Friday, October 12, 2012


September 1, 2012 was a bit special - we went for an audition! After years of watching me chuckling at TV gameshow contestants, my wife encouraged me to go for audition for the second season of a particularly popular gameshow on the local satellite TV. Since the show require pairs of contestants, naturally she became my team-mate. Adverts on TV stated that the nearest location was at Penang, on the 1st and 2nd of September. We decided to go on the 1st.

We anticipated that there would be many aspiring couples like ourselves and since the venue is roughlyone-and-a-half hours away, we started early - right after Subuh prayers. The kids were also roused early - they can sleep on the way. Eventually we arrived around 8.15. Whaddaya know, the line is already quite long although mostly they are just queing for the entry forms. One snag though, it was not stated at the website but we saw notices being put up stating that entry forms would not be accepted unless enclosed with a photocopy of ICs. What to do? it was still early in the morning, the nearby shops were still closed. So, I asked my wife whether she can request help from the hotel's front office. Luckily enough, they agreed although I hearld later that the production team waived the IC requirement.

After a relatively short wait (well, we were early), we were given our registration number. veterans of the first season audition gave some pointers on what to expect (or rather the production team's expectation) during the audition. I overheard a couple behind me doing some 'revision' on their general knowledge ("Ibu negeri Perlis apa?" "Airport Singapore nama apa?"). Talking to an older gentleman, he said that the production doesn't really expect the contestants to be 100% correct in their mock game/audition, just the way they carry themselves in front of the camera. 

What we didn't expect however was that there is now a new first stage - written test! We have to answer 20 multiple-choice questions within 10 minutes. Was it hard? I guess so....there were a number of questions that had me scratching my head....

The 'invigilators' siad that they have prepared a bunch of question sets so that no two batches of contestants would answer the same set. Furthermore, the passing mark was 13 out 20 - no averages between the two contestants. So if one gets 15/20 but the other 7/20, they won't move on to the second stage. My wife confessed that the didn't know much but since we sat side-by-side...well...heheh.

After we finished the test, we're off to the second room where a briefing were given and those who managed to get to the second stage are announced. We were informed tht there only 4 couples out of 35 in the first batch managed to go to the second stage. I guess it was that tough for us all. When it was our batch's turn to be announced (we're in the second batch by the way), Alhamdulillah, we managed to go to the second stage! And we're only one of four couples in our batch that managed to go through....And whilst waiting for our turn for the second stage, we saw that in the suceeding batches, again onlythree to four couples managed to go through.

Eventually it was our turn for the second stage. The room was set up (more or less) like the 'finals' set - with the 'interviewers' in front. One guy acts as the 'host'. But before we start our mock game, we were interviewed first. One of the interviewers asked me which question(s) during the first staged which i found 'hard'. I told them them that I'm not sure of my answers to these questions:
- Who is the writer of the novel 'Ombak Rindu'
- Who is the director for the horror movie 'Histeria'
- The value of 'L' in the Roman numerals
 and then I told them my answers, which he told me that I was correct in all three. I was quietly pleased with that since it meant that I got a perfect score! He then asked my wife whether she copied my answers,which my wife merely smiled and I jokingly said that since I sat to her right, I didn't know what happened to my left! Obviously my wife also score perfectly and probably the panel were puzzled why this housewife knows about Waterloo and Napoleon or that the second highest mountain in the world is K2!

Then it was time for the mock game. The 'host' asked us 'The World AIDS Day is celebrated on which date?' The answer immediately comes to my mind but in order to 'play' for the camera I mocked up a discussion with my wife. We decided to answer 'December 3rd' and put all our (photocopied) 'money' on that answer. Of course we 'won'! The interviewers then thanked us for our participation. Whilst flush with our 'victory', a small voice nagged at the back of my head - short interviews would either mean you got the job or not....

Mid- September came and went and with that our hopes of winning a million bucks faded. Actually a junior of mine during schooldays works with the producers and it was through him that I know that we didn't make it...perhaps we were not 'happening' enough for TV.....

