Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mudah!

eBay! Love it or loath it, it is part of the internet and modern society. Millions of items are being sold from consumer products to collectibles and from the common items to the rare. (Even films poke fun at eBay, such as in Finding Nemo when Peach the starfish mentioned that he was sold on eBay, or in Transformers when Blackout interrogated Sam or when Optimus Prime told Sam how he knew about Archibald Witwicky's glasses) Apart from eBay itself, there are a number of auction/selling sites similar to eBay such as our own Mudah.com

As with eBay, plenty of stuff are on offer - again from the common to the absurd....and with ridiculous prices to boot. And there are some items which simultaneously amused and bemused yours truly, such as.....

- old One Ringgit banknote (circa 1970s - 1980s) for the price of RM3,000!
- US One Dollar note, 1988 for RM150
- Saudi Arabian One Riyal note for RM100

Now for item #1 and #2, it was an old note, not antique. Furthermore the sellers didn't mention anything special about the banknotes (such as unique serial number, or formerly in the possession of a very famous person, or being present in a historic event, which MAY increase their value). As for the Saudi Riyal, even though priced at a 'mere' RM100, it might have the most ridiculous price, as the particular note is still in circulation!

Another ridiculous offer I came across last year was for a Transformers Revenge of The Fallen ticket stub. Yep, a ticket stub for one of the screenings of that movie at Sunway TGV.....for RM1,000! (or something like that). Presumably he wanted to take advantage of gullible Transformers fans, whom the seller thought that they will just buy anything with 'Transformers' on it. Perhaps he forgot that any TF fans who wants to keep their ticket stubs as a collectible would have already done so.

p.s. By the way, why should I keep a ticket stub as a collectible? Unless it was as a memento...and was never intended for sale.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Gadis Berpakaian Menjolok Mata

Silap2 entry ni banyak visitor....kakaka!

Dari zaman aku mula belajar Bahasa Malaysia, bila mana kita nak ceritakan yang seseorang tu (biasanya perempuan la) berpakaian seksi dan mendedahkan, kita kata 'dia berpakaian menJOLOK mata'. Ye la, pakai seksi sampai mata ni macam kena jolok...hahaha. Agaknya kesan sama (samada mata terpejam sebab pedih/sakit...atau makin besar!)

Tapi kadang-kadang bila baca akhbar, blog dan sebagainya nampak mereka gunakan ayat macam "GRO berpakaian menCOLOK mata". Macam tak kena aja....ni nak kena tanya DBP ni, betul ke tak penggunaan 'mencolok' tu.....memang le kena colok tu pedih...tapi tu kena asap colok, bukan coloknya......

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jangan Panggil Bos!

Terbaca dalam akhbar baru-baru ni.....

BEIJING: Panggilan bos kepada ketua sebenarnya tidak menunjukkan rasa hormat kepada individu berkenaan sebaliknya ia amalan kurang sopan yang bertentangan dengan budaya Melayu.

Penasihat Persatuan Pendidik Bahasa Melayu Malaysia (PPBMM) Prof Emeritus Abdullah Hassan berkata, menggunakan panggilan bos terhadap ketua semakin meluas dan membimbangkan kini.

“ Panggilan bos adalah perkataan main-main yang sebenarnya tiada langsung erti hormat seperti yang digunakan dalam lakonan Allahyarham Tan Sri P Ramlee untuk bergurau dengan ketuanya,” katanya kepada Bernama.

Beliau terpanggil untuk menyuarakan perkara itu kerana penggunaannya kini semakin meluas dan digunakan pelbagai golongan termasuk penjawat awam kepada ketua jabatan, wakil rakyat, malah kepada menteri sejak akhir-akhir ini.

Menurutnya, lebih manis atau berbudi bahasa sekiranya panggilan itu ditukarkan dengan menggunakan panggilan Tuan untuk ketua lelaki atau Puan untuk wanita.

Presiden PPBMM Prof Madya Hashim Othman turut menyokong perkara itu dengan meminta masyarakat Malaysia tidak menggunakan panggilan bos kepada ketua atau orang atasan bagi membuktikan rasa hormat dan ikhlas kepada individu berkenaan.

