I would like to wish all those who are celebrate it a very happy new year and may the Dog bring much prosperity and good fortune. Heck, I could use some of that.
Today I thought about writing a ranty, woe-is-me post about the generation gap and how people from one generation to the next are hopelessly out of touch from each others' reality and how parents always assume that everything wrong in this world is the fault of their children and how they seem to always wish they had other people's kids and bla bla bitty bla.
But I won't. There is so much bile out there in the blogosphere these days, so I'm not going to add to it. Much.
Suffice for me to say, older people like to think they got all the answers. Older people like to think that they got it sorted out, that if there was a misunderstanding or disagreement, it has to be some kids fault. God forbid if older people are wrong. Especially parents.
It's always the kids fault. If the kid expresses an opinion different from the parent or tries to defend him/herself from a wrongful accusation or expresses dissatisfaction with treatment, the kid is "bad". Derhaka. Kurang ajar.
Older people have been around longer, so obviously this must mean that everything that they do or say is the absolute manifestation of correctness, right? It's very simple. Older = wiser = correct.
At least, that is what conventional wisdom would have us believe. What do I think?
Age is a good agent of wisdom no doubt, what with the advantage of being around longer and having seen more things. Of course it's not so simple is it? The world changes and the world 20 years ago can be very different from the world now. That means some of this "wisdom" is in fact, out of date.
So, the conclusion is, older folks can be as clueless about life and the world as kids are. And vice versa. We are all in the same confusing boat, and yet we can't seem to find a way to talk to each other about it. Instead, we get all this fighting and arguing and finger pointing.
It's always someone else's fault, is it?
I'm not saying that younger people should be confrontational and rude to elders. I'm just saying that it isn't always youth who make mistakes and who are derhaka and kurang ajar. Sometimes, older people mess up too. That bullshit about older people always being wiser and always being right is just that, bullshit.
Of course, I don't think our parents would agree to that now would they?
This is something we should all think about, especially those of us who are about to have our own families. Let's not forget that we were once young and misunderstood too.
I suddenly think that maybe the fact that I got so much again authority figures is one good reason why I shouldn't have my own kids. I think I would make a crap dad. Maybe that is why I was apparently born without the requisite skills to find a mate and procreate?
Maybe that's a good thing. Who knows? But today's post isn't about me.
On a lighter note, I was looking around my blog roll and I rediscovered the delightful Computer Stupidities website. It's so much fun. Anyone who works in tech support would love some of the stories here.
I love websites that make fun of people's lack of mental capacity. And there are links to other sites that showcase dumbness and stupidity as well.
Laughing at dumb people. Mean spirited? Yes. Politically incorrect? You betcha. Barrel of laughs? Of course.
And talking about dumb, I bring you Chronicles of George. If you work in an office and you think your colleagues are morons, you ain't seen nothing yet. Read this and make sure you all know the moral of the story.
I think the moral is something along the lines of,"Don't smoke crack!"
I also update my blog roll with some nice new blogs. Go and read them.
That's it for now. Have a great Chinese New Year. I'll see ya.
Out of curiosity, I bought a copy of Heroes of The Pacific. It's an aerial combat simulator game set in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War 2.
Or to be more precise, "simulator". Not even close. It's an arcade shooter, not a simulator.
I love it though. Historically inaccurate, difficult controls, crap joystick support, but I love it. It's so much fun.
What I do like about it is the graphics, which is great. The plane models look very, very good. Ground features are well done, with good detail level on fround objects like airfields, parked planes and anti-aircraft guns.
I also like the fact that I can play this thing by just using a mouse. It's a little wonky though, and I don't like the fact that I can't seem to roll the plane I'm flying. I can only turn left/right. No yawing and no rolling. Which prevents me from pulling some of my favourite air combat manuevers (barrel rolls, yo-yos, etc).
I like the very long campaign. I like most of all the fact that the game is very simple and a relative no-brainer while being reasonably action packed.
The greatest idea would probably be if someone took the graphics engine and used it to make a proper WW2 flight sim. The engine is great. Good detail without loss of frame rates. So everything looks pretty and fast at the same time.