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dude, Where's My Coat?

Government employees enjoy some perks, among them warm clothing allowance if one is posted overseas or go overseas in the official capacity. The catch was:
- One can claim that allowance once every three years (so if you went to the UK this year and claimed the allowance, you can't claim again when one goes to Norway the next year)
- Claim is only valid if the country of destination is located north of the Tropic Of Cancer and south of the Tropic Of Capricorn. For countries astride the said latitudes, the actual destination would be taken into account (Say, one can claim if one goes to Adelaide, Australia but not if one goes to Darwin)

The sum was quite princely, well at least to me - RM750 around fifteen years ago and RM1,500 today. So one day, this guy came to the office to submit his application for the said allowance. Allowance claims were not under my purview - it just happened that I was in my colleague's room (who did). So the exchange went something like this:

guy : Encik X (my colleague), saya nak buat permohonan elaun pakaian panas.
Mr X : Nak pergi mana?
Guy : Costa Rica
Me : Huh? Costa Rica ( Costa Rica is bloody tropical, what for?)
Mr X (consulting a world map): Tapi Costa Rica bukan atas garisan 45 darjah?
Me : Betul tu, kenapa nak buat tuntutan?
Mr X : Sebab tempat saya seminar tu atas gunung....
Me : (inner thoughts) Kalau macam tu, pergi Genting Highlands pun boleh claim....
Mr X : Tak boleh, sebab Costa Rica bukan negara yang layak boleh tuntut...
Guy: (trying to spin things) Er, flight saya connecting kat LA...US layak kan mohon?
Mr X : (rather annoyed) tempat transit mana boleh kira....
Guy : Ni tak boleh claim la ye?
Mr X Ye la!


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Perodua Myvi In Israel? What's This?!

In the MyMil forum, one of us shared a photo from another chap's FB. Even though he uses Prof. Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin's photo as his profile pic, that is not the Prof's FB, alright?

Oh no! How could a Perodua Myvi can be in Israel? Is this proof that our Government is actually having trade relations with the Jews? Who should answer this? Perodua? MITI? The Prime Minister?!

Let's look at the facts, shall we?
1. That photo is in Israel. - look at the banner with Hebrew written on it at the background.
2. Israeli vehicle registration plate is in yellow (doesn't matter if it's Arab- or Jewish-owned). Vehicles in Occupied Territories have theirs in white.
3. Perodua Myvi (not Myvy) is also known as (deep breath) Toyota Passo aka Daihatsu Boon aka Daihatsu Sirion...hehehe.

So that photo is actually of a Toyota Passo or Daihatsu Boon/Sirion exported by Japan to Israel and NOT Perodua Myvi exported by Malaysia. Apparently the FB owner has absolutely no idea about Perodua cars' origins....Oh well perhaps he feels that he has no need to know about that....

But the funniest thing is not that chap's ignorance but the 44 people who 'liked' his Status Update....with no one pointing out the whole Passo/Boon/Sirion thing....

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cards That Change

Although not as involved as others, I consider myself a military buff and a bit of a car enthusiast. It all started when I was rather hooked on a card game called Top Trumps. Each 32-card pack is themed according to boys' interests, that is military hardware and vehicles of all types. Each card lists vital statistics of the item such as length, speed, engine power/capacity etc.

The game play are as follows:
1. Any number can play (at least 2)
2. Cards are dealt among the players
3. The first player (usually to the left of the dealer, who is usually the owner of the pack) selects a category and calls out its value from his topmost card (say, speed : 300mph). The others also read the same category. Everybody then places their respective cards in the center of the playing group.
4. The player with the best (read:largest) value wins. He then collects all the cards for that round and places them at the bottom of his pile. In case of a draw (having the same value) the cards are left in the center and the tied players select a new topmost card and and selects a new category.
5. The round-winning player repeats Step 4. The objective of the game is to have all (or the most cards, should the game session had to be prematurely ended such as the end of the recess period) of the cards at the end of the game. So anybody who loses all of his cards earlier on were knocked out of the game. Oh, once a player is down to his last three cards, he can choose any one for a particular round instead of the topmost card.

