Monday, January 30, 2012

Stupid As Stupid Does

There is simply no end to stupidity insofar as our politicians, from across the divide that is, are concerned.

I am taking the easy way out by tarring them all with the same brush because I honestly think they (well, at least most of them) deserve it.

Tak boleh ker kalau sekali sekala berfikir dengan menggunakan otak dan bukan dengan kepala lutut?

Dulu that clueless DAP goon masuk rumah orang Islam dengan selamba tak buka kasut.  Tak pasal heret segala najis atas jalan masuk dalam rumah.

Sebelumnya, that DAP woman Adun masuk masjid sampai ke mimbar dengan kebaya ketat berkain belah dan tak tutup kepala.

Yet before that, seorang nangoi DAP (sudah tentunya dengan aurat terdedah) bersenamrobik di laman masjid.

Perbuatan mereka yang tidak menghormati kesucian masjid telah dipertahankan oleh, of all people, sekutu mereka orang PAS.

Berbuih mulut keluar bermacam supporting ayat dan fatwa demi nak menghalalkan yang terang-terang haram. 

Sekarang Brahim Ali pulak buat hal; bagi angpow kat wargatua Cina guna sampul putih; warna taboo kepada kaum Cina sebab putih tu warna kematian. Seolah-olah wishing them dead.

Please don't give the lame excuse that you don't know the sensitivities of our multi-cultural living. Hangpa bukan budak berhingus; dah tua bangka semuanya.

Bukan baru hari ini tinggal di Malaysia. Dilahir dan dibesarkan di sini, bersekolah, bekerja dan beranak pinak di sini; takkanlah masih tak "reti bahasa" akan adab resam tempatan?

Like I said, guna la otak pemberian Tuhan tu sekali sekala. Jangan dibiarkan beku...

Why 1 is 'one'...

The numbers we write are made up of algorithms (1, 2, 3, 4 etc) called arabic algorithms to distinguish them from the roman algorithms (I, II, III, IV etc).

The Arabs popularise these algorithms but their origin goes back to the Phonecian merchants who used them to count and and do their commercial countability.

Have you ever wondered why 1 is 'one', 2 is 'two', 3 is 'three' and so on? What is the logic that exists in the arabic logarithms?

The answer is easy, very easy.... There are angles! Look at these logarithms written in their primitive form to understand why.

.. and the most intelligent of all...

Interesting, eh! It feels great to learn something new...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sue's Gift

Blessed am I to have such caring relatives and friends who keep me both in the loop and in their thoughts when they go on their overseas jaunts.

Knowing how much I love commemorative plaques and plates, especially the ones etched with nameplaces, they never fail to bring home a piece or two to add to my ever-growing collection.

[More stories on my plate-collecting hobby here, here, here and here.]

The two plaques above came from my dear friend and karaoke 'kaki' Suhaini Manan, who croons and swings the golf club with equal zest, who recently flew to Scotland to attend the graduation of her daughter.

Thank you Sue for having me in your kind consideration. Here's fervently hoping you didn't poke your finger into any of those Dutch dykes (the protective 'benteng' kind ok, banish those dirty thoughts!) whilst in Holland... :-D 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Oh Those Rudderless Udders!

Something is seriously wrong with those COWs (adherents of Club of Obedient Wives). Have they got their face permanently buried in their crotch, or something?

Apa perlu martabat Rasulullah (s.a.w) diperlekeh sebegini rupa semata-mata untuk mempromosi agenda tersendiri?

Mentarafkan Baginda Rasul sebagai tokoh seks (sesuci murni mana sekalipun seks itu) amatlah menjijikkan. Enough said.

Obedient Wives Club invites controversy, again

THE Obedient Wives Club (OWC) is courting controversy with its unusual campaign to honour the Prophet Muhammad's birthday on Feb 5, or 12th Rabiul Awal in the Islamic calendar.

The campaign 'Rasulullah Tokoh Seks Suci Islam', aimed at redressing the growing moral decay among Muslims, will kick off today at their headquarters in Pelangi Square, Damansara from 9am to noon with talks and an exhibition. It will be on for 12 days until the Prophet's birthday.