The last mission I played was at Midway where I have to bomb the Japanese cruiser Mikuma. Unfortunately, I screwed up when I forgot to attach bombs to my Wildcat. Duh.
Speaking of cat, our cat Ning will be one year old soon. I speculate that she was born sometime in February 2005. She's very healthy and slightly spoilt. And slightly crazed. Especially when there are house lizards around.
And speaking of cats again, Kenny Sia wrote a great post about Kuching. A really good and quite accurate post.
Ah yes, Kuching and it's people. One thing about Kuchingites is that we tend to be fiercely proud of this little city of ours. Outsiders might find the unusually fierce loyalty rather unsettling.
But, that's normal for us. What can I say, Kuchingites love their town. And why shouldn't we?
One of the things that I sometimes hear from visitors is that Kuching is....well, dull as a table lamp. Well,..... they're right.
It IS dull as a table lamp, if you're talking about entertainment and nightlife. There isn't much. Don't come to Kuching for nightlife. Unless you like karaokes.
Kuching isn't shiny and energetic like some other places in Malaysia. It isn't the most modern place in the world either. Some visitors might feel like it's a little backwards looking in places. It isn't the most well organized city on the planet. Some might feel that the city is kind of haphazard in places.
That's why it's so great over here. The charm of Kuching town (I still prefer this term to Kuching City) is that it isn't any of those things. Kuching is nice not inspite of it's old schoolness and general lack of contempary character, but because of it. If Kuching ever gains the size and character of KL with it's skyscrapers, billions of people (and cars), sprawling suburbia (this is beginning to happen, actually) and shopping malls the size of the pyramids of Giza, then we should just change it's name. It just wouldn't feel "right" if that ole small town feel is gone.
That's Kuching alright. A city that doesn't quite feel like one, yet.
So, if a visitor is looking for somewhere tranquil and languid (and safe) to relax and have some peace and quiet, Kuching is the right place to be. Don't come expecting excitement and glitz and glamour and things like that. You won't find it and Kuching will suck ass.
Go to Singapore instead.
Finally, a colleague of mine has an interesting insight to Kuching. She's from Ipoh and has worked and live all over the world. She feels that in comparison to all the places she's been, Kuching is a great place to bring up children and start a family.
A few days ago, I found Pet Shop Boys' Very album on Torrentspy. A long, long time ago, I used to own this album. I think I still do, the cassette is around here somewhere. Anyway, I'm glad. This album is now impossible to find in Kuching.
I recently found a lot of things that are no longer available, either because they are out of print, or because they are now banned now. Thank goodness for the Internet.
I'm very pleased with some of my finds.
The new Yellowcard album is very good as well. It's playing right now.
This is usually the time I talk about piracy and bla bla bla. I'm not going to. I just woke up and I don't feel like being too serious yet.
Last night Rin was at the house, like she is a lot of times. Right now, I suddenly realized that many of our conversations would make excellent blog posts, especially the ones where we talk about people and how they relate to each other. Why some people behave the way they do and what makes them say the things they do. That kind of stuff.
I've had a miserable history when it comes to women and relationships, but I did gain one thing from all that misery. I think they call it perspective.
Unfortunately, I think that's why I'm so defensive these days. I could no longer fall so freely. Everything has a price I guess, including experience and wisdom.
Only divine intervention can make me risk falling for someone again. I'm pretty sure. Either that, or someone very, very persistent.
Since that is a lot to ask for, it's a good thing I no longer hold my breath when things like that are concerned. It might take a long time if it happens at all.
Once bitten, twice shy. Cliched, but true.
CNY is coming along soon. For me, that means extra work and I expect to be quite busy starting from now until the middle of February.
Look at that, I'm talking about February already.
Later, I will go out and see what new games are out and reload my phone.
I watched Lord of War recently. Brilliant. Go and watch it.
It was quite intriguing. It's not every day you watch a movie about the secret life of gunrunners.