Sounds simple isn't it, and most of the time winning the game was decided by luck rather than strategies or tactics. But even then cries of 'cheat!' were heard which lead to fights and generally grumpiness on the part of the losing party. Sometimes we kids make improvised rules especially when no numerical values were given for a particular card's category.

Like I said before the top trump card sets encompasses a wide range of subjects. But most of them (at least to my point of view) seem to concentrate on military hardware. Despite misgivings by parents (including my Dad), as far as I know, the card game didn't turn us kids into gamblers. But since most of the card sets concentrated on military hardware, I can say that the Top Trump game kick-started me into the military buff I am today.

I had a number of card sets, and yes, most of them are military in nature (more on this later). One non-military card set that captured my imagination (then and even now) was 'Prototypes' or what we know today as concept cars. The cards feature, well, prototypes of cars that were not yet in production (then) like the Maserati Quattroporte and Ferrari 365BB. But, in most cases, as far as I know 30 years later, remain prototypes and has never been mass-produced. Some of the cars seemed so futuristic at that time which made us kids believed that there would really be flying cars in the year 2000. The were four stats categories : Number of cylinders, engine capacity (cc), Max. power output (hp) and Max. Speed (km/h).

The Prototypes card was one of the cards which caused confusion. As the basic rule was 'the larger number wins', we kids were stumped with the card for Pininfarina NSU Ro 80 which stated its 'number of cylinders' as 'Rotary Engine'. So, what did we do? We simply decided that 'Rotary Engine' has the highest numerical value! As for the rest, since there are cars with flat- and v-configured cylinders, we decided that the Vs have the higher value, so V8s trumps over flat-8. The selection of the cars are quite balanced in the sense that no one card has the best stats in all of the categories. The best cards in each category are thus (with some trivia I managed to find):

"Number Of Cylinders" : Rotary Engine - Pininfarina NSU Ro 80 concept

As I've mentioned before, us kids considered 'rotary engine' to have the biggest value. This was Pinifarina's 1971 concept car based on the rotary-engined NSU Ro 80. NSU had been absorbed by Audi.

"Engine Capacity" : 5,762cc - Iso Rivolta Varedo concept
Presented to the world at the 1972 Turin Motor Show, The Varedo was supposed to be Iso Rivolta's entry into the mid-engined supercar market. However, the company was sold by the Rivolta family and the new owner did not pursue the project. Only one was made.

"Max. Power Output" : 550hp - Pininfarina Modulo
The most futuristic-looking of all the cars in the pack. Put it on the streets and people might wonder if a time-traveler from the future is here or that someone has taken a movie prop for a spin! Pininfarina used a Ferrari 512 chassis and added this ultra-low body, so low that the seats are in line with the wheel hubs. And from the looks of it, it can only be driven in straight line ONLY! The original prototype was dismantled for parts - the one in the Ferrari Museum is a replica.

"Max. Speed" : 360km/h - Pininfarina Ferrari BB and Pininfarina Modulo (see above)
Also known as Ferrari 365 GT4 BB (Berlinetta Boxer). Shown as a concept car in 1971 Turin Motor Show and as a production vehicle at 1973 Paris Auto Show. Only 387 were built. The 365 were further developed into the 512 Series.

And finally, the weakest of the bunch.The Fiat Town Car and the Zagato Hondina. The Fiat Town car or Fiat X1/23 1972 concept car was an early example of compact electric car, or if you like, the ancestor of the Smart Car. The Hondina was Zagato's 1970 styling of the Honda Hondina N360. Both also had the least appealing appearance! We nicknamed the Fiat as 'Kereta Katak' (Frog Car) due its appearance.