It is, however, a closed-door event for invited guests and the local media.

OWC's spokesman Zaiton Omar when contacted yesterday, said they were disturbed with the growing trend of homosexuality and gay marriages and cited the recent case of a former Petronas-sponsored student who married his gay lover in Ireland.

"There are too many unhealthy elements in our society nowadays and we want to do something to right the wrong.

"We chose the prophet as he is revered and had led an exemplary life, and we want other Muslims to follow his way of life."

She said they deliberately chose the title despite knowing it would cause a stir among Muslims.

"The prophet is the perfect example ... he had 11 wives and the campaign will be perfect to celebrate his birthday."

Perak Mufti, Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria, felt the title was insulting to the prophet who had bequeathed a legacy of a great leadership by example to human civilisation.

"He was also portrayed as a good and sincere husband.

"The title is an insult to Islam and the prophet. OWC should change it and point out instead that the prophet was a good husband," he said.

He said the public's perception on sex topics would often be negative. "Even in the Quran, there are no references to the prophet as a sexual figure or idol."

The OWC is no stranger to controversies since last June when its vice-president Dr Rohaya Mohamed told Muslim wives here to be obedient to their husbands and to serve them like a "first-class prostitute" to prevent the men from straying.

The OWC, which has 1,000 members -- 800 of whom are Malaysians, has since received brickbats from women's rights groups and the public.

Founded by Global Ikhwan Sdn Bhd, an off-shoot of the now defunct Al-Arqam movement, OWC has branches in Indonesia, Singapore and Jordan. [from here].

Monday, January 23, 2012

Weekend of the Bookworms

Been a while since the firstborn and I spent time together, him being busy with work, as always. The still single (aduhai!) news editor shares my reading habit and can be counted upon to recommend good reads.

Naj's a quiet, laidback homebody who has comics (Calvin & Hobbes is a staple) for breakfast and fiction & fantasy for lunch. He also keeps giant-sized Transformer toys and makes mean pasta dishes.

So when he called to ask if I would like to go shopping for cut-price books at this particular outlet called BookXcess in Amcorp Mall, Petaling Jaya, over the weekend, I jumped at the idea.   

Since my forays into book shopping had not, thus far, extended beyond One Utama's MPH and The Curve's Borders where book prices were standard and steep, I was excited at the idea of finding decently-priced, brand new books. 

Claustrophobic me usually stay away from high traffic shopping areas, and Amcorp Mall is definitely one such place come weekends. This is especially so because of its extensive, multi-floor flea market which, I must admit, is a treasure trove worthy of return visits.

Sunday at Amcorp Mall has often been described as 'geek's fantasy', with lots of great deals on comics, toys and other random collectibles.

Here one can find LPs, old china and brassware, krises and other weaponry, pictures, posters and photographs, gadgets of yesteryears (turntables come to mind), an assortment of numismatic and philatelic items, and many more.

I spotted a couple of absolutely charming miniature Wedgewood plates depicting the rustic English countryside, which somehow reminds me of Constable, and cute cookie tins with 'windmill' and 'red rooster' themes, but they just have to wait till the next visit.

Much to my relief and delight, shopping was a breeze since the Chinese New Year balik kampung exodus had already begun, thus the crowd wasn't big enough to intimidate.

In all, we bought eight books totalling slightly over RM150 from BookXcess. Averaging less than RM20 per book, that's very decent indeed. Here's my personal haul of four, which should last the month: 

Corduroy Mansions (Alexander McCall Smith), Woe Is I - The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English In Plain English (Patricia T. O'Connor), Friendly Fire (Alaa Al Aswany) and Every Living Thing (James Herriot).

I have not been able to say 'no' to Alexander McCall Smith since his irresistible The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency, with Precious Ramotswe, touted Botswana's only (and finest) female private detective, hit the scene over a decade ago. 

