Wednesday, July 30, 2008


The only constant in life is change.

It has been more almost two month since the 41% fuel price hike. The drastic price hike meant that some changes were needed. Even the government are calling for lifestyle changes(?) in dealing with the hike. Unfortunately, it sets of a domino effect of sort. 

With the increase of fuel price, almost everything from transportation, food, services have in some way affected. The public transportation company are now pushing for fare hike, food cost a wee bit higher these days with some services costing more as an indirect effect of the fuel price hike.

Me? Try to drive lesser to work (and cycle instead), less eating out session, bring my own food to work (like to think of it as the healthier choice), driving around as economical as possible (no unnecessary acceleration and braking, constant speed and less air-con). Hey, we're trying to make the transition as painless as we can. A full tank used to cost not more than 70 dollars, now its closer to 120. Something has to give, somewhere.

So how have we change in the mean time?

Snippets from Key-are-ra

Snippets from Kiara

AIM - To reinforce and expand expertise by aiming for 50% staff member to have post graduate qualification by 2012.

-There is two way to do this, either by increasing opportunity to further study OR fire everybody till we get the proposed percentage. Unfortunately, the second choice is the easier of the two to do, and require less money...

Quote. "We need to get the spine right, straightened up to get things moving..."

-Has it ever occur that maybe the spine has scoliosis? Who knows...hehehe :)

In one of the sessions, the participants are asked to wish unconditionally to the person sitting next to them.

-To wish unconditionally to others in retrospect is actually an exercise of wishing the same for ourself, as a form of positive reinforcement

Later, the participants are asked to tell the person sitting in front of them of at least three good things about that person (and will be told the same in return), and for the next person, and the next in succession

-It allows us to evaluate what and how we actually project ourself to others, while looking at ourself from other people's point of view. We would definitely know whether we have been successful in putting up a good facade/mask all this while.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Scotty and his deflated ego...

Scotty is one proud bike. He might not be the prettiest, has no high end componentry, not the most technological or leanest around (even Nicks MTB would weight less than Scotty) but he is proud of what he has become after what he had gone through. 

In all Scotty has gone more than 9K on the road, had been lugged everywhere (on bus/train/car and plane), in short he had led a colorful life. Unfortunately yesterday, he was inflicted another wound. He failed in getting the rider (that is me of course) to the destination.

On my way home, 6km into the ride, Scotty was brought down by a screw. Of the steel kind. Gotten over that big hill (feeling good about it) and coasting through before the screw struck Scotty (actually Scotty ran over the screw, hehe). The screw fight back, and before long, Scotty was out of air and bruised. The rest they say, is history.

Actually, I could do an emergency resuscitation of Scotty, but as it is getting darker at 1920 hrs, I called for backup. I was rescued by a friend 20 minutes after that. So once proud Scotty was hauled into the car, only to share his place with a baby stroller. With his ego deflated (and the tire too).

Editor's note: this incident happen on 16th July and yup, its an old story. As of today, Scotty is still in its deflated state. Maybe next week, i'll work on him.

Two side of the same coin

It always cracks me up, when we tend to interpret things differently, especially when it gives us an advantage. Or makes things easier. But then again, could it be that some of our interpretation is just way off...

How can we have two interpretation of the same statement/notice. Or how come that one of the interpretation is compliant, and the other is defiant? Or, if nobody is actually keeping tab, we tend to slightly bend the rules? For our benefit? How could we expect people to toe the line, if we ourself do not show a good example?

How ironic...

Time flies

Been quite some time since I last updated. Been cooped up in a workshop and working over a weekend, outstation to the south and east, with no (easily accessible and free) internet access and generally try to get a few things done at the same time. Trying to survive without a working telephone and access to the Net is a bit tricky (not to mention not updating this blog). Will update with stories soon...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Some courtesy needed please...

I am expecting a new staff to report to work a few days back, unfortunately I got an early morning text message that conveyed this message

"Greetings Mr Bon. I am John Doe and I'm supposed to report to your organization today. I regret to inform that i would not be able to join due to some other matter"

WTF! You already indicated acceptance of the offer we sent out, and on the very day you're supposed to report, send me a text message? And I'm to be cool about that. Actually, I am cool about that person not coming in to work (as that is his prerogative), what is lacking is the manner of how things are done.