Fiat Town Car

Fiat Town Car
No. of cylinders : 2
Engine Capacity : 594cc
Max. power Output : 23hp
Max. Speed : 85km/h

Zagato Hondina
Zagato : "Hondina"
No. Of Cylinders : 2
Engine Capacity : 354cc
Max. Power Output : 36hp
Max. Speed : 120km/h

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


So, the identity of the highest bidder for vehicle registration number WWW1 has been answered. Instead of being merely another middle-of-the newspaper story, someone decided to stir up controversy - basically because of the identity of the winner - the Sultan Of Johore. So this guy's commenting that the Sultan is wasting money and that the RM500k should be used to help the poor yadda yadda yadda. And then some other idiot decided to pour oil onto the fire by saying that the Sultan is using 'public funds'.

I think the Crown Prince of Johore has answered the issue through his Twitter, and i'm not going to repeat it here. I just want to say that before we criticise others, we should look at ourselves first. We tend to say that people waste their money if they pay top money to indulge themselves. But do we ask ourselves whether we did it too (albeit at a smaller scale)? Or we say that the money is better spent to help the poor, but we ignore the little old lady who lived in a ramshackle house just a stone throw's away from our house. Or how about this, someone said that there is a misuse of RM500,000 of public money, but our friends (if not YOU yourself) who are on PTPTN loan, bought Blackberry, iPhone or Galaxy Note, which is not really needed for your tertiary education...isn't that misuse of public funds too? Like it or not, we are hypocrites!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

You Say Best When You Say Nothing At All!

Part One

Recently it was revealed that an MP asked this particular question at the current Parliamentary Session:

[name omitted] minta Menteri Pertahanan menyatakan proses pembelian kapal peronda generasi kedua (Second Generation patrol Vessel - SGPV) pada Februari tahun lalu dengan harga RM6billion sedangkan Filipina telah didedahkan telah membeli kapal jenis sama tetapi sedikit besar dengan harga hanya RM32.7juta . Adakah pembeliannya melalui proses tender terbuka. Jika ya, berapakah syarikat yang menyertainya.

Despite his colleague basically receiving a mighty pounding for asking roughly the same question a number of months back, this MP who holds a higher position in the party, still insists. I do not know MINDEF's answer but, well here's my reply:

The Philippine Navy has recently acquired the ex-US Coast Guard Cutter USCGC Hamilton which was renamed BRP Gregorio del Pilar and to be followed by  ex-USCGC Dallas and probably another one. Sure, it's bigger (3,000 tons displacement compared to 2,000 tons; 115m in length compared to 105m) than the favourite(?) candidate for our SGPV programme. But our esteemed MP somehow forgot to check that BRP Gregorio del Pilar was originally commissioned in 1967 and was bought second-hand by the Philippine Navy - who wants to buy a 45-year old ship at inflated prices? Next, the price tag for del Pilar is way lower not only because it's a second-hand ship but also because of what she is equipped with:
1 x 76mm OTO Melara Compact DP gun
1 x M242 Bushmaster 25mm cannon
2 x Mk16 20mm cannon
6 x M2 12.7mm heavy MG
2 x 6-barrel Super RBOC decoy launchers
1 x AN/SPS-73 search radar
Sperry Mk 92 FC System

Despite her size, she is not much equipped. Now can you spend RM32.7 million and expect the ship to be equipped with surface-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, guns, torpedoes, search radars, FC radars, ECM equipment, and combat data systems?  

Part Two

Apparently, Tuesday, 17th of April is the "Global Day Of Action On Military Spending". So being a member of the international community, some 'concerned' NGOs in Malaysia have appealed to the PM to cut down on military spending. They wanted the defence budget, which is at 2-3% of the GDP to be cut down to LESS than 1%. To highlight their concern, they quoted that the defence spending was as high as 15.9% of the GDP during the Third Malaysia Plan. They also wanted the government to promote ASEAN coo-operation to pool resources and slash arms spending in the region. Their spokesman also said that the purchase of the two Scorpene-class submarines are wasteful as the Navy needs up to ten to patrol the South China Sea and that the more 'effective' approach would be 'passive defence measures such as anti-tank or anti-aircraft systems'.