Corduroy Mansions has been described by Daily Express as 'quirky and original' and I can't wait to plunge into it. Choice morsels:

Welcome to Corduroy Mansions in Pimlico; comfortable and genteelly weathered, it is home to a delightfully eccentric cast of Londoners.

At the top lives William, with a faithful ex-vegetarian dog named Freddie de la Hay, and an indolent son who he hopes will soon fly the nest. Four young women share the first-floor flat, including twinset-and-pearls Caroline, and Dee, vitamin addict and avid subscriber to Anti-Oxidant News.

And round the corner resides Oedipus Snark MP, possibly the world's only loathsome Lib Dem, who has succeeded in offending everyone he knows, and many others besides. But what dark revenge is being plotted by his mother, Berthea Snark, and his girlfriend, Barbara Ragg....?

Woe Is I is a book only pedants will love, I think, and I'm saying this in a positive way. The book has been described as a humour-lightened guide to better English and I can't agree more.

With contents like Comma Sutra: The Joy of Punctuation, Death Sentence: Do Cliches Deserve to Die? Yours Truly: The Possessives and the Possessed, and The Compleat Dangler: A Fish out of Water, how can I not agree, ever? 

Friendly Fire is a collection of short stories by Egyptian writer Alaa Al Aswany, the internationally bestselling author of The Yacoubian Building and Chicago.

I discovered Yacoubian Building two years ago and was immediately smitten by Aswany's moving portrayals of ordinary folks living in the rundown tenement building, and has been a fan ever since.

His background too intrigued me; medically-trained Aswany is a journalist who writes a controversial opposition column, but makes his living as a dentist in Cairo.

But it was the last book in yesterday's pile, Every Living Thing by James Herriot, that truly, truly made my day, all because I had been looking for this title for quite a while to complete my Herriot collection.

James Herriot, pseudonym for English veterinary surgeon and writer, James Alfred Wight (1916-1995), brought to life the world of country vet practice with his humorous, often amusing accounts of his experiences with the taciturn, gruff farmers of Yorkshire.  

Holding a Herriot in my hand brings me back to my teen years when I was first introduced to his work through All Creatures Great And Small.

Over the years, I had immersed myself in All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Things Wise and Wonderful and The Lord God Made Them All (besides his other works, that is). And now, finally, the fifth and final instalment to the series!

Boy, it takes so little to make me happy. This must be one of the cheapest I had ever paid for thrill and contentment, all RM19.90 of it...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Kama & Co would like to wish their Chinese relatives and friends, in particular readers of Kata Kama, "Selamat Menyambut Tahun Baru Cina". May the Year of The Dragon usher peace and harmony, and wealth and prosperity, for all.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Rainbow Life

People who know me well enough (and by this I mean close family members and longtime friends) are only too aware of the fact that I am cast in the 'backroom boy/girl" mould.

By choice a loner, I'm always in the peripheral, and never the centre, of things. And I like it this way for I can always remain my true self. If there's anything I can certainly do without, it's a public persona; I like my own skin.

Being in the limelight, taking centrestage and self-promotion will forever be 'unKama', unless if I have grown senile and can no longer tell right from wrong. [If you see me in a blazing red tog, that day has probably arrived..]

I have an aversion for bright, strong colours because they serve to highlight while I seek to obscure. I reserve my strongest dislike for red; it's too much 'in-your-face" for me.

Lest I am misunderstood, let me clarify that I just don't fancy strong colours on my person. I can and do appreciate their beauty otherwise. 

My wardrobe is overwhelmed with greys, browns and blacks, and some pastels in between. My shoes are mostly brown and black while my handbags (all three of them) are black. To complete the outwardly depressing ensemble, I drive a car of nondescript grey.

The dominant shades at home are beige and brown. Not to be left out in the equation are the family cats Awang Jules and Lillie, whose coat are ash grey and tuxie respectively.

The funny thing is, my life is anything but dull and dreary. On the contrary, much like a painter's palette, it has been a riot of colours from the word 'go'. 

God, in His infinite Wisdom, had granted me rainbows over the years to make up for my dismal sense of taste. Methink there must be a lesson in there somewhere .......

