Saturday, May 04, 2013

Keyboard Warrior Blues

Well, it has been nearly four years after KD Tunku Abdul Rahman was inducted into the Royal Malaysian Navy and received bad press for it's perceived 'inability' to dive. Blown out of all proportion by certain individuals, the problem had been solved,  and even certain members of the Parliament had taken a ride in the submerged boat during LIMA 2011. However, many still believe that KD TAR remain 'unsubmergeable' and was actually a hands-me-down boat (how come a new-build boat can be considered a second-hand item?). I found them in Facebook (where else?) commenting on the photo of the ex-Ouessant of the French Navy, now at Klebang, Melaka:

Okay, first of all, the Facebook page is called 'Only In Malaysia' - possibly implying ridiculous things that only happen in Malaysia and nowhere else. Underneath the photo, the administrator wrote: " Cool submarine...Take a look, for the first time ever in musuem (sic) now :D " Hello, there were six submarine museums in the US, two in the UK and a number of others in India, Germany, Australia and a few other how it could be 'only in Malaysia'? And as for the rest of the comments, here's the crown jewels:

"Submarine that cant go into water, only in malaysia indeed." (Commented above)

"mmng bleh kang takut x timbul2....." (there is no news about sub disaster till today)

" buy 2 get 1 free lah! I wonder is our country really have a great history in Maritime??" (Yes we did, all the way from the days of the Malaccan Sultanate, go read your history books)
"BRAVO! CHEERS! More taxpayers' money used to buy a very expensive piece of historical monument. I'm pretty sure the museum is overcrowded with people wanting to see the submarine that never worked..." (That submarine served the French Navy from 1978 to 2001. From 2005 to 2009 it was used to train Malaysian submariners, so it did work!)
"Right. Explains why I keep seeing our Royal Navy training very hard with that submarine. I'm pretty sure our seas are MUCH safer." (Right, belittling our navy men huh? The two comments above were made by the same person. At least he has the balls to apologize)

"this is our money in the form of unsinkable submarine. put some sails on it and wallah! a yatch."  (Another soul who get their Scorpenes and Agostas mixed up)

 "Beli 2 besi buruk, free 1 sampah karat". (There were photos of the Scorpene's hull halves being mated together, so how come it's scrap metal?)

But I guess this one takes the cake:
"Training should be done using simulation, so u can cut cost, upgrade newer version software without spending so much money on the older stuff.... To our previous government please not all Malaysian are stupid. Don't cook up some bullshit story. I am not buying it" (emphasis added)

Kid, (I don't know if a bearded man can still be called a kid) being in the military is not like playing Command and Conquer. And seeing that you're an employee of TNB made my palm and face sore from being facepalmed again and again. I don't how TNB do their job but I guess computer simulations were followed by actual tests right, that is, if you're one of the engineers / tech guys and not some admin type. Heck even pilots who started with simulations have to pilot the real aircraft eventually. As for submarine training, sure, simulations are useful that CANNOT take place of being inside a real submarine, hundreds of feet below crushing water, hearing the hull creak from differing pressure when they change depth. and since the first time we ever operate a submarine, we sure need a real sub to train the initial batch of submariners. Of course not all Malaysians are stupid, unfortunately, you're not one of them....sorry!!

The rest of the comments mainly reflected the public's confusion between Ouessant and Scorpene. To be fair though, it is quite clear why. Politicians and their supporters harp upon the Scorpene's (solved) problem, then came photos of Ouessant with its dirty, unkempt-looking hull. Certain people simply tie the two together, not noting the difference and came up with the comments such as quoted above. The organisation that decided to turn Ouessant into a museum should at least repaint the boat before hauling it onto Klebang. Just look at other museum subs and ships HMS Belfast at London, or even the 200-year old HMS Victory. Let's hope they get their act together and make the ex-Ouessant a really worthwhile museum to visit.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Low Cost Deployment

Okay, I may be quite late in publishing this post but I can't help getting amused by the hoo-haah caused by the deployment additional troops to face the situation in Lahad datu, Sabah. The Ministry of Defence decided to transport our troops from Peninsular bases to the current hot spot using Airbus A320s of Air Asia, instead of the regular military transport planes.Appararently, this caused the better-informed among Malaysians to understand the reasons, whilst the less-informed wondered what went wrong with TUDM's C-130 force, whilst the idiots badly informed merely said that that was just another method of wasting taxpayers' money and another example of government wastage.

According to media reports, at least 700 troops were sent to Sabah. The C-130 can only carry 92 passengers whilst an Airbus A320 can carry some 180 with their kit and other equipment stowed in the cargo bay and at higher speeds (828km/h to Hercules' 540km/h). So it can be said that it was more efficient to use the civil aircraft. Furthermore, the C-130 is designed as a tactical airlifter, with less consideration toward creature comforts. With the (then) situation getting more critical, it is imperative that the troops be sent to area quickly and in the required number. Besides, it was quite norm, even for the vaunted US armed forces, which use chartered civilian airliners for large scale overseas deployment despite numbers of C-130s, C-17s and US's largest airlifter, the C-5 Galaxy - from Vietnam to Iraq. Furthermore, the C-130 were needed to transport other military equipment/

The badly-informed however use photos of US troops disembarking from a C-17 Globemaster III and Chinese troops getting into a Shaanxi Y-8 to show how bad is our military but, I can say that the photo of the US troops were probably somewhere in Iraq or Afghanistan or as the US slang said - 'in-country deployment' - where tactical airlifter is needed. The Chinese photo quite clearly shows that the troops are actually PARATROOPERS - of course they need to board a Y-8!