They quote the Third Malaysian Plan as being excessive in defence. They somehow forgot the political and security climate during that time, 1976 to 1980 with the Second Emergency/Insurgency at its height, Vietnam and Cambodia have fallen into communist hands and the Soviets have invade Afghanistan. They want ASEAN countries to slash arms spending but of the numerous NGOs in the region, only those in three countries had activities on the 17th. Furthermore, no NGO in one particular country which spend 6% of its GDP (or roughly US$9 billion)  took part.

But the funniest thing is that when that spokesperson tried to offer a 'more effective' alternative way to safeguard our SLOC and EEZ - by using anti-tank or Anti-aircraft systems. Yes, who needs 100km-range Exocet anti-ship missiles or 50km swimming Black Shark torpedoes when you can use 2.5km Javelin ATGW or 200 meter RPG-7? Or force missiles designed to destroy AIRCRAFT to fly low and blow holes in ships?

And finally, I find it ironic that one of the protesters wore camo-pattern trousers in an effectively anti-military rally!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Local = Tak Bermutu (Ye La Tu)

Aku baru aje 'melepak' kat forum Mymil bila terbaca posting oleh standupper pasal kemalangan jalanraya di Terengganu semalam yang mengorbankan seorang pegawai Jabatan Agama Islam Terengganu. Tapi bukan kemalangan tu sendiri yang si stand ni nak cerita, sebaliknya ada komen dalam Facebook yang kurang tepat yang juga menunjukkan mentaliti sebahagian rakyat Malaysia sejak dulu-dulu lagi. Komennya?

"Naib baik diaorang bukan naik kereta buatan Malaysia. sorang aje mati. klu kereta buatan malaysia tu saya rasa semua sekali arwah"

"Jgn beli kereta buatan malaysia.murah tak juga. Mahal adalah selamat jauh sekali. 60km je accident mata (mati?) 80% temgoklah dalam TV yang banyak mati accident kereta adalah dari kereta kebanggan malaysia"

Jadi, kalau katakan van tu sebuah Proton (biasanya yang jadi mangsa ni Proton, Perodua tak pulak) makanya, semua tu mati la ye, sedara? Adakah ajal maut seseorang dalam kemalangan ditentukan oleh jenis kenderaan, bukan Qadha dan Qadar Allah? Agaknya kalau ditunjukkan sahaja gambar keadaan van yang remuk sekali tu (tanpa mengetahui apa terjadi kepada pemandu dan penumpang) rasa aku silap-silap dia kata, "Mati semua ni"...dan BUKAN "ni van Toyota...ada yang hidup ni...." Sepupu wife aku pernah alami kemalangan dalam situasi yang hampir sama dengan Iswara Aeroback dia - tokey bengkel siap tanya "Berapa orang mati?". So sedara dalam FB tu, boleh terangkan kenapa sepupu tu tak mati padahal dia bawak kereta buatan Malaysia? Atau terangkan macamana Princess Diana boleh mati dalam Merc S-Class yang langgar tembok pada kelajuan 130km/j? Atau sedara-mara yang terkorban bila Toyota Wish dia jadi scrap metal pada awal tahun tempoh hari?

Pelanggaran pada kelajuan 60km/j aje dah boleh mati? Mungkin ye kalau tak pakai seatbelt, jatuh gaung atau terperosok bawah lori. Dan kereta paling banyak kat Malaysia ni sah-sah le kereta buatan Malaysia, jadi kalau berlaku kemalangan pun banyak le yang libatkan kereta buatan tempatan!

Memang Proton tak sempurna (siapa aje yang sempurna?) tapi kalau merapu kata kadar kematian lebih tinggi sebab kereta tempatan aku rasa sudah lebey......