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Ultimate in Bodohness

A couple of days back I had a run-in with a rude Malay woman shopper in a flaming red tudung, in Tesco Mutiara Damansara.

There I was, making up the rear of a two-man queue in Lane One when the aforesaid woman almost bumped me with a half-full trolley.  

Thinking she couldn't read English, I quietly told her that she was in the wrong lane; lanes 1, 2 and 3 were Express Lanes for shoppers with 10 or less items.

Not only had she no less than 20 items in her trolley, the nearby non-express lanes too were available, so I couldn't understand why she was where she was.  

Instead, the woman gave me a defiant look, uttering "Takper, itu kawan saya" (that's okay, the cashier's my friend), her snout pointing at the sullen-looking cashier behind the counter.

Then she added, "Ni pun bukan saya punya semualah! Saya bayar dua kali!" (these aren't all mine, okay! I'm paying in two parts!).

By that time, I was already pretty pissed. Worse, I couldn't even comprehend the basis of her argument. It sounded so stupidly lame!

But I didn't say anything further. Instead I stared long and hard at the girl cashier. She pretended not to notice my gaze. 

Frankly, I was contemplating being a bitch, but decided otherwise. No point losing my temper so early in the morning just to prove a point, no matter how valid. 

Deciding one dimwit was already one too many, I paid for my things and walked down to Jom Bali Cafe for a hot cup of Kopi O and a bowl of wantan.

Later I saw the woman triumphantly pushing her semi-laden trolley past me, perhaps feeling great for being able, and allowed, to beat the system.

Sometimes I wonder; why bother having such lanes if exceptions are made for your colleagues, friends and family members? 

Better still, they should just create a special lane for these privileged folks. It would make life a hell of a lot easier for the likes of us common shoppers.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Edible Accessories

(Red) berry pretty indeed...

Brinjal flatties. Cute!

Nothing beats blueberries to dress up a bland clutch.

Selar Kuning Special, to stink your waist with. 

The Broccoli brand is making a comeback in 2012.

Rice boots with garlic pompoms, the perfect answer to ward off vampires (and potential suitors).

Pasta bracelet - an ideal gift for the love of your life, especially if she's a hot Italian mama.

Cheese handbag - good for a nibble when you're feeling peckish. Keep out of reach of the resident mice, though. 

Chocolate Cufflinks add colour and taste (literally!), not to mention decent-sized smears, to your favourite Burberry or Hermes. 

Pastille bracelets provide immediate relief in the event of a sore throat. Just pluck one and pop it in your mouth. 

I have seen helmets worse than this worn by our berani mati motorcyclists.

Earphones that couldn't come any fresher than Granny Smith apples and multi-coloured chicklets. 

Artichoke cap for the discerning nyonya sayur. To add a touch of patriotism, substitute the brooch with a IMalaysia pin.

The Daily Sniffles

"You can't find peace until you find all the pieces." Troy Dunn

These days, I shed tears almost on a daily basis. Except Sundays. Folks I know don't cry Sundays; they go shopping, or jalan-jalan cari makan.

Personally, I try not to bawl my eyes out Sundays if I can help it, for it might ruin both the family's weekly pasar malam highlight and our weekend karaoke session.

If you are in my part of the woods 6pm to 7pm Monday through Saturday, please stay away from my front door. Neither am I accepting phone calls. Sorry, you have been warned.

Why? Because I'd be getting comfortable for a good half-hour cry come 6.30pm, and you're not welcome to watch or hear me gently sniffling into my padded scatter cushion.

Television and I are not exactly the best of friends. I'd rather bury myself in books than face the box. Had it not been for documentaries and selected reality shows (read "MasterChef" and "American Idol"), you won't find me reaching out for the remote. 

This is not always the case. A few decades back, I was an addict who could not face another day without knowing what went on in "Peyton Place" and "Dallas", and how Anjin-san John Blackthorne fared in yet another "Shogun" episode.