For something this important ie declining a work offer etc, at least have the courtesy of :

  1. Do not assume that text message will suffice, a call would be a better option
  2. Other than calling me as the HOD, DO NOT forget to call Human Resource to inform (and DO NOT expect me to do it on your behalf)
  3. Follow-up the calls with an official letter thanking the organization for the opportunity and explain the reason why you have to decline it (bluff if you have to)
  4. On the phone, sound (terribly) upset on having to decline the offer and not giggling around while breaking the news. I am NOT your friend
  5. If you know beforehand that you had problems reporting in on a specific date, call and discuss on the alternative dates if you are really serious on joining the organization. And not on the date itself, it shows poor planning.

I called John Doe and give him a piece of my mind. I am not at all slighted by what he did, but the manner that it is done, annoys me. If he cant join my department, I am sure its due to some valid reasons. Just remember to do the necessary things, properly.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Another one bite the dust...

It is going as slow as it can it seems. The figure now is 92.5. No worries, slowly but surely (hopefully!!)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Buying and Selling all things... bicycle!

Scotty has been in its current state for a couple of years. Even though I am satisfied with how Scotty is holding on, there will be a time when I might need to upgrade. CH bike is one really mean machine, C4 high modulus carbon bike with good mid-range components. Scotty? Pales in comparison.

So, as I was looking around for bike stuffs only, I ran into this site on the net. A local site too to boot. So, if you're interested to look into sourcing/buying/selling/just looking around cycling stuffs, do not forget to drop by.

Nope, Kevin did not pay me to put up the link for that site. This is a community service of sort for (my brother) cyclist.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The bastion of nationalisme

Went to UPSI yesterday for an official business. Moved out from office at around noon, grab some lunch and off we go. Called Ayrie to check with him on the best route there from the Administration Capital, Pjaya. He suggested Guthrie, which is OK with me as I wanted to avoid downtown.

In trying to get myself to Guthrie, I do think I might have missed a turn/exit/traffic light and somehow got me to SAlam. Not panicking (even if I have to be there in about 1 hr) took some familiar route and managed to get myself on the right track, towards Guthrie. Phew!!

I was wondering why Guthrie was underutilized, which would explain itself in the next few toll booth. To get to the main expressway, I would need to go through four toll booth, and not too far away in distance. Aiyoh! That explains it, but the drive was good and in no time we got to E1.

Well, I manage to be in UPSI at 3pm. Tried to call Ayrie, but apparently he's on his way to Tapah, an emergency beckons. Then I call DrOng, but somehow could not get him on either the mobile or in the office. Anyway, one thing I like about UPSI is its a bike friendly campus. I could see lots of students biking around. That could only mean, there should be some good bike shop around. Hmm, might need to look for it later.

UPSI is also steep in tradition. It use to be known as SITC, the first local teachers training college making it the highest institution of learning exclusively for the Malays. SITC also is the alma mater for many of the nations literary great, such as Za'ba, educationist and regarded as the birthplace of nationalism. Below is the Za'ba house in UPSI.

Tanjong Malim are well known for its 'pau'. Or Chinese-styled steamed dumpling. One of the more famous shop is "Yik Mun", located at the main junction although some of the locals prefer the dumpling shop near Telekom. Not that I have the opportunity to savor them on this trip, maybe next time.

Anyway, managed to talk to Ayrie about The Project. He proposed we came over sometime soon to discuss. Maybe, we'll do just that. Right Aboy, Kell, Sere and Pet?


I am an ex-rower.

In fact, i was telling a Kiwi friend about it the other day as we are having tea.  Compared to here, rowing in Kiwiland is a big thing, with Olympic champions and Worlds medallist in Wadell, Twaddle and Bridgewater and the Evers Swindell twins. A lot people are involved, from the schools up to the Uni's with numerous regattas.

Here, we can only see Uni teams. We use to have the National Championships, but I do think the competition nowadays are more in the uni scene. Our Uni crew became the National M8+ champions in 1999, beating all the states. I just started rowing by that time, when I was discovered by chance by the Uni coach, aaj (who happens to be a national coach too) when I wore a USA Rowing t-shirt during orientation.