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Phishing Blues

I recently found this complaint somewhere in the Net:

"Baru-baru ini saya dikejutkan dengan kehilangan sejumlah wang di akaun Maybank saya secara tiba-tiba. Ini terjadi apabila tiba-tiba saya mendapat sms yang sejumlah wang saya ditransfer ke akaun yang tidak dikenali. Dengan itu, saya terus menelefon bank dan mengarahkan agar akaun saya disekat,saya juga telah membuat laporan polis pada masa yang sama.

Semua salinan telahpun saya beri kepada Maybank untuk tujuan siasatan. Malangnya, pihak Maybank tidak mahu bertanggungjawab diatas kehilangan duit saya dan menganggap itu kecuaian dari saya sendiri. Saya berasa amat kecewa. Buat pengetahuan semua, rupa-rupanya bukan saya seorang sahaja yang menjadi mangsa keadaan ini, ramai lagi yang hilang duit di dalam akaun Maybank yang dibuat melalui email menyatakan agar pelanggan mengemaskinikan akaun masing-masing. Kebanyakan rakan-rakan yang mengalami nasib malang yang sama terdiri dari pekerja awam.

Persoalannya, dimanakah tanggungjawab Maybank diatas kehilangan duit pelanggan yang menyimpan duit di bank mereka? Yang saya pelik ini terjadi hanya di bank Maybank bukan di akaun-akaun lain. Diamanakah yang dikatakan sistem keselamatan yang konon-kononnya terlalu bagus oleh Maybank? Berapa ramai lagi yang akan jadi mangsa selepas ini? Saya tidak faham mengapa Maybank mengambil ringan masalah pelanggan dan enggan bertanggungjawab.

Inikah yang dikatakan “customer always right”?

Pada pendapat saya, Maybank2u Online memang tidak selamat untuk digunakan kerana senang-senang penggodam haram masuk dan mencuri duit pelanggan dan Maybank tidak sama sekali tidak bertanggungjawab! Kenapa setelah ramai yang menjadi mangsa Maybank masih berdiam diri tanpa apa-apa tindakan membaikpulih sistem mereka? Adakah mereka memang langsung tidak pedulikan aduan pelanggan dan hanya mengutamakan keuntungan semata  mata?"

 Maybank, and just about every other banks have issued warnings to their customers NOT to respond to e-mails  from sites masquerading as theirs asking customers to 'update' their accounts by inputting their password, login and/or account number. Known as phishing, such scams have swindled many. Reading the complaint above, I'm quite amazed that there are still people who were conned, despite warnings given by the banks themselves and through the media. She even complained about the security of Maybank2U website. Well, lady, even the best anti-intruder system is worthless if you power the system down, allowing just about everybody access into your compound! The loss of her (and others') money is not because some hacker managed to bypass Maybank's security system, but because he had been given the 'keys' by the owner themselves! Of course Maybank won't accept responsibility! 'Only at Maybank' ma'am? Heck, even I have received e-mails from 'Bank Islam' and other banks which have internet banking facility.

So, what did I do with those e-mails? I deleted them of course. But since I do not have a Maybank2U account, I feel it was safe to type f**k_off as my login and a**hole as my password.....

Friday, February 10, 2012

Going Nuts Over Chickens

By this time, thanks to the internet and especially YouTube, just about everybody knows about the altercation between the employees of a local branch of KFC and a customer. Apparently pissed after being told that the outlet has 'run out of chicken' after waiting in queue for an hour, the customer wanted the management to apologize to him and allegedly he uttered some vile words which raises the anger of the KFC crew. hence the altercation.

I'm not going to give my opinion on that particular incident. But I believe a more peaceful outcome can be reached. I'd like to republish a story I had written here in 2009 when I waited for my overdue French Fries at one of Alor Setar's McDonald's branch. I was at Alor Setar that day attending to some business. Onece finished, I called my wife asking whether she wanted me to bring dinner home. She said just buy some McD's French Fries.So I ordered two large portions of Fries to go. The kid at the counter told me to wait for 5 minutes as the fries are still being fried. The 5 minutes is up..and I waited for another 5. In the meantime I saw other customers walking away with French Fries - so where's mine? Since I sat fairly near the counter, I made a gesture signalling 'Where is my order?' to the kid. Acknowledging that, the kid hurriedly packed something (which I can't see at that time) and came at me. When he arrived at my table, I saw two McChickens! So, being an honest (ahem) guy, I told the kid that I wanted two Large French Fries, not McChicken. Realising his error (and probably a bit panicked too) he said that these burgers are on him! And he hurriedly went back to the fries counter and fetched me the two Large Fries.