Like millions of others worldwide, I too was engrossed with Kunta Kinte's incredible journeys on  Alex Haley's unforgettable "Roots", arguably the most-watched TV series of all time.

I was equally enamoured by a slew of British offerings, in particular that superb saga set in British India, "The Jewel In The Crown", and controversy-laden "The Thorn Birds", set in the Australian outback, about an illicit love affair between a banished Catholic priest and a young Australian woman. 

Television and I parted company when I left journalism to run my own public relations consultancy, mostly because my time was no longer my own. I hardly had time to breathe, let alone indulge in the convoluted plots of make-believe stories.

These days, however, I find myself slowly picking up where I had left off years earlier, TVwise. Back on the couch you can find me evenings, most times for documentaries and real-life dramas ("Crime & Investigation" is a runaway favourite).

And then there's "The Locator", the source of my daily sniffles. It's the American version of TV3's absolutely heart-wrenching but short-lived Jejak Kasih.

"The Locator", aired at 6.30pm to 7pm from Monday to Saturday on Astro's Bio (channel 731), helps people reunite with long-lost family members and friends.

Troy Dunn, who initiated and helms "The Locator", is a trained private investigator, TV personality, businessman and public speaker rolled into one. Read more about him here.

The half-hour programme before "The Locator" is Emmy-nominated "Sell This House", a how-to reality show that helps homeowners stage their too-long-on-the-market homes for sale.

Prospective buyers are taped by hidden cameras during an open house, and their comments provide the basis for changes in redecorating and staging the house. The prospective buyers return after the transformation to comment on the changes.

I like the programme because it gives ideas about colour schemes and such, and valuable pointers on redecorating and space utilisation.

"Sell This House" is fronted by Tanya Memme, a sexy bootie and former Miss Canada, who has a penchant for showing off her ample cleavage. Check them out folks (the TV series and not just the Memme cleavage, ok....)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

When Mindef Gets all Pokey...

I am sure by now the informed public would have been well-acquainted with Mindef's (Ministry of Defence) clothes poke eye embarassing debacle.

In the world of linguistic faux pas, this must have ranked somewhere near the top, in league with all those skewed bits doled out daily on that veritable treasure trove, (here).

The Mindef dress code web page went into a downward spiral right from the beginning, with "Ethical Clothing". For 57 years I have existed in blissful ignorance, not knowing that clothes have ethics to live by. 

The horrendous plunge continued with choice morsels such as forward berbutang, civet berbutang three, blouse/skirt with exquisite, National Dress by race, shine closed, long-sleeved batik shirt with mongoose fight...

The spectre of those Mindef folk wearing suites (two bedrooms with a bath?), jackets that belong to (George?) Bush, and tight civets and fighting mongoose haunt me. How and where does one style these creatures? Draped like a woman's fur stole?

Sadly, half-baked translation is the norm these days. It's the classic release cough on staircase syndrome. The bar has been set so low that a pidgin speaker could probably make a decent living doing translation jobs.

Any which way, I'll give a pass at deciphering those Mindef gems above; my jaw still hurts.

Every Cabinet Ministry has its public relations arm and Mindef is no different. Those long-ago days when I was still working as a newspaper reporter, I knew almost every single one of these PROs.

They were competent people the media could reach out to anytime for clarifications, comments, confirmation and such.

Professional in their approach, articulate and savvy in their presentation, they knew their stuff. Most importantly, they knew their English. And well. 

Now, this translation job would definitely have come under the purview of Mindef's public relations department, a nook in all probability manned by a whole team of PR personnel. 

Please tell me the person/s responsible didn't know or couldn't find a single local translator who could do the job, and had no choice but to turn to Google Translate. 

It can't possibly be that Mindef was too skint to pay a qualified translator a couple of thousand ringgit to get it professionally done.

I say it's ineptness, that 'can't be bothered' attitude, that's what. Mindef can take off the offending page and apologise (they have) but the damage is already done.

Much like the 'gems' on, these choice morsels will be trotted out every now and then in the years to come, to be laughed at, to be ridiculed.