Apparently people make fun of the notion that our troops were using Air Asia is because of the latter's status as a low-cost airliner - I wonder if people make fun out of the military's usage of Malaysia Airlines' planes?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Javanese Soul Food

Nasi ambeng is a traditional Javanese rice dish. I consider it as my soul food, as I am being mainly of Javanese blood. I loved it when my late father came back from a kenduri with a pack of nasi ambeng in his hand and I made it a point to buy it at the local pasar malam whenever I go balik kampung.

So what is nasi ambeng consists of? Nowadays commercially-available nasi ambeng has a number of side dishes (lauk) to choose from, somehow spoiling its authenticity, but I consider the 'true' nasi ambeng consiting of these:
- steamed rice
- fried noodle or fried vermicelli
- ayam masak kicap (chicken in soy sauce)
- sambal goreng* (most of the time replaced with stir fried green beans, suhun, tempeh and tofu)
- salted fish (any dried fish will do but usually 'ikan bulu ayam' (as it resembles chicken feathers)
- serunding kelapa
- fried tempeh (usually none as tempeh is already a key ingredient in sambal goreng and/or fried green beans)
*mixture of beef liver (which I gladly put aside), prawns (also set aside), glass vermicelli (suhun), tofu, tempeh, coconut milk and spices (sometimes with potato added)

Looks just like your slightly above-average nasi campur right? The final stuff to make it great is banana leaf. As many have known, banana leaves impart subtle flavor to dishes. In this case, the whole shebang is served on a banana leaf.....hmm yummy!

As mentioned before nasi ambeng is now commercially available but back in the 80s (and even earlier) it was the staple of Javanese households holding a kenduri. However the rice is not served in plates but in large, round trays which served 4 per tray. Traditionally, the guests however just ate a bit, and after dividing the rice and its dishes into 4 equal parts, proceeded to pack them inside the banana leaves, to be brought home so that the guests' families can also have a taste. But more usually, at least in my neighbourhood, separately packed nasi ambeng were given to the guests, known as nasi berkat @ bontrot. This Javanese tradition (adapted by the rest of the Malay community) helps foster closer ties in the neighbourhood - whilst the head of the household is invited to a kenduri, the rest of the family is not forgotten. 

There is another, not really noticeable function of the said practice, which is now probably negated by the commercialisation of nasi ambeng. By bringing back berkat@bontrot, the wives of the guests can be certain their husbands really went to a kenduri instead of using the kenduri as the cover for their extra-marital activities!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ubat Pandai

Dalam Metro hari ni, aku terbaca iklan satu iklan syarikat perubatan alternatif (yang sebenarnya ada setiap hari, cuma kali ni aku terpanggil nak menulis). Iklan tu kata produk dia, antaranya minyak sapuan yang telah 'dibacakan 30 juzuk Al-Quran' (sepertimana produk2 dia yang lain). Lepas tu macam biasa ada testimonial. Terstimonial tu kata 'Anak saya malas belajar, asyik nak main video game bila balik sekolah...taknak ulangkaji dan buat homework. Dekat2 peperiksaan, saya calit minyak ni kat dahi dia dan campur dalam air mandi dia. Dia terus cemerlang dalam peperiksaan dan KINI dia dah terer dah, manjang dapat nombor satu! (lebih kurang macam tu le)

Aku bukan menidakkan mukjizat Ayat-Ayat Al-Quran...dan kalau Allah kata 'Jadi!' maka jadilah perkara yang dikehendaki-Nya, cuma aku sangsi sikit dengan testimonial tu....takkan setakat calit minyak kat anak tu automatik budak tu terus jadi genius dalam exam? Ni bukan kes budak tu dah study, dah pergi tiusyen dah pergi kelas motivasi tapi dah bahagian dia tak pandai-pandai memang kata anak dia tak study langsung, asyik main aje? Sedangkan Allah dah berfirman dalam Surah Al-Ra'ad, Ayat 11 yang dalam Bahasa Malaysia ".... Sesungguhnya Allah tidak mengubah apa yang ada pada sesuatu kaum sehingga mereka mengubah apa yang ada pada diri mereka sendiri." Dan dalam ayat ni kekefahaman aku ialah sesuatu kaum tu kena berusaha secara lahiriah dan batiniah untuk mengubah nasibnya...bukan main calit-calit aje tanpa usaha sebenar.....Wallahualam....

p.s. Macam mana dia bacakan 30 juzuk Al-Quran depan produk-produk dia? Ada orang tadarus depan beribu2 botol? Atau guna CD Al-Quran aje? Ada guna equivalent 3x Surah Al-Ikhlas = 1 Al-Quran? Serta guna konsep 'air Yasin' (Air yang baca depan orang baca Yasin, bila nak habis, top-up aje...kira masih ada khasiat....) Jadi tak perlu berkali2 nak duduk depan botol2 air...cuma baca sebotol lepas tu expand air tu....