I did some reading and according to the stuff I read in Wikipedia, it's possible that this movie is at least in part, inspired by the exploits of Victor Bout. Very interesting. Even more interesting is the fact that the Pentagon used Bout to source equipment for the new Iraqi Army.
I'm not going to elaborate. Go and read the article, especially if you are Malaysian. It's important to know things like this. I wonder if they teach this in school?
I don't think so. Anyway, I'm not going to talk about that. Maybe some other time.
One thing though, there is an error in the article. There is a section that says,"Under Mahathir, quotas for entry into public universities were enforced, with some universities such as Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) admitting only Malay students." (emphasis added by me).
That should read only Bumiputera students.
Privately, I think it's due time that UiTM do away with this. I don't buy the excuse that if UiTM opens its doors to students of other races, this will somehow undermine Bumiputeras. This argument doesn't make sense anymore.
Then again, a lot of times we hear the government say things like this. Things that perpetuate fear and paranoia among Bumiputeras, infering that if they don't watch themselves, the "evil" non-Bumis will take everything away again.
Come on, this is impossible. Who holds the government? Some politicians still play that "the Bumiputera races are oppressed and poor" ticket. Let's ask a very interesting and potentially difficult question,"If Bumiputeras are still oppressed, disadvantaged and poor, who is doing the oppressing? Who has the advantage? Who holds the wealth?"
Again, who controls the government?
I say they should look into modifying the NEP and other affirmative action programs to concentrate less on race and more on social conditioning. For example, there are so many Indian Malaysians who live under the poverty line. Who's going to help them? The government can, and should do more for them.
Malaysia is a funny country like that. All this talk and bluster about integration and unity and we still have stuff like NEP looming over our heads.
I'm a Bumiputera. A Dayak. A country bumpkin from Sarawak, a supposedly backwards, backwater state from Borneo. If some politicians are to be believed, there is no way in hell that I could compete with my allegedly superior and more capable Chinese friends when it comes to school, jobs etc. At least not with things like subsidies and quotas and things like that.
I could compete and I did. And I did it with almost no help from the powers that be. Quota or no quota, my SPM results were good enough for me to walk into any local university (and some foreign ones, if not for the lack of funds). At work, I'm as good as anyone here, maybe better.
I didn't need no extra help and I guarantee you that many indigenous Bumiputeras don't need help also.
I say, help poor people. Not just poor Bumiputera people.
I know, I sound really naive. But that's just me being idealistic. Having said that, some things are changing. Certain things are beginning to shift. For example, recently people in the government have noticed that the Chinese and Indians don't want to be cops and soldiers and civil servants. The numbers don't add up. Nearly half the country is made up of non-Muslims and non-Bumiputera but the breakdown in civil service doesn't reflect that.
They see something wrong here. At least they see. Maybe they'll even ask why. Whether anything will be done about this is something else.
We'll just have to see. In the mean time, we'll just have to make sure we don't accidentally vote hardcore racists into power. They are enough of those around already anyway.
I was lost. And then I found my way again. Life without internet isn't very fun.
You see, I arrived home on Thursday morning, booted up my PC and tried to surf. Error. Website not found. Try again. Same thing.
That's when I noticed that my connection icon has an X over it. Funny, my UTP cable is connected and the lights show activity. Still no joy. I disable and reenable the network card. It disappears from my device manager. Gone. Poof.
My NIC is dead. Kicked the bucket. Bit the dust. Oh no!! No internet!! Oh teh horror!!!
I got a new one now, a DLINK one. Slightly more expensive, but more confidence boosting. I like DLINK products. Very cool. My router is DLINK too. When my modem explodes, I will replace it with a DLINK one.
DLINK good.... Buy DLINK for all your networking needs. Not as expensive as 3COM, but works just as well.
I might want to get new UTP cables too. My current ones are ratty ones which I took from the scrap bin at the office.
While I had no net, I Diabloed, so not so bad. My necromancer has too many minions, very hard to monitor all of them. I keep losing track. And like in real life, gas is good for crowd control.
