Monday, December 15, 2008

God Bless the Relatives

Apparently, my family has some contacts here in Oz. That's freaking brilliant.

So far the farm work is ok but I'm together with these bunch of Nepalese lads who work soooo fast they make me look bad.

Therefore, I'm going to have to use my ace card sooner rather than later. Hopefully my contacts here can set me up with less... manual work. I'm already thinking about May onwards. That's winter and there will be less available work in the countryside.

By the way, I'm not working today. I'm working tomorrow. It rained the last 2 days so I only managed to work half a day. That's the other thing I'm concerned about. If I can work indoors I don't have to worry about weather.

I'm ok so far but unfortunately I can't say the same for the other lads. Some of them have a lot of trouble adjusting and my roomie does nothing but whine about working conditions and the uncertainty of living out of hotel rooms.

To think they all thought I was the one who would be in trouble...

Anyway, I'm still in survival mode and the escape plan is still in effect. So no worries.

Oz is a beautiful country especially now in the summer.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

We're not in Kansas anymore...

Finally.... a PC with internet connection. I don't have much time. 15 minutes for 2 bucks.

Sounds expensive right? Actually not really.

I have a ton of things to say actually. But for now a status update.

I'm in Tumba Rumba, a small (think Serian) town not far from Sydney. Yeah, we travel a long way. That's the life of the contract farm worker. We go where the work is. For now it's apples in Batlow, another small town in the highlands. Nice place.

Over the last few days, I've been to places not many people see. It's gorgeous out here in the countryside. Not unlike living in a postcard.

We stayed at Wood Wood for a few days, not far from the place where out train from Melbourne stopped at Swan Hill. Two days ago, our super scored a deal with Batlow apples to do thinning. 2 bucks per tree. I've done 100+ over the last 2 days.

The heat? What heat? Cold we got plenty of that. A ton of people have been telling me to watch out for the hear but seriously, it's got nothing on the heat we get back home.

Anyway, I've lots more to tell actually. It's ok so far but there are some things I'm not very happy about. Nothing to do with Oz or anything like that. The guy who fixed us up in Kuching left out a lot of details about working in Oz. A LOT of details. Made adjusting very hard.

Still, I'm here and I'm going to try and update as much as possible

Until then please take care and have a good summer.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008


The people from the oil rig called just now.

In my entire life, I have never had to reject a job offer. I feel bad. I feel especially bad for that mate of mine who no doubt really wanted me to join him there. We had some good times in Sibu. I really, really hope I can see him again when my Oz thing is done.

Anyway, my bro has a job waiting for him now. I gave his phone number to the rig people and there are probably thrashing out a deal as we speak. Those guys need GOC, TBOSIET and computer literacy. No probs for my bro.

The job's right there for the taking. It's all up to him now whether he takes it or not.

I hope he does.

Monday, December 01, 2008

When it Rains it Pours,,

The date is set. I'm going off on the 6th. Everything's taken cared off and now I just need to pack my stuff. I'm going to miss my PC a lot since it's powerful and has lots of cool stuff in it. Well, not so much now since my graphics card overheated and died a few days ago...

It's as if it knew no one is going to game on this PC for the next year and a half.

At least I still have a notebook. I wonder if I can get wifi where I'm going.

Anyway, here's a story.

You know sometimes I think fate loves to mess with people. This morning I got a phone call from a mate I was with when I took my GOC course. Guess what? Yet another job offer for me on a rig.

All that time I was lounging about the last few months, nothing happened. Now that I'm about to go off and work, job offers come pouring in. This is the second one I got in the last month.

Talk about selection headache. Sometimes, I feel like going outside and curse the sky. Better not because when I come back from Oz I might still want to go offshore. I have the certs after all. This is assuming that my grand master plan of looking for better work in Oz doesn't work out.

If that's the case, then I hope job offers will still be available then. It's always good to have a backup.

It's not all bad though. When these people call me tomorrow to ask whether I want to take up the offer, I'll going to pass them my youngest brother's contact number. The boy just completed his safety course two weeks ago, all his papers are in order and he's all set to go. I hope they take him. That way the household need not worry about money anymore.