So, no need to raise voice.....I got my fries AND two free McChickens!

Monday, January 30, 2012

I 'Own' The World!

Dialogue from Tan Sri P. Ramlee's movie Tiga Abdul (more or less!)

Abdul Wahub : Tuan Sadiq Segaraga jangan pandang saya takde mata. Saya lebih kaya dari Abdul Wahab dan lebih kaya dari Abdul Wahib. (passing a folder to Sadiq Segaraga)
Sadiq Segaraga : Harta-harta Ismet Ulam Raja di luar negara! (Browsing folder) Pakistan! Afghanistan! Turkistan!Popostan! Gohead Gostan! Kat mana negeri Gohead Gostan?
Abdul Wahub : Dekat-dekat dengan negeri Setan!
Sidiq Segaraga : Dekat Negeri Setan pun Ismet ada harta? ....(can't remember what -Stan), Tanjung Rambutan!

Many real Malaysians do have properties and money deposited overseas, but recently while reading The Star, I came across someone who claims that he has €5 trillion in a HSBC account. He also alleges that he is a descendant of not one royal lineage but FOUR! (China, India, Java and Siam) and he also has access to untold riches such as:
- gold bars stacked as a pagoda
- US$15 million worth of jade
- US$10 million worth of diamonds
- stacks of US Dollars

All of which were kept in a cave in Kunming, China...guarded by two, uh, immortals......And oh, how about these further claims?
- He is the sole adminsitrator of secret royal wealth and apparently the wealth accounts for 86.7% of the world total!
- A Chinese 'royal' doctor (a rather anomalous claim since the last real emperor died as a commoner in 1967 and that he only lasted as emperor until late 1940s) claims that he is an incarnation of Emperor Nurhaci (1559-1626)
- He will soon be crowned as Emperor Of Indonesia!
- (which also interviews him) shows his name card with titles like
                  "Emperor Kamal
                   The Most Highest Perfection
                   The Ancient One Shining Gold Dragon
                   Son Of The Heaven
                   Emperor Of China"
                   Once An Emperor Forever An Emperor

                  "Yang Dipertuan Besar
                    Kerajaan Melayu Nusantara
                    Pemerintah Kuasa Melayu Bunia Dan Dunia
                    Maharaja Zulkarnain Iskandar Shah Ke-19" (I wonder who were numbers 1 to 18)

- He prefers to stay single since he has 8 dayangs to uh, entertain him. Plus he claims that once crowned  as the Emperor of Indonesia, he will have 800 of them plus 1,200 guards. To top that he will have a squadron of private planes traveling with him....
Getting somewhat back to the real world, Mr Kamal Ashnawi is the President of Sierra Petroleum International, a company doing business oil and gas exploration, development, exploitation and production. Nothing strange with that except that the investment portfolio shows a total of US$1.5 trillion (which should put them not only among the oil industry leaders but probably among the biggest businesses, however they were virtually unheard of) not to mention that their website is somewhat spartan and that the latest news was in 2005. I believe the company is real but their capital is nowhere the figure quoted.

So, real deal, scammer or someone with delusions of grandeur? Many netizens ridicule him. A number of others believes he is the one prophesied in a Javanese legend, or even someone who, by virtue of his wealth, becomes the saviour of the ummah. One commentator even compares his story to that of  Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) journey (Israk and Mikraj) - in the sense that both of them got ridiculed but prevailed in the end. (To me that's where the similarity ends, as Prophet Muhammad gave irrefutable proof of his journey). How can you take him seriously when he said he is a descendant of four separate royal lineage, or when he said that the treasure cave is guarded by 'immortals' (Genies? Heck, even genies are mortal despite having a long life), or when he gave the value of the valuables (how, did the immortals have a checklist, or they kept a ledger?), or when he claims that he is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund so that he can be crowned as Emperor Of Indonesia (what does IMF have anything to do with it?)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What's In A Name?

