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?