I just hope I'll do well when I go.

Monday, November 24, 2008


It's hard to blog when I'm finding it hard to think straight. Everything has ground to a halt as I wait. Wait for what will happen next.

It might be a great thing. It might be a huge mistake considering how I am and my natural affinity to things familiar. Even when those things hold nothing new for the future.

I guess that's all I have to say for now.

Meanwhile, here's a random Youtube video I stumbled on. I have no idea what the words mean but it was strangely soothing.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Sorry. I've been quite busy lately. Not that there's too much to write about anyway. Except for more computer games stuff.

I've been playing FM2009. Let me say that this is THE best PC game to come out this year. This game also has the distinction of being one of the very, very few games that I would buy original.

My FM DVD arrived on Monday evening and I've been playing it like crazy since then.

It's utterly brilliant. The new 3D match engine is fantastic and the new tactical system is both simple and complex at the same time.

I don't have enough words to describe it.

If you're a football fan, buy FM. Seriously.

In other news... There isn't any new news actually. I've been busy preparing for my trip. I had one pleasant surprise. I had planned to buy clothes and things for my trip but as it turns out I already have all those things here at home. Even cold weather gear.

Ok so they're hand-me-downs from my dads more adventurous days but considering how much they cost new these days...

So yeah, the waiting around isn't easy. A lot of crazy thoughts enter your head.

Thank goodness for FM.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Well, I guess it took more than 24 hours to follow up yesterday's post.

Anyway, I'm going off to work soon. But not offshore.

I'll be leaving for Perth, Australia very soon. Maybe in as little as ten days. I'm going to work on a farm for the next 18 months. Maybe longer if I end up liking it there.

The pay is... quite good. Provided I don't get carried away I could make a hell of a lot of money.

The last few days have been spent doing research and asking around for tips and advise about living in Western Australia.

This is a huuuge deal for me. I've never gone this far away before.

Well, let's just say things will be very different for me very soon. Very, very different.

Today I went to see the placement agency responsible for the trip to hand in my details and paperwork. Things are almost ready and after all the necessary paperwork we are ready to go. There are ten of us in this group. There is a bit of a delay because 7 out of 10 have no passports.

Another thing came up today which could be considered very bad timing. Just as I'm wrapping up the Oz trip, a Radio Operator opening appeared out of nowhere. A pretty good one too from a very reputable offshore services company.

So yeah, unfortunately this caused a bit of a tense moment at home just now. My dad isn't happy at all about me not going to sea. His reason apparently is that it's a waste of all my documents and the courses that I took. I know this. I have plans to pay this back with my Oz job.

Another thing was we got help from a relative for this RO opening. I guess the parental units didn't want to offend them by telling them immediately that I've decided to get another job.

But I have a nagging feeling there is something else behind that. I'm not going to speculate on what it is.

We asked the youngest bro to pick up this job. Hopefully he will move to get it.

That's just the thing isn't it? Such a great moment blemished by bad timing. There you go, me and the dysfunctional unit that is my family...

So why did I decide to go to Oz instead of offshore.

Why wouldn't I go?

Here I have a chance to work in a country I've never been to and earn 300% more than I could if I had stayed in Kuching. Yes, there is that question about cost of living in Perth. I have plans to deal with this. Provided I don't live large this should not be a problem. I'm a very cheap person. Go ask my friends.

The job offer includes accomodation and transport. I have to pay for this out of my pocket but it's not so high.

Minus everything including rent and other stuff I should be bringing home a good amount of cash. Even after all this plus other expenses I put in my calculations, the final number is still more than what I would be making on a rig or a barge.

Plus it's on land and it's not as dangerous. There is no risk of the strawberry/apple/tomato/pear farm going Piper Alpha on my ass.

At the end of the day, the bottom line counts. I'm doing all this for two main reasons. One is money. A lot of it.

Two, is adventure. I'm 35 going on 36 and I haven't really done anything radical or very different.