Katanya, perkataan bos lebih sesuai digunakan sekiranya seseorang ingin memperkenalkan ketua mereka atau seseorang yang dihormati kepada orang lain."

Setahu aku la, perkataan bos atau boss dalam Bahasa Inggeris, berasal dari perkataan Belanda baas yang digunakan kepada saudara-mara yang lebih tua. Kemudiannya perkataan tersebut digunakan untuk orang yang berpangkat lebih tinggi. Jadi memang panggilan hormat pada asasnya.

Walaupun Profesor Emeritus Hassan kata panggilan tersebut tiada rasa hormat, aku rasa ianya lebih bergantung kepada intonasi si pekerja tersebut. Kalau dengan nada meleweh atau nak taknak, guna perkataan 'tuan' pun boleh menunjukkan rasa tak hormat tersebut!

Cuma aku keliru sikit bila Prof Madya Hashim Othman kata jangan guna 'bos' bagi membuktikan rasa hormat....tapi lepas tu dia kata lebih sesuai bila memperkenalkan, uh, bos kepada orang lain di luar organisasi. Jadi tak sesuai sebagai gantinama tapi sesuai sebagai kata nama? Poning den!

p.s. aku sendiri tak pernah guna 'bos' kecuali kepada pegawai atasan yang dah familiar/level kawan-kawan; itu pun dalam situasi tak rasmi. Tak pun aku panggil Mr/Encik xxxxx aje......

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Malaysian 80s Football Scene Minus The Rose Glasses

With the coming of this year's FIFA World Cup Tournament, we Malaysians can see billboards and TV adverts featuring the greats of the 80s Malaysian football team such as 'King' James Wong, Hassan 'Lipas Kudung' Sani, 'Tauke' Soh Chin Aun, Santokh Singh and the late Mokhtar 'Supermokh' Dahari and 'Spiderman' R. Arumugam (the last two mentioned were featured only in billboards only, alright?)

Yes, the 80s (and also the 70s and 60s for those who witnessed them) were the Golden years of Malaysian football. Heck even the adverts bring tears to my eyes especially when they show the winning goal during the final qualifying game for the 1980 Olympics (which we qualify but didn't actually send the team to Moscow because of the boycott by countries opposing the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan). And I remember the jokes that when we use the service of 'bomoh hujan' it is in order to bring rain rather than stopping it since we are the 'masters' of slippery and soaked football field! And the players played to their hearts' content and are very proud of the Malaysian flag on their shirts.

Yes, many of us fondly remembers the 80s team as the greatest Malaysian football team to date...which indeed they are but as the saying goes, we look at the past with rose-tinted glasses. Take away the rose-glasses and some unsightly truth are raised....

1. Many cites the performance of our team in the Merdeka Tournament, being champions for quite a number of times.
- Yes we did but despite its prestige, the Merdeka Tournament is just that, an invitational tournament. Teams compete upon invitation rather than upon qualification. So it was never the true stick to measure our uh, greatness then.

2. We used to thrash the now Asian powerhouse such as Japan and South Korea.
- I know some people alleged this but if I recall correctly our record with South Korea is roughly 50/50 with the game results usually have a goal difference of only one., so no thrashing then. Also the record against Japan is even more unflattering. And one other we never really mastered the West Asian / Middle East teams who were the true powerhouses of Asian football then.

3. We qualify for the Olympics twice in 1972 and 1980.
Indeed these were the best achievements of Malaysian football. The Olympics is a well respected and highly rated sports event but alas ever since its modern inception in 1896, the focus is more towards track and field events and also pool events. Sure winning an Olympics medal is special and allows one to be called an Olympian but even if the country won the Gold Medal in football, do the world sports scene give a particularly special attention?