Just now, I was at Jalan Song with some friends. On the way back I saw that cute chick who used to work at Great Kitchen. She greeted me quite enthuastically. "Long time no see!! I work here now!!" said she.
Funny. When she worked at GK, she never greeted me at all....
Maybe next week, I go back there and drink beer with her. Heeheee....
Tommorow, I work.... Boo....
Current Music - Misteri Mimpi Syakilla, Wings, Hukum Karma
Last week, Azreen, Soph and Justina were in my car on the way to Jambu when Soph remarked that the car felt kinda heavy. She was right. The car felt heavier than usual. The next day I went to work and when I got off work, I noticed that my left rear tire was flatter than the others. I went to a gas station to get some air in there. Seemed to be ok. I arrived home, I asked my dad about the place he usually gets tires from. I thought maybe the tire needed replacement.
Later, he took out the car on an errand and apparently found time to go to the tire place to have it checked. They extracted a two-inch nail from the tire.
Fortunately for me, it only cost five bucks to fix the tire. I checked that tire before and yet I didn't see anything. The next time I need to do tire inspection, I'm taking out the jack.
Now the car feels like what it normally feels like. And talking about that, I need to save money for March. That's when my auto insurance expires.
That, I think, was the most interesting thing that happened to me last week. We also went to Mojo to have wine. Great selection they got and well priced. I honestly thought that it was going to be one of those overpriced posh winebars. Happily for us, it wasn't.
The only gripe I have is the usual gripe I have with many hang out joints in Kuching. The noise level was a little too high. At least they didn't play horrible feng tau music. I heard a very interesting cover version of New Order's True Faith, done by a female vocalist. Does anyone know who the singer(s) might be? It was a slow, acoustic track.
I actually thought that it was Blue Monday I was mistaken. It was True Faith. Great song by a great band. Brought back a lot of memories. When it comes to favourite New Order songs, True Faith is 3rd behind Bizarre Love Triangle and Regret. Regret is awesome. One of my all time favourite songs ever. I also like 1963.
Funny band New Order, kind off obscure (especially around here), yet very influential at the same time.
I really need to remove the excess junk from my room. I've saying this for so long. I really, really need to do something about this. I have the weekend free so I'll see what I can do. I suppose I could throw everything out by the roadside for the garbagemen to pick up, but a lot of it is old computer equipment and it doesn't feel right somehow.
Still playing Diablo 2. Still fun, at least for now. Playing five different characters, all power-levelling with the very useful /players8 setting. Players8 emulates an 8 player multiplayer game, so all the stuff in the game reflects that. It makes the game a lot harder but it generates more experience points per kill. Therefore I gain level faster. Cool that.
This time round, I will try to go on and play Nightmare difficulty. All this while I've been playing Diablo 2, I've never had the guts to play Nightmare for very long. I think it's the XP penalty when my character gets killed that's scaring me. Never mind, I'll try this time. And maybe if I finish Nightmare, I will try Hell difficulty. This is highly unlikely.
Diana called me this afternoon. That was very funny. I had just woken up from sleep when my phone rang. It was her and she told me she's got a nephew (or was that niece) who games and wants to give away some gaming magazine. She passes the phone to him/her. This is when my memory fails me. I don't remember what I said. I hope I didn't say anything stupid. That's how I'm like fresh out of bed. Or maybe I'm just getting old. Maybe both.
Tomorrow, I'm off work. I plan to enjoy it and maybe go and look for DVDs or something. And of course, play Diablo 2.
First, that whole Black Metal thing and now...... anime is porn!! Yay for Malaysian sensationalistic journalism!
It's very disturbing isn't it? This is proof that some reporters/journalists never do any real research. Like the guy who is responsible for this story, why didn't he ask what anime was if he was unsure. Why didn't he go on the net to look for info? Bloody hell man, what the hell is Wikipedia for?
No wait, maybe he can't go on the net because he doesn't know how to use a search engine. Maybe he can't speak English? Maybe even both.