Credit to Mymil forum for posting this article:

Call naval patrol ships by actual term, Pua tells Putrajaya

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 —The federal government should stop conflating the six naval patrol ships it was buying for RM9 billion with “littoral combat ships” when they are from a lesser category, DAP’s Tony Pua insisted today.
The DAP lawmaker said he could now confirm that the government was not acquiring “littoral combat ships (LCS)” as claimed, but another class of naval vehicles called “Gowind Class Corvettes”.
The Gowind-class corvettes are not ships to be belittled and are powerful in their own ways which may serve the needs of Malaysian navy, but they are not by means the equivalent of LCS as trumpeted by the minister and the government,” he added.
The DAP publicity chief has been sparring with Defence Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi in and out of Parliament over the hike in costs for the six vessels after this was revealed to have ballooned from an initial RM6 billion to a whopping RM9 billion.
He pointed out that the LCS is a specific type of ship built to a specific length, speed and design by the US navy and no other country. He added that the US’ currently had only two such vessels in service and was building others.
The Petaling Jaya Utara MP noted Mindef officials said the top speed for Malaysia’s patrol ships could only reach 28 knots, which was lower than the 40 to 45 knots of the standard LCS.
The six ships were also to be shorter, measuring 105m long, and would not have the long-range transit reach of 3,500 miles (5,600km).
Mindef officials also said each ship can carry only one Eurocopter 725 onboard and would not have the capability to launch and recover small boats.“It will certainly be a stretch of any military expert’s imagination to equate our purchase of these SPGV Corvettes to the state-of-the-art LCS,” Pua said.
After being slagged off a number months ago for comparing the SGPV (which is corvette-sized) shipwith, among others, smaller Fast Attack Craft and even ships designed and built 20 years ago, the esteemed Mr Pua blaming the government for giving 'fancy names'. Furthermore he allege that the SGPV is of a 'lesser category' than the USN's LCS.
Now, while the proposed Gowind-class corvette is not the same with the USN's Littoral Combat Ship (with title case), they ARE designed to fight in the littoral zone (which is, basically the coastal area between the high water mark to the depth of 200 feet). So, it is not wrong to describe the SGPV as littoral combat ships (lower case)!

While he is right in that the Gowind-class is indeed slower, have less aircraft capacity and doesn't have the stern ramp for launching boats, I believe he is quite wrong when saying that the SGPV is 'lesser' than the LCS, especially in these areas:
1. "Does not have the long-range transit reach of 3,500 miles"
That range is actually influenced by the speed ANY ship (except nuke- and wind-powered) makes. The faster it moves, the lesser the range. And if the private venture l'Adroit (to be handed over to the French Navy) is to be used as reference, she has a range of 8,000 miles @ 14 knots (the Freedom-class LCS has a range of 3,500 miles @ 18 knots, so I guess the operating range is roughly the same)

2. Weaponry
The US LCS are equipped with a single 57mm gun, 4 12.7mm machine guns, 2 30mm cannon and one 21-cell RAM missile launcher. It has been proposed to carry up to 45 A(M?)GM-175 Griffin missile, with a range of 3.5 miles and a 13-pound warhead.

The proposed weapons for the Gowind-class is Aster 15 or Mica RF surface to air missiles with a range of up to 30km (RAM's range is 9km); MM40 Exocet or RGM-84 Harpoon Anti-ship missile (range of  up to 180km and 140km respectively and warheads of 165kg and 221kg). Plus guns.

So, honestly, in weapons capability at least, is the Gowind/SGPV 'lesser' than the LCS?