are horribly logical things, it simply has to interpreted in a manner in which it can be stored. If you encounter something that defies explanation, somehow, your mind will put it in focus and you'll "understand" it. This is actually one of the explanations given to (vague) reports of UFO sightings and ghosts. Because we simply couldn't explain it logically, our mind simply attributes it to the next best thing. And the problem is, the moment our mind conmes to a conclusion, it's so ingrained as a truth it's extremely difficult to debunk or disprove. But I'm digressing.

Still think there's no basis for my idea? How about this: I'm sure we've all heard of doctors who claim that some patients who were not expected to recover, miraculously recovered. Act of God or his angels? Before we go in that direction, how about: Belief? and Will? The patient (and maybe family/friends) so desperately wanted to recover that his body responded supernaturally. What about those yoga masters who undergo isolation, sensory deprivation and starvation? Mind over matter. Our mind is infinitely powerful, as long as one knows how to use it.

Still not accepting even the slightest possibility that our belief through the millenias could have brought divinity into existence by the mere power of thought? Well how about... oh heck, nothing more to add. I better stop typing. You may not accept it, but it's still a logical thought, right? I welcome arguments.

As an Educator

on Monday, 7 July 2003
I'm going to start work as a lecturer soon (though it probably won't be a permanent job just yet). I'm getting pretty nervous. The start of the next semester's just around the corner. And no, it's not a public university and it's not a college, so I suppose that should narrow things down. Not going to name, as I'm still not used to the idea of exposing everything around me (except those I've already exposed on the sidebar).

So far, 25 students are confirmed *gasp*. What? So it's not that much, but it's still the first group of students who's going to depend on me for that subject! *shudder* Having been a tutor didn't seem to help much... sure, those were my students too, but I was there as an assistant. Now, full responsibility is on my shoulders. *sigh* What if I can't impart what I know? What if they don't understand what the freak I'm talking about? How the hell am I going to drag a lecture for two long hours?! What if someone complains? Oh boy... getting out of hand.

Oh well, at least I've seen enough lecturers to know what NOT to do. And I hope they agree to break up the lecture into 2 sessions.

Walk, Don't Run!

on Friday, 4 July 2003
I don't know if this situation occurs to people everywhere or not, but there's seem to be a breed of people who took the phrase "Walk, but Don't Run" to heart when applied to road-crossing. Just this morning, as I was driving, three men were leisurely crossing the lane I was on and coming pretty fast. I had to break before I splatter them all over my windscreen. And here they were, strolling along as if nothing had happened, as if I wasn't even on the road!! It's like it's their right to cross anywhere they want and cars have to avoid them rather than the other way around. Course, if it were pretty ladies then it's a different story (*snicker*). It's like this road-crossing equivalent of TV Smith's KLCC (Kuala Lumpur 'Cycle Club).

And speaking of road problems, we Malaysians appear to be rather famous for our statistics on road accidents. Everyone complains about how fast some drivers go in Malaysia. But nobody seems to complain about how slow some of them goes. It's like, I'm on this lane, you all behind me must follow my pace. And this is on the fast lane. Anyone who've driven on Malaysian roads in urban areas (and who drives at least 60 km/h on average) must have met some drivers who, for some reason, drives from 30 to 50 km/h on the fast lane. Flashing and closing in on them won't even make them notice you. Sigh. I don't mind if drivers want to drive slowly, but please do so on the left lanes, don't hog the fast lanes where people want to go faster. It's actually safer if they drive slowly on the left, so the faster drivers don't have to keep overtaking them on the left. The same applies to highways too. But this time, it's those "law-abiding" idiots who fervently stick to the fast lane driving at the permitted maximum speed. Anyone else speeding has to overtake them on the left, cos those "smart" fellas just won't budge, no matter how much you flash them, making it that much more dangerous in high speeds.

On Religion

on Wednesday, 2 July 2003
Before I start, I have a little disclaimer: 1. I am not a religion expert, just your average Malaysian Chinese guy, but I'm going to refer to Christianity mostly; 2. I am not trying to offend or be blasphemous, so to ye of narrow mind, let ye be warned! 3. To non-Christians, please do not take my words too seriously, these are merely my views and my perceptions, which may be wrong and/or inaccurate.