It marks the start of my relationship with rowing. Coach's post yesterday reminds me of our preparation for SEA 2001. He was preparing the four of us, in the LM4-, constantly tinkering with setup, rigging and working us up physically. I was a sub 6:40 on the erg, while Amir was the strongest on water. Upon much thinking, he set our boat as the Italians do, using tandem rigging. Like magic, we are rewarded with sub seven performances in training, almost a minute improvement.

The preparation of LM4- for 2001 Merlion will always be a bittersweet memory in my short career as a rower. Unfortunately, at Merlion, we are barred from using the tandem rigging by the very people who are the supposed to champion the cause of rowing. On water, we ended up fighting each other and the boat nearly ran aground. I know and Coach know how tandem rigging could harness all the crews strength and minimise our weakness. Sigh!

I was heartbroken after that, and not long after that, I lost interest. I hurt my knee and lower back. I was disillusioned. I might not be thinking long enough about my decision to quit. If I had talked to Coach it could be different. The rest they say, is history. It could have a different outcome if we are allowed to row with tandem rigging at Merlion 2001.

I am an ex-rower. Even if, I am 'afraid' of water (and can't really swim)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Today, it was raining heavily on my way to work. Good thing that I only planned to cycle on alternate days, so I'm driving to work today. The rain became heavier as I reached SJK, and visibility was low. So, its slow driving then.

Suddenly I saw one car with the hazard lights flashing, moving quite slowly. Hazard lights are used to warn other motorist of possible danger, be it a stalled car on the emergency lane or some other emergency, and I don't think (I could be wrong) that car in particular are having any problem other than just being slow.

Except maybe, the driver is unsure of herself driving in such condition, and wanted to warn everybody that she is not that good a driver (yet). stay away! Its just misleading, unfortunately. If in doubt, just switch on your lights so other drivers could see you from either the front or the back.

So, if you are NOT in any hazardous situation, do not use the hazard lights. Aiyoh!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Irnie & Rizan

On Sunday, I went to Sijangkang for Irnie's wedding reception. Some of her colleagues had went earlier, so I tagged along with her boss, big, his family and another carload of colleagues. As I had been to her house before, I was designated unofficial navigator.

We moved out at a quarter after noon, and it was a smooth drive. The map on her invitation card is straightforward enough, even though the usual noticeboard by the roadside was absent. Unfortunately, the small kampong road make it hard for cars to pass especially when some people indiscriminately park on both the roadside.

The theme was green (hmm..) and we arrived well before the 'bersanding' ceremony, and Irnie was resplendent in her green Javanese inspired outfit. But for me, as usual, the food first :) The spread was good, especially the roast chicken (freshly roasted), the 'gulai ikan masin dengan nenas' matched with salted eggs. And, not to forget, the 'pecal'. And the 'kudap-kudap'. And the tapai.

The groom look handsome in his green outfit (minus the sarong, as he wore 'seluar melayu'), and both of them look 'sama cantik, sama padan'. Anyway, the group manage to snap some pictures with the bride and groom just before we make our way back after the delicious lunch. Thank you again Irnie for the goodie bags.

Tahniah kepada pasangan pengantin baru, Irnie & Rizan :) Semoga kalian berdua akan berbahagia hingga akhir hayat, dan dikurniakan ramai cahayamata...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

When Fat-me meet Scotty

We go back a few years, Fat-me and Scotty.

When I first ran into Scotty, he was just lying there, incomplete. He's missing a handlebar (luckily the shifter is still intact) while the fork and the front tire is without trace. Some parts of the drivetrain needs to be replaced, as with the front brake.

Asked aaj, if its possible for me to rebuild it as in its current state, it would be of no use to other people, except to be cannibalized for parts, which would be a sad ending. aaj says its OK (its either I twisted his hand, or I sweet talk him to give permission), so painstakingly it was rebuilt.

Sourced parts from Bro Amir's place, Scotty slowly became complete. Repaired the handlebar, upgraded the fork to a carbon one (it absorbs the vibration better) and rebuilt the front tire, with a new rim and hub. FD and crankset were next, and Bro Amir gives me one of his old brake calipers to complete the assemble.

Once rebuilt, Scotty became one of my choice of transport. With aaj, Man and some other people, we rode on weekdays and weekends. There is this stretch of road, in front of the faculty which would see all of us sprinting furiously towards the end of a workout for the bragging right till the next workout. Or the long hill which preceded a fast descent near Kinabalu. Or a 5 hour weekend ride to the airport and back.