So after all this at least once in my life I can say that I stepped out and did something with my life...

I hope to God it works out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Just as when you think you got everything figured out, life throws in something completely unexpected. You're all set to go down a certain path when suddenly a new one appears out of nowhere.

Usually this is a bad thing. Occasionally, it can be a very good thing. Very good.

I'm talking about work if you are wondering. Something very... interesting is available to me at the moment.

I'll say more when I make my final decision in the next few hours or so. It's not something to be taken lightly.

I've been busy these last few days. Busy gaming.

I've been playing Fallout 3 as I mentioned before. Recently I got my hands on Call of Duty World at War. Nice game but too short. And some parts of it are very infuriating.

I'm also trying out the Football Manager 2009 demo. I love it. I will be buying it for sure when it comes out.

There will be another post coming after this one in less than 24 hours. For sure.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Obama wins. As expected. By me at least.

Ok, this isn't local politics but this is the USA and whether people like it or not whatever happens to USA will affect the whole world.

So, change. What will this do to the rest of the world? Will it help shore up the slowing global economies? This is going to be interesting no?

And I wonder how long will it be before euphoria wears off and his approval ratings drop.

On the home front, nothing's changed yet. I've been spending time playing and finishing Fallout 3 and downloading music. I don't go out much to save on cash. I have enough to live comfortably for awhile but I'm stretching it as much as I can. Doing ok so far.

At the present time, I honestly don't feel like working yet. So I'm not so concerned about getting a new job. I plan to relax and enjoy my free time as much as I can. It's been a long, long time since I've been this free.

I've only applied to a handful of companies so far. I'm planning to widen my search next month.

There's still time before my projected cut off date.

I'm in the midst of change myself. Interesting times...

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Very, Very Busy

...not that there's a lot to write about these days anyway. The seven posts in October would be an indication of that.

A lot of cool games coming out in the next few months.

Anyway in lieu of a proper post here is a song for your entertainment. A little ditty call I Don't Want to Set The World on Fire by The Ink Spots. featured in Fallout 3.


Friday, October 24, 2008


Playing old games is always a good way to spend free time. Especially when said old game used to be nearly unplayable on my old PC configuration when it first came out a few years ago.

I'm talking about Il-2 1946. It's a WW2 flight sim. Actually, it's THE best WW2 flight sim available up to this point.

If you are a flight sim fan and/or a military history buff Il2 will make your mouth water.

Among other things it has over 300 flyable aircraft each with it's own exhaustively researched flight model. Different planes fly differently. Feel the need for speed in your ME262, the world's first operational jet fighter. Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee in your Zero as you fight for the Emperor! Fly the concrete bomber and find out why German troops call you The Black Death. Watched Baa Baa Black Sheep when you were a kid? Fly a Corsair and be a part of the famous VMF-214 Black Sheep. Fight the Japanese air force over Singapore in your Hurricane.

You can fly many countries. USA, UK, Japan, Germany, Soviet Union, even smaller forces like Finland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia.

Obviously I enjoy the game quite a bit. Especially now that I can play it will full graphic detail. The game used to lag like a sonofabitch on my old PC. Therefore I didn't play it all that much. Now, it flows silky smooth and looks absolutely gorgeous.

Also worthy of mention is the fact that the war in the Eastern Front is covered. Not a lot of people know much about what happened there.

Another thing, the game has a active community and there are all sorts of mods to download from maps to missions to campaigns to markings for your planes.

So that's what I've been doing. Flying. It's fun. Sometimes I fire up the game, set up a quick mission with no enemies and fly around for fun to try out all the different planes from tiny biplanes to twin engined bombers.

If you like flight sims, you must get Il2. Really. Oh and make sure you have a good joystick.

In other news, my brother is back and after talking to him about work it seems that I'm going to have to wait for awhile before I get a call. It's ok though. I was prepared for this. I can survive for a few months the cash I saved up.

I have a cut off date though and if nothing happens by then I'll be looking for work on land again.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


...coming out November 14th! Oh yeah!