4. We never qualify for the FIFA World Cup
Since we never were the true football masters of Asia, then the Finals of the FIFA World Cup were never within our reach. The team that won qualification to Moscow in 1980 failed rather miserably in the year after that, losing 4-0 to Kuwait, 2-1 to S. korea and drew 2-2 with Thailand. Someone mentioned that we failed to qualify in the 80s because the Asian Football Federation were only allocated two berths instead of four as of today. If four were allocated then, we might qualify for Spain 1982 or Mexico 1986. The sad truth is that we have never even reached the second qualifying round - all our efforts were stranded at the first hurdle...so it was totally irrelevant whether AFC were granted two, four, even ten berths! And with hindsight, it seems that we tend to glorify the past by citing the Olympic qualifications and the bronze Medal at Asia Games 1976 - noted achievements yes, but the wrong stage. I mean we played well in tournaments where football is just another event but failed rather miserably where it counts - FIFA World Cup at the Asian Cup (which is AFC's equivalent to the European Football Championship)

Now having said that, this entry was not meant to belittle the heroes of yesteryear. These former bank clerks and officers, local council employers and factory workers played to their hearts' content and even if they were beaten, they can always put their chins up. They are proud to wear the yellow-black jersey of the national team and (most of the time) they never let the fans down.

Now, where is my padded hockey goalie's suit.......

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ntahapaapantah Lagi

Mula-mula, petikan dulu

"Malaysia dan Jerman telah menghidupkan kembali projek kereta Mercedes-Benz berkuasa amat tinggi F1 (MERCEDES GP PETRONAS) yang pada asalnya dimulakan oleh Adolf Hitler NAZI untuk mendemonstrasi dan membuktikan kepada seluruh dunia bahawa kejuruteraan Jerman "Deutsche Physik" (ilmu fizik jerman tersendiri) adalah lebih hebat dari "J├╝dische Physik" (ilmu fizik yahudi).

sebelum bermulanya projek menghidupkan kembali projek F1 Mercedes yang telah lama tertangguh sejak kejatuhan NAZI di Jerman, kerajaan Malaysia telah menghantar ramai orang-orang penting dalam industri pembuatan kereta ke Stuttgart, Jerman (ibu/pusat kepada Mercedes-Benz) untuk berbincang menghidupkan kembali kegemilangan Mercedes-Benz yang amat berjaya semasa zaman pemerintahan Fuhrer Adolf Hitler. Selepas perjumpaan di Stuttgart, Jerman itu maka tidak beberapa lama selepas itu terbentuknya satu pasukan dinamakan MERCEDES GP PETRONAS FORMULA ONE TEAM dengan pemandu-pemandunya semuanya dari Jerman iaitu Michael Schumacher (juara 7x F1), Nico Rosberg dan Nick Heidfeld."

Aku tak tau la, dah zaman informasi macam sekarang masih ada lagi orang menulis benda-benda macam ni....

Betul, beberapa projek berprestasi tinggi di zaman Third reich memang untuk menunjukkan kehebatan bangsa Jerman, bukan setakat Yahudi sahaja tapi berbanding semua bangsa dalam dunia! Dan pasal 'Hitler mulakan projek F1' tu, minta maaf la, Mercedes dah ditubuhkan pada 1886, tiga tahun sebelum Hitler lahir dan Mercedes terlibat dalam perlumbaan GP sejak 1923, tahun Hitler disumbat dalam penjara. Tapi tak dinafikan la, selaras dengan sifat Hitler yang suka bermegah-megah, team Mercedes (dan Auto Union aka Audi) ditaja kerajaan Jerman pada tahn 1930an dan dapat tiga kali kejuaraan.

Dan pasal "projek menghidupkan kembali Mercedes F1 selepas kejatuhan Nazi"...ni pun satu hal lagi. Tahun 1954 Mercedes kembali beraksi di F1 sampai 1955 sebelum menarik diri dari pertandingan selepas kemalangan yang melibatkan kematian pemandu Merc dan 80 penonton di Le Mans. Dan walaupun lepas tu tiada factory team Mercedes, Mercedes tetap support team macam Sauber, Force India dan paling terkenal, McLaren. Jadi bukan la senyap 100% dari 1945 sampai 2009 kan? Dan satu lagi bila Malaysia hantar orang ke Stuttgart tu...tu bukan 'orang penting dalam industri pembikinan kereta' tapi orang Petronas sebab nak bincang sponsorship!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Bloody Conspiracy Theorists

Ever since JFK was assassinated in 1963, conspiracy theorists have grown in force including here in malaysia. Their theories range from the plausible category to complete and utter bollocks. There is one such guy on CARI Forum who posted stories of the supernatural and of course, conspiracy, mainly involving the sultanate of Johor. Whilst most of them makes intriguing read his newest gets into the category of "complete, utter bollocks".