Fast forward mid 2008, lets ride again Scotty...

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Express Lane is for...

...less that ten items.

Most hypermarket would have a few counters that caters for customers who have less than ten items to pay called the express lane. So, me and you, who just buy a few items would not be queuing behind the 'makciks' that have two trolley full of groceries, tv, foodstuffs, and everything under the sun.

A few days back I was at one of these markets and were just going to pay for 5 items when i realised that the lane I'm in is not moving. Luckily the next (normal) lane is opening, so some of us moved across. 

Hmm, as i was waiting to pay, only then I realised, that the so called express lane is being held up by a 'makcik' with her trolley full of items to pay. Aiyoh, its already written in BOLD there that it is an express lane AND only for ten items or less. But the makcik (and hubby) acts nonchalantly, treating the lane as if its a normal lane.

Whats so hard to understand about 'express lane'? Some people are just plain inconsiderate (and clueless?)

Friday, July 04, 2008

I huff and huff, and puff and puff...

Okay, this morning ride to office was good, other than the fact that I broke a spoke on my front wheel and close to being chased by a dog. I thought that in all likeliness I most probably will break a spoke in the rear wheel, due to I'm being 11kg heavier than when I'm uni, but apparently while going downhill the (extra) weights are actually over the front wheel. So, I broke a spoke, but arrived safely at the office.

By the way, i rode alone today as CH had something else to do, and suggested we ride together on Monday. Sure, no problem. Felt good arriving early in office, take my bath and starts to work. Little do I know that getting home would require slightly more than hard work.

I took a different route home, knowingly over undulating terrain. That is an understatement. I was tortured in the early part of the trip, and tortured I was. I even need to use the biggest gear, to get over one steep 800m strip, a 4.5% gradient. I almost slowed down to 6kmh at the top. That just show what terrible shape I am currently in.

All in, it took me 45 mins to be home, just in time to rush my front wheel to the bike shop :)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Lets ride then...

I've always wanted to cycle to work, but always finding excuses not to do it. From the distance (I live 20km away from office), the weather (it is still dark at 7am) or I need to run some errands later while in office, so the idea stays as that, just an idea.

I used to cycle to uni from home, a 36km trip 72km return) a few times a week a couple years back. My weekends usually filled with long rides, most of the time alone, up to 120km, say, from home to the airport and back, so i know its doable but its easier to find excuse not to do it now, hehe.

The recent price hike might be the push needed to take up cycling again, to work out and as a way to commute to work. So, when I ran into a colleague, CH, cycling to work a few days back (who stays near where i live), its only natural for me to jump on the bandwagon (or rather onto my saddle).

So after thinking about it, rather than cycle daily to work (eventually i plan to do that), lets start with cycling on alternate days, ie Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and try to have one long recovery workout over the weekend. That seems doable for the next few month.

So, lets go cycling then :)

The (heavy burden of) responsibility

An interesting news, even MSN picks it up as newsworthy :)

"Malaysian man finally wins nod for fourth wife: report

A Malaysian odd-job man with 18 children has finally won permission to take a fourth wife, after being knocked back repeatedly because of his low income, reports said Tuesday.

A judge in the conservative northern state of Terengganu finally relented after being convinced that the new wife, 34-year-old Suzi Sulong, was truly in love with Mohamed Nor Awang, who is 16 years her senior, The Star daily said.

"To be frank with you, before this proceeding, I met your future wife and her family and urged them to look for another candidate as you already have three wives," Judge Sheikh Ahmad Ismail Hakim said in the Islamic sharia court.

"But Suzi told me that no man could replace you in her heart," he reportedly said.

Mohamed, 51, already has 18 children with his first three wives -- who consented to the new match.

His appeal to the court to marry again had been rejected three times previously as his 3,000-ringgit (937-dollar) monthly income from doing odd jobs was ruled as insufficient to support such a large family.

"But your three wives told the court they are willing to help each other out (financially), which shows there is cooperation among them," Sheikh Ahmad reportedly said."

Well, it does raise some eyebrow whenever this kind of news hit the headline, doesn't it? A few weeks back, another man was granted permission to take a fourth wife, but the land broker is able to prove that he earns 20K per month, and presents each of his three wives, a house and a car.