I shake my head. If our newspapers can't deliver accurate information anymore, what good are they for (aside from providing me with laughs and blogging fodder)? In the back of my head, I suddenly feel like it's another attempt by conservative media to hunt down youth again. I'm probably just being paranoid. Or am I?
Anyhow, I hope some other, more discerning journalists can write a counter-piece soon. Before the government does something stupid like censoring Dragonball or Doraemon. Poor Doraemon, looks like someone wants to ban him....
I shake my head. Isn't it obvious, even in 2006, some people are still frighteningly out of touch with modern life and modern culture? It might be okay if that person was living in a longhouse or kampung in the mountains with no running water, no electricity and no road access. It isn't if you live in KL.
I know, the guy who wrote the article might not know what anime is. That's fine. Why didn't he do any research before shooting his mouth of and publishing that story on the front page? That's not fine. How can you not know the difference between hentai and other anime genres? Ok maybe not knowing that is also fine. How come no research?
And what was his editor doing?
In short, not knowing something is fine. Not knowing something and not bothering to do research and ask questions and publishing a story based on that lack of knowledge is NOT fine.
If I owned Kosmo, I'd be issuing show cause letters right about now...
And by the way, read this quote from Jeff Ooi's post on the matter:-
"So, what KOSMOS! printed on its frontpage and Page 3 yesterday -- that animation with sex is popularly called anime -- is factually incorrect, and very misleading. It's like saying movies with hardcore sex is popularly called movies."
I love computer games. But a lot of the games I play are pretty exhausting, requiring thought, split second decision making skills, tactical awareness and good hand-eye coordination. Once in a while it's nice to have a totally brainless game where I can switch my brain to autopilot mode.
That's why I've reinstalled Diablo 2 Lord of Destruction again. Good, wholesome, brainless fun. Unfortunately, I don't remember where I put all my old Diablo 2 characters. Meaning I have to start new ones again.
What fun! ClickClickClickClickClickClickClickClickClickClickClickClick..... That's it. No thinking required.
I seem to go through this Diablo 2 phase every year. Hmm, I wonder if there's a name for this condition.
In other happenings, I'm going to work this evening. This month is going to be quite hard. My colleague's wife is going to give birth this month which means he will take some time of work, which means I'll be working extra days. I hope the extra money is worth it.
January's been pretty good so far. So far, I don't feel like it's going to be draggy and long like other Januaries. So far, it hasn't felt like a month full of Mondays. A good change from the norm I have to say.
In yet more news, I've ordered an original copy of Call of Duty 2 from Gamers.com.my. It will cost RM154 plus freight (USD40.50). Quite reasonable. They don't have stock yet so I need to wait. I want to play online so I need a legit copy. Maybe I should order a copy of Diablo 2 also? It's such a good game. The makers deserve the money. I'll think about it.
So many of my friends play online. About time I see for myself what the hype is all about.
I like James Blunt. His music is brilliant. Not bad for a former Kosovo peacekeeper and Sandhurst graduate. It's quite refreshing to come across good pop music. Most pop nowadays is not very good at all. It's probably me being old.
Oddly enough, so far I have not had the urge to sacrifice goats, rape babies, vandalise public buildings, defile religious literature or other unsavoury acts. In fact, the only violent impulse I have now is to drag members of the moral police and some journalists to an abandoned building and summarily execute them. I wonder why? Oh yes, it must be this violent music that I'm listening to. I'm Malaysian therefore I am easily influenced by everything I hear/watch/read. *Rolls eyes*
I read the paper today, and I saw the news yesterday about that so-called "Black Metal" bust on new year's eve. Or is that supposed to be "Black Mental". This is actually old news. Other bloggers have written about this here and here and I'm sure in other places.
By the way, grindcore isn't black metal. Neither is punk, old school or otherwise. And death metal isn't satanism either. Neither is speed metal, power metal, industrial or thrash.
It's very easy to read up on things like this. Just go to Wikipedia. Oh, wait, Wikipedia is a western creation and therefore immoral, probably. *Rolls eyes again.
I'm not going to specifically write about the raid itself, or the ongoing smear campaign run by the media targeting our "lost", "irresponsible" youth. Lots of things have been written about that.