In one stupid stroke, Mindef has become the country's laughing stock. This is beyond malu. The person/persons responsible should be hauled up and held accountable for this fiasco. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Goodbye Lou, Hello Louise...

Goodbye Lou..

Hello Louise...

Out with the old, in with the new. And with that we bid adieu to good, old but no longer trustworthy Lou, and said bonjour! to pert, petite and still pristine Louise...

Lou the vintage wheels had been a commendable carrier until six months ago, when it began gasping like a dying man's last breath each time we took it beyond the confines of our TTDI backyard.

On occasions too numerous to count we were left stranded on roads and highways when the engine just conked out and went into blissful slumber right there with Pak Abu (or yours truly) behind the wheels.

[Not unlike a senile old coot, if you ask me - the car, not us -  although we qualify just as well, all things considered].

Countless tow trucks and trips to a variety of mechanics and workshops later (not to mention hard-earned ribu2 ringgit flying into oblivion), Lou remained unrepentant, and as dogged as a stubborn mule being dragged to water.  

I gave up on Lou just before Ramadan by telling the recalcitrant (err, not Pak Abu.. but Lou) that I refused to ride in it any more and that I'd rather walk. And walk I did.

This constant battle between his determined (ketegaq?) old mate and his beloved old junk eventually wore poor Pak Abu down. The long bouts of 'silent treatment' also helped... :-)

Finally, in December he decided it was Louise or bust. And so the SYT (sweet young thing) with the cute posterior came to stay.  

As for Lou, he has moved on to better pasture; I hope the fella who bought him will knock some sense into the old coot.

"We know you have a bit more life left in you, Lou, only that we can no longer afford to entertain your shenanigans, being OAPs (old-age pensioners) that we are, that's all." 


Monday, January 9, 2012

A New Discovery

Last week, enroute to visiting our Haj buddies Abang Mat and his wife Kak Nor in Kampung Sri Kundang, Kuala Selangor, we spied this nondescript kedai makan simply named "Restoran Nasi Padang".

It is located on the main road in Paya Jaras, just a few metres after the town mosque and medan rakyat, a cluster of shophouses fronting a small square.

It goes without saying that we both love nasi padang, but finding a decent Minang eatery in KL has never been easy.

Besides one that serves truly glorious Minang fare in Kampung Pandan, and another in TTDI (with a pricey tag too), I don't know of others.

Of course, there's the famous "Restoran Sambal Hijau" in Sg Penchala, but the fare's not bona fide Minang; rather, it's a mishmash of Indonesian, Kelantanese and Thai.

We told ourselves we would try this Paya Jaras one out, and today we did. It was worth the drive (fortunately not very far, only 20 minutes from TTDI, taking the Sg Buloh route). 

The lauk was genuine Padang; ayam berempah, gulai tunjang, tempe goreng, masak lemak, begedel, ikan goreng cili, not to mention a very delicious rendang daging/limpa/hati (or as Pak Abu calls it, kerisik daging). The beef was cooked so tender that it 'melted' at the touch. 

Choices for the vegetable dishes were meagre and non-fussy. Of sambal, there was only one type (sambal hijau wasn't on the menu today). We had masak lemak pucuk with pisang and anchovies.

The bill came to a decent RM25, for the both of us and a tapau pack for Ann at home, for seven different types of lauk (we had four types for lunch and packed three for takeaway).

This restaurant opened two years ago and is family-owned; its owner-operator a pleasant young man in his thirties and I think it was his wife who manned the drink station.

Pak Abu primed his ears to catch snippets of conversation to determine if these folks hailed from his Kampar roots in Sumatera, but they were assimilated enough to speak standard Malay all the way.

We later asked the young man, and he told us his family originated from Sumatera (in fact he named the place but I can't recall it now).

Good food, decent price, courteous service. Rest assured, we'd be back for more...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Masih Ada Waktu (Ebiet G Ade)

Pembuka tirai 2012 bagi ku... lagu yang menginsafkan.. semoga kita sentiasa mengingati.