The issue of polygamy has always been misunderstood, with most women are against it, citing it is unfair to the women, while some men would think that its a privilege accorded to them by God to have wives more than one. But IMHO, the most important lesson forgotten by all, is that polygamy is NOT a privilege, its responsibility.

Some men forgot that they are shouldering a heavy responsibility upon taking another wife, and its not to be taken lightly. Responsibility in this world, and the next and they will be asked about it. That is the really sad thing, to see families broken,and children neglected. Its a heavy responsibility, no matter if you earn 20K or just three thousand dollars :)

What love has to do with it?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Its not a yellow box for nothing

As I was driving back today, I was reminded of another one of my peeves. Those who do not give one (or two) hoot about the (traffic) yellow box, and stopped in the box without any consideration (or guilt) for other people.

HELLO! You are prohibited to stop in the yellow box as to not obstruct traffic, be it at an intersection, traffic lights or where flow of traffic are not to be hindered. So, it pisses me off when my path are blocked by another car which idiotically stopped in the yellow box even if the yellow box is supposed to be kept clear.

The best things is, dah la buat salah, lepas tu buat-buat pandang depan pulak as if orang tak nampak dia dalam kereta tu. What do you actually hope to achieve in the yellow box? Buat marah dek orang je. Aiyoh!!

Next time, please respect other people's right of way and not just think of your selfish self.

As we step forward...

After waiting for almost a year, we finally welcome the newest addition to The Centre. Over the years, we lost four experienced staff, with the latest casualty, in late April after an unsuccessful negotiation.

While turnover of staffs are nothing new in any organization, the 'lost of expertise' by the departure of highly experienced staffs are something The Center could do without. In all, between them, they have almost 25 years of experience.

In meeting the new staffs, they are encouraged to speak up, not be afraid to ask questions and share their thoughts. While the current education system do not seem conducive to proactive learning, I do think some of our youngsters just need a push in the right direction.

Hopefully we can instill in the new staffs a culture of high performance, whether in service, research (which I need to be more involved in rather than administration) and learning (from our expert colleagues) while they are here, while pursuing this field as a career and not just as a job.

To the new addition to The Center, WELCOME ABOARD!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

M.U.D.S 2008

MUDS is back.

A few years back, when I was in Uni, I use to participate in a few sporting activities, either recreationally or internationally (rowing, that is). I would love to do triathlons, but the sheer knowledge that I cannot swim put that aspiration on hold.

So as an alternative, I started to do duathlons. Its basically triathlons without swimming, with two running leg and a bike leg in between. Malakoff used to organise these series either as an open series or university ones, but it was scaled down in the recent years to only the Powerman series (which I'm not fit enough to be in).

So when I open my email today and there are announcement that Malakoff is starting its duathlon series (albeit a university ones), the heart started pumping again. And as it also open for public, its time to bring out The Bike again, and clean all the cobwebs. This year MUDS is to be held at The National Uni on the 19th, my alma mater the week after and National Defence Uni the following weekend. And maybe continued till Powerman?

So Coach, feel like riding a duathlon again? Jom la. Hmm, just where do I put my helmet?

Sometimes the best solution...

In the morning, as I make my way to office, usually the traffic will resemble a crawl at one specific intersection. For two weeks, I need to wake up at 6am as the jam would require me to be on my way to office before 7am.

My first impression of the jam is that, its most probable cause is due by the sheer high volume of office/school bound vehicle, and the 'inconsiderate queue cutters' who have no consideration whatsoever for other people, as if ONLY their time is valuable. 

A two lane road somehow became three at the traffic light, while additional vehicle from housing estate make the lanes became four (mostly five) car wide after the traffic light, and within 100m, the cars would need to weave into one single lane going down the hill to another traffic light. 

Somehow after the second traffic light, its usually a clear drive to town. Anyway, my assumption that the high volume + inconsiderate drivers are THE cause of the traffic jam was squashed one day when I experienced an easy drive to office. it made me thinking, what actually caused the traffic jam in the first place?

The next day, I realised that its not the high volume of cars that actually caused the gridlock, its the traffic light down the road. The lights only allow a few cars pass each time, which do not tally with the high number of car driving through. So, the best solution is to station a policeman to manually direct traffic (and let more cars through from my direction)

So, for the past two weeks, it has been an easy morning drive to office. So, at times, the best solution might not be the most obvious choice.