He proposed a theory on why the Johor Military Force did not positively engage the invading Japanese troops during World War 2. While I am curious to know the answer, his 'explanation' makes me want to tear out all of my remaining hair! Here's what he said.....

"The year was 1939, 5 years before war started"

As everybody knows, World War 2 STARTED in 1939. Even if he refers to the Pacific War, it was only TWO years later! Addendum: he argued that World War 2 became World War 2 after December 1941 when it became a global conflict. Whilst true in the strictest sense, virtually all the records and historians agree that the period designated "World War 2" started on 1 September 1939.

"Adolf Hitler makes an appearance before a Malay Sultan (assuming that the Sultan is Sultan Ibrahim) who was visiting France"

I believe there is no such record of the Fuhrer visiting France in 1939 for whatever reasons especially when relationship between the two countries deteriorated following the annexation of Czechoslovakia. Besides, I have never heard a head of state meets another in a hostile country. Furthermore, wouldn't it be more plausible if the Fuhrer invites the Sultan to Berlin?

"After His Majesty's return, the JMF were issued with Fascist-style (presumably SS) uniforms complete with arm bands"

No picture, no talk as the saying goes. Besides, the photo of my wife's late grandfather shows nothing of the sorts. Even a picture of Sultan Ibrahim shows His Majesty in a very British Army style uniform.

"Not long after that, a group of Germans opened a tobacco plantation in Muar and another group operates as boat and ship supplier on the east coast of johor, probably setting up a harbour"

Considering these people are clasified as 'enemy aliens' it is doubtful that they can operate freely in a British-allied land defended by British and Commonwealth armed forces. Besides the East Coast of Johor was very undeveloped at this time and it is doubtful that they want to establish a shipping company there where there is little or no infrastructure.

"At the same time the Sultan employed military officers from Austria (a Nazi Ally) to train the Johor Police and Military"

Again it is doubtful that a British-friendly leader would engage officers from an enemy country. Besides, in 1939 Austria has ceased to be an independent country, being swallowed by the Anschluss a year earlier. So any Austrian officer would be a member of the Wehrmacht (or the Waffen-SS)

"The British chose not to intervene as the Sultan has gifted 500,000 Pound Sterling to Queen Victoria during her birthday. Those who oppose were transferred to Singapore"

Assuming that the gift was given in 1939, I wonder if there is some sort of posthumous birthday as Queen Victoria died in 1901! And if I was a British civil servant at that time, I would willingly raise up the issue and be sent to Singapore as life in Singapore is very idyllic for a colonial officer!

"When war broke out, two British warships, the Prince Of Wales (gifted to the British by the Sultan of Perak) and another (the Repulse) was sunk by the Japanese air force."

The only truth here is that the two warships were bombed and sunk. The 'gifted' ship is actually HMS Malaya which had entered service in 1916 and gifted by the government of the Federated Malay States. Addendum: one of this guy's supporters argued that HMS Malaya was torpedoed by a U-Boat in Asian waters in 1941. Which makes me wonder if Cape Verde Islands has somehow shifted its position in the Atlantic to Indian or Pacific Ocean.....

"Both of these ships are class B (whatever he means but I believe refers to battleships)...heavily guarded with anti aircraft (guns) impossible to be sunk by air attacks"

The sinking of Force Z together with the attack on Pearl harbor and Taranto signals the end of the battleships' role as capital ships. The possibility of ships being sunk by air attacks had been amply demonstrated by Billy Mitchell in the 1920s and maybe one can also ask the crews of Yamato, Musashi, Hiei, Haruna, Hyuga, Ise, Tirpitz and Admiral Scheer - all sunk by air attacks. And it also doesn't matter if you have hundreds of AA guns - the Yamato was armed with four 13mm machine guns, 162 25mm guns, 24 5-inch guns and the nine big 18 inch guns can fire special AA shells; yet she was sunk by the aircraft of the US 3rd Fleet. It all comes down on whether you control the skies above your ships.