New features galore:-

-press conferences and expanded media interaction! Journalists remember what you say to them.
-3D match engine.
-new transfer system.
-improved financial modeling.
-350,000 players and staff.
-female players can now play as female managers.
-assistant manager now not useless! He will now give you feedback and suggestions about your tactics. Even during a match.
-advanced training! You can now order your players to learn special moves.
-tons more. Watch the videos.

FM2009. Seriously, there ain't no management sim that comes even remotely close in terms of depth and realism.

I'm ordering this as soon as it comes out. Oh yeah, there is also the PSP version too.

Goodbye social life...

Thursday, October 16, 2008


My damn GOC cert still hasn't arrived. I've tried calling the academy but I haven't managed to get through yet. I did talk to them last week and they said they should receive it in "the next few days".

I can't look for work without that cert! Damn.

Everything else is ready. Last week I went to Muara Tebas to do my seaman book at the Marine Department. All I need now is to get my GOC cert and fax that and the seaman book to this company I'm applying at.

Hopefully I won't have to wait much longer. This waiting is making me think bad thoughts about not cutting it at sea.

I've been talking to my friend who is on his break from offshore work. He's assured me that the job is easy and there is no reason why I shouldn't do well. Yet I'm still quite nervous. Maybe I'm worried about not being accepted onboard a vessel. Or maybe I'm worried about not fitting in.

I worry about breaking and failing.

This is just me being my usual irrational self. I don't do changes very well. Especially big changes. When I do think rationally about it, there is absolutely no good reason why I won't do well.

And yet, there it is. The nagging anxiety is still there.

This is all very stupid. I suppose I would know for sure once I actually get on board whatever barge I'm supposed to be on.

Whatever my feelings and whatever happens, I've commited myself to this. Hopefully a few months down the line I would be laughing at myself for being so worried.

To keep myself busy, I entertain myself in various ways. Like looking at pretty pictures..

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Gentleman of Leisure

...a nicer way of saying "unemployed person".

I haven't done anything worthy of note this few days so nothing to update. The only things I've done this week was go out or stay at home and either watch movies or play games. Been playing Mercenaries 2 lately. Fun game.

It's one of those games where you get to run around and do whatever you like. A bit like GTA. The game is set in Venezuela and you can blow random things up. Sometimes, people will pay you to blow things up.

I went to Nomad BnB aka Ruai with Will and some other people. Second time I've been there. Nice cosy place.

On Tuesday, I helped set up a wireless router/modem for a friend. There are now currently enjoying wifi connectivity in their house.

My GOC cert is not ready yet so there is no update on the job front.

I might go for a drive tomorrow with some people.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Nothing Yet

Well, I did say I was going to update but I spent the last few days basically sleeping and doing nothing other than gaming.

I haven't updated anything on face book yet

It's quite strange to be unemployed.

I was in Holiday Inn Damai on Wednesday and Thursday. Spent most of that time drinking and sleeping. I went home Thursday night.

Last night I hung out with Will and Simon and their missusses at Garden Hill. The JD was excellent. I had a lot of things to discuss with Will.

Today? I'm doing nothing again. I may be nervous about going offshore but this boredom will be a strong motivator for me to go.

Well, hopefully anyway.

I'll see when I feel like updating again.

Monday, September 29, 2008


I arrived home this evening 5 minutes ahead of schedule at 6.45pm. Our flight hit a patch of bad weather enroute from Miri. Apparently we caught a tailwind.

I have some thoughts and many pictures to post.

But I'm rather exhausted right now so those will have to wait.

It's good to be home.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Scary Shit

Well, I finished my course at MSTS. The OPITO approved TBOSIET with EBS and HUET and TSBB modular course. Yes, I've had to deal with many, many acronyms the last three weeks.

By the way, OPITO if I remember correctly is Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation or something like that. TBOSIET is Tropical Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training. EBS is Emergency Breathing System. HUET is Helicopter Underwater Escape Technique (scary shit this one). TSBB is Travel Safely By Boat.