I'm going to write about ignorance and apathy.
The powers that be in the government do not give a shit about young people. They do not care about what they think. No one in power gives a damn about why young people do the things they do.
Young people are bad. If they had it their way, they would herd everyone within the school age and throw them in religious schools to make exact carbon copies of their conservative, oppressive, narrow minded, ignorant selves.
Fortunately, this practice is very passe and unfashionable nowadays. Lucky for us.
Youth are the perfect segment of society for targeted persecution. Youth has no voice, so they can't say anything. Unlike hardcore criminals or the corrupt, youth can't fight back. If they try, it's easy to rubbish their attempts. It is very easy to potray youth as fucked up, lost, subversive. Just ask the mainstream media.
Why do I say things like these? Because it's true. If anyone cared enough, someone would've taken some time to read up on youth subculture or more importantly, go down to schools and malls and other hangouts to actually ask them. If youth was worthy of respect, someone in power would've asked them what they thought about things that affect them directly, like education and freedom of expression.
The media could've done their part to explain what the musical underground is really about. They failed and instead led the "youth is bad" chorus line.
No one in power cares. Young people are to be whipped and brainwashed, not listened to. End of discussion.
I watched the news yesterday. I watched some people try to defend their rights to make music and play them live. I saw how some other people rubbish and shoot down their opinions. I shake my head.
Futile attempts. No one will listen to young people. Everything we do is wrong. No one gives a shit.
However, there is a slighly less dark side to all this crap.
The underground thrives on persecution. The more the powers that be comes down on them, the more it will push back. The more this keeps up, the stronger it will become. I saw that when I was a kid in school and it'll happen again.
The conservatives think they'll win. But they forget. They will die one day and the young will inherit their world.
So keep playing that metal and screw them all.
Current Music - Enslaved by Propaganda - Terrorizer, World Downfall
For once in my 32 going on 33 years, I bring in the new year with totally no regret whatsoever. In 2005, I did not do or say anything that would haunt me for the rest of my life.
For once, I managed to walk the minefield of life without blowing my limbs off.
At least I hope not. I hope I didn't hurt anyone permanently or caused any kind of damage. I most certainly hope I didn't unknowingly sow the seeds of doom that will come back to bite me when I try to do things in the future. I can't help it, I have this feeling that I messed up something somewhere. Those mistakes are the worse ones, the ones you can't see.
Trepidation and some anxiety. Not the best way to face a new year yes?
That's the thing. With me, you just can't be sure. You cannot know. There is no way to tell whether the Fates has had enough of making me a laughing stock. I cannot say I won't torpedo myself by making a potentially fatal mistake. So I brace myself for storm and strife. Outside and inside. Anyway....
2005 was a good year. I'm grateful for that. I fixed a lot of damage. I changed, I think and I hope it's not just me being delusional. I rallied and straightened myself out. I learnt not to wholly depend on others' opinions to evaluate myself. I learnt to be comfortable with being alone and single. A little too comfortable maybe.
There is still so much more to repair. So much more things to learn and get right. Heh, I should've been here 10 years ago while I was in my prime. But, no matter. Water under bridge.
I have made resolutions before. Most of the time I keep them to myself and as usual with these things, I never see them through. Except the last couple of years. I'm happy about that.
And so this year, I want to be a little nicer. I want to be able to control my reactions to my own emotions better instead of the other way around. This year, I want to continue to look outwards instead of looking inwards. I want to do well at work and to continue to stay out of trouble.
I want to open up again to the possibility of relationship. This is going to be difficult to do. I've grown too defensive, too accustomed to shutting my self down the minute I get curious about it. I want to be brave enough to take chances again. I want to be able to risk getting blown to pieces and shot down in flames without spiralling into the pits of depression.
This, at the current moment is nigh on impossible for me to even contemplate. Pain is a hard thing to face. But I have it written down here and maybe that will push me in the right direction. Or is that the wrong direction?
2006 should be an interesting year. Here's to hoping it will be.