First off, I'd wanted to blog about this for a while already. I just never got started until I read these and this and this. Those links don't really related to what I'm trying to say here but some of the comments do. It's either I don't understand Christianity well enough, or I understand too much of points that most Christians seem to ignore.

I kept thinking about Christianity ever since I found my love. She's a Christian you see, and it seems that both my girlfriend and her mother would really prefer that I convert to a Christian soon. Sigh. Know what? I can't. I'm not an atheist or free thinker; I do believe in divinity, be it a single God or Gods, doesn't matter. A God would have multiple facets or sides and each of those sides could be seen as another entity, so it could be a polytheism technically. My view of God isn't similar to most, if not all, religions (narrow-mindedness reminder!) because I see God as a passive entity. And as such, I don't believe in religions and all they tell of. How can they know? Sure, it's based on holy books or scriptures, but that doesn't guarantee that's what God says (although the faithful would probably start shaking their head and/or cursing me). My point is, how would God be considered as taking an active role in our lives when there are no signs of it?

I used to believe in Christianity, back when I was a kid. But my father forbidded it (he says children must not be influenced so early, let us grow up and decide for ourselves) and really scolded my mother for even taking me to church. So you could say it's a childhood phobia. But as I grew, I saw that the God Christians spoke of isn't all that great. My er4 yi2 (second aunt on my mother's side in Chinese) died of liver cancer. She suffered for years in bed. Her husband became a devote Christian and everyday, pastors and fellow worshippers came from around the area to pray for her health. She died anyway. And my cousin (best friend at the time) and I became estranged cos his father moved and remarried.

Then there's my uncle who's a real hypocrite. Mouthing Christian virtues yet committing the most selfish and self-centered acts to his siblings and relatives. Serves him right for being a lonely old man now. There are others too, pretending to be good Christians yet are rotten when they're outside the church.

My point is not that Christians have to be good. My point is why did God let such things happen? My aunt was a devote worshipper and loved me and my mom very much. Why the hell did God let her die? Yeah, sure, Christians will say that it wasn't God's will, it's just plain bad luck that she was afflicted. Same goes for those who got SARS or were in Afghanistan or Iraq when the US invaded.

There was once this sermon I heard, which says that we should be thankful to God for the good things He provided, but must not blame him for the evil things that befall us. And here I was thinking that is so contradictory. And note that this doesn't just apply to Christians. This applies to most major religions. If God is all-encompassing, shouldn't it be possible for Him to be vengeful and punishing? Why does God not save His faithful, and why does God let live big evil-doers? Hope they will repent? Yeah right, like they will. Wars, famine, crimes, bad things are happening everywhere. Where's God? Does he care? Doesn't seem like He does. He weeps? So He'd rather weep than do something about it? I'm not saying God is bad or lousy, I'm just saying that He's a more passive type than religions try to portray Him (or Them, depending on your beliefs). Ever see any of your non-trivial prayers ever come true? It's never an unexplainable success or good luck. Pray for success? Sure, work hard, get the right connections, and you'll succeed. Exams? Sure, study hard, plan schedule, maintain health, spot questions. Pray for safety? How about good fortune? No, I forgot, there's no such thing as good luck, just bad luck.

One more thing is this: What is Heaven? An eternal realm of light where there's no pain or sorrow. This applies to almost all known major religions right? And I would ask, what else? What else do we do there? Do we just worship and praise God every day eternally? I've never met a Christian who has actually thought about this before. Just what is it can we do in Heaven that's going to last forever? Won't it be a pretty boring place when you do just about the same thing every single day for the rest of eternity? I don't know about you, but the idea of having to live forever in one place and do the same thing over and over again really scares me.

This is even more so if I go there with the knowledge that my parents, relatives, and close friends will never be there. My father's as good a father as you'll ever get. Providing for the family all by himself and raising great kids (shameless vanity!). My mom's a really devoted parent. And I have a wonderful, if sometimes bossy, sister. But they're not Christians; they don't go to church; they don't belong to any religion. By most religions, they're going to Hell. How can this be? What happened to "Love thy neighbour, love thy enemies"? Will God not be compassionate and let all righteous, honest, and hardworking people go to Heaven? Or must they spend an eternity in Hell with murderers and heinous evil simply for the 'sin' of not being a faithful?