So what would one expect from the TBOSIET with EBS and HUET and TSBB course?

For me, it was fun. And interesting. And educational. And pant shitting scary. All at the same time.

The first day was very blah. Theory. CPR. First aid. All that stuff I already know about but this time I did some practical exercises. So now I officially know CPR. In the afternoon, we did sea survival theory. The instructor was brilliant, this guy called Dr. James. Old guy, extremely experienced. And funny.

The fun part was the 2nd day. In the morning we had firefighting. Honestly, it's the absolute best firefighting demo and training session I've ever seen. They asked us to do everything. We tried out all the major kinds of fire extinguisher and the hose reel to tackle all kinds of fire.

You'd think fire is all the same but nope it ain't. Using the wrong extinguisher with the wrong technique can actually make things worse. And it's not just point and squeeze either. Depending on the fire and the type of extinguisher it's all different. I might go into detail in a future post.

So we tried out all the extinguishers. Water based, foam, CO2 and dry powder. We put out massive fires so hot you could feel them from 40 feet away. This was serious shit and the instructor made that very, very clear.

Beats your usual fire department fire demo any day I tell ya...

The fire sessions were done by Dr James again so we had a lot of fun with his usual shenanigans and mickey taking. We rounded up the session with some hose reel and fire blanket exercises.

Next up we went through the "smoke" house. I say "smoke" in quotes because there was no smoke actually. It was just a darkened shipping container with some corridors, obstacles and rooms built into it. All one had to do was walk through it without falling down or panicking.

It's pitch black and really, really hot in there. Very bad for people with claustrophobia.

We went in solo and in groups. Good session. Ulrick the instructor was a really cool guy and did his job really well.

In the afternoon, the pool sessions. This is the place where all the ball shrinking fear and terror was concentrated.

First up, sea survival practise. The four of us suited up with our life jackets and trooped out to the pool where we were greeted by Richard our instructor and a bunch of safety divers.

After the usual refresher briefing and lifejacket talk, they asked us to jump. Not fun.

The platform was 3.5m high. Normally I wouldn't have too much trouble. It's not that high. But with all the people watching and the lifejacket and my mild fear of heights I nearly couldn't do it.

It wasn't that bad really. I jumped and landed nicely in the water. The lifejacket helps a lot. The jumping technique we were taught helped to minimise the impact of landing in the water.

Once everyone was in the water we formed up into a group. They showed us how to swim in a group and to do it with minimal energy. We then clambered into a liferaft. It was exhausting. Then we swam out into the pool again and we finished off by simulating being pulled out of the water by a rope.

Next was the really, really scary part. HUET.

We changed our lifejackets for another one with EBS, the Emergency Breathing System. Back to the pool they showed us how to deploy our EBS and how to use it properly.

Essentially, you fill the EBS airbag with your own breath and rebreath it when you activate the rebreather. It was ok but I really had to force myself to breath underwater. The natural tendency is to hold your breath so I had to force myself to breath.

Once you get used to it, it's not so bad.

Up till this point I was fine if a little cold and a little nervous. The HUET demo drained all the blood from my brain.

For HUET they use this contraption attached to a winch and a swinging mechanism with in turn is attached to a power winch. This contraption is used to simulate a helicopter cabin complete with seats. You get in the simulator and strap in as you would in any aircraft. There are four exercises.

The first is called the controlled ditch without EBS. They dunk the simulator into the water. You hold your breath for about 7 seconds then you unstrap and swim out the window. Which is quite small...

This exercise wasn't so bad although being strapped in a seat while in the water is quite unnerving. Oh yes, in that kind of situation strap in TIGHT. Tight harnesses snap open when you undo them. Loose harnesses need you to physically pull the buckle apart. Not easy when you're underwater and in a real big hurry to get the hell out.

The second exercise is the same as the first except with EBS and they put plastic window panes in the simulator. Dunk in the water then sit for a few seconds, push the window out and swim out. Easy right? It is.