"In most probability they were sunk by submarine launched torpedoes..yes the German harbour in the east were 'equipped' with U Boats which can operate in shallow seas as the Japanese do not have that technology yet"

Obviously this guy has never heard of air-droppable torpedoes used all around the world. And saying that the Japanese do not have the 'technology' to operate submarines in shallow waters is an insult. Force Z was originally sighted by a Japanese submarine, the I-65, which shadowed them for 5 hours and later the I-58 spotted them on their way back to Singapore. I-58 attempted to attack but all the torpedoes missed and she later lost contact with the force. As for the German 'base'...would you really think that the Brits would allow it? Besides, German U-Boats did not operate in the Far East until later in the war - to act as transports to bring back desperately needed valuable materials to Germany. Addendum: I-65 and I-58 were just two of SIX Japanese submarines forming a patrol line 50 miles off the coast of Terengganu with the obvious intention of reporting and intercepting any force brought by the Allies in order to stop the landings at Kota Bahru, Singora and Patani. And the subs later conducted further patrols in the South China Sea, resulting in a number of further sinkings of minor warships and transports. Furthermore if the Japanese did not have the technology to operate in shallow waters, why the hell did they bring midget subs to participate in the attack on the even more shallow Pearl Harbor and Sydney?

And finally
"The U-Boat base at Mersing coast....still unidentifiable until today"

When something does not exist AT ALL, it is hard to find the remains! Besides building a proper harbour facility (bear in mind that this 'harbour' is also alleged to be a shipyard) is not the same as building a fisheries facility. The harbour would have machine shops, construction facility, docking facility and weapons facility (since a U-Boat is based there). All of which can be traced today even if the Brits ordered total demolition of the facilities.

Apparently this guy based his allegations on just one book "The fall Of British Asia" where the writers alleged that Hitler received the Sultan in secret in 1939 and that he has the stones to challenge me about the 'true nature' of sinking of Force Z whereas the attack on Force Z is one of the most scrutinized attack in World War 2. And finally, what makes me want to tear my scalp out is that someone said that "this is unknown history...tell me more!" People are so keen on revising history that anything out of the ordinary is considered 'unknown history and need to be exposed'. Knowing these conspiracy theorists I'd rather pull back rather than getting myself embroiled in a stupid argument. Addendum: The book merely alleged that Hitler met with the Sultan in 1939 and consequently the usage of the 'fascist' uniform. The rest I believe were totally made up by that guy!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Buah Tangan

Coinciding with the school break next week, I have taken a week's leave in order to balik kampung. As usual we decided to bring buah tangan for my mother and grandmother at Johor and our usual shopping centre is Alor Setar's Pekan Rabu. Mom and gran do not have specific request (well actually only my mom, haha) just 'bring back anything interesting' or most of the time did not ask at all. But knowing them I usually bought tamarind pulp and yellow raisins which they consider superior to the ones sold in Johor. Gran is usually more specific - she usually asks for the two items mentioned above plus black glutinous rice and kuah rojak.

For this coming holidays, I bought Gran a bit of white glutinous rice (which a neighbour ordered), minyak ibu gamat (which is a thicker version of the regular minyak gamat; when my wife simply said "ibu gamat" to the shop assistant, she was handed dried gamat (sea cucumber)). She also would like ikan pekasam (basically fermented fish. Like durian, ikan pekasam "smells like hell (like s**t really, at least when raw) tastes like heaven" or as I explained to my wife "wet or undried salted fish")

And on my return to Kedah, I bring back buah tangan from Johor, usually in the shape of kerepek, bags and bags of them. Kerepek (crisps) is rather rare in Kedah. When available, it is more expensive - I mean, RM10 will only get you roughly 200grams of kerepek pisang tanduk. The same amount can buy a kilogram of the same kerepek in Johor! And if condition permits I would also bring back ubi kayu (tapioca) which is unavailable in Kedah (except at Tesco), which bemused me. I have seen lots of tapioca plants in Kedah but not even a small piece of its tuber at the market. So what's the purpose of planting them in the first place? Furthermore Kedah is of a more rural setting than Johor so I find it amazing that even the selection of ulams is less!