Except I messed this up twice. The first time, I dropped my EBS mouthpiece into the water and could fill it with air. The second time I unstrapped and then tried to push the window while underwater. This is wrong. You should push the window pane first and then unstrap. If you unstrap first you'll float in the cabin and won't be able to push the window.

The next two exercises was the real ball buster. It's the same as the first two with and without EBS. The same. Except the "helicopter" is turned upside down in the water...

Exercise number three is called the uncontrolled ditch without EBS. Dunk and turn upside down in the water. Sit and wait for the thing to stop moving. Unstrap and swim out. Watch out for vertigo.

This one was very, very unnerving. Being upside down in the water is quite painful with all that water rushing up the nostrils.

Exercise number four is the uncontrolled ditch with EBS. Dunk and go upside down, sit for awhile and unstrap. Swim out.

This one was no problem. By this time, I had gotten used to being strapped into the seat while in the water. The simulator went down into the water and I deployed the EBS. Upside down, unstrap and swim out. It was perfect, Except on the way out I hit one of the safety divers and accidentally pulled his regulator out of his mouth.

We had some final words from the teacher and went off to shower.

The third day was only half day.

Damn, the place is closing. I'll continue this post next time.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I'm sitting in the Boulevard Sugar Bun using the KFC wifi. Miri is a lot like Kuching with significantly less traffic. It's a little smaller but like Kuching, it's quite spread out. I get a sense of wide open spaces when I'm in town. Not cramped and "narrow" like Sibu.

It's very, very inconvenient to stay in a place with no internet access. And when you don't have your own transport. Miri would be a lot more fun if I had my own car. The night life looks very interesting and we've been to some really cool places to hang out.

Public transport is as non-existent here as in the rest of the state.

I've been busy doing med checks and getting familiar with the town. Being driver around is ok but I think the best way to get to know a strange new urban area is to roll up the trousers and leg it.

Actually, I have many things to write about but it's hard when I don't have time to myself. When I go home, I'm going to value my alone down time a little bit more.

My sea survival course starts tomorrow and MSTS. I hope time rushes by quickly. I'm tired of being surrounded by people all the time.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


The bad thing about a night bus trip is that you can't see anything. Mercifully, the bus was comfortable and there was almost no traffic. We left Sibu at 11.30 last night.

I arrived in town at 6.20am this morning. Will be here for 2 weeks. My sea survival course will be on Wednesday at MSTS. I'm going for another med check tomorrow.

I'm currently outside this place called Madli's. It's quite nice. The wifi is quick and clear. The nasi goreng kampung special is very nice.

I can't guarantee I can get regular internet connection so updates on this blog and on Facebook will be sporadic.

I'm probably going home on the 30th is possible. I'll be busy that day posting resumes and seeing people about future employment. Can't wait to be home. Got a lot of pictures to post.

I'll update whenever possible.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I'm done with my GOC course. Took the written exam this morning. The results won't be known to us. ALAM (Akademi Laut Malaysia) will issue us certs when our results are finalized.

I know I passed. It was a breeze really. The whole thing has been a breeze actually. I can only hope I can as well when I find work. If I find work.

Where to next?

I'll be leaving for Miri either tomorrow evening or early Sunday morning. Updates will be sporadic. I don't know where am I going to be staying and I don't know if I can get internet connection. Sea survival course will begin some time in the middle of next week.

These last 2 weeks have been fun. We met a lot of cool people. Some of us will become real friends in the future. I hope to see and meet some us again either on land or the high seas.

Heh, me on the high seas.

After the exam this morning, our instructor Mr. Ang advised us to go as far and wide as we can. Get experience. Earn money. Travel and see the world and the seven seas. There is work everywhere. Go for it.

I will. I will try at least.

It's so funny to think about. A little more than 2 weeks ago, I left my old job. Right now it feels like a lifetime ago. How fast things change.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I went to do my Marine Dept. medical check up just now. I nearly failed it.

See, I wear specs and I haven't changed the prescription for a long, long time. In the morning I went and failed the eye test. Badly. I can see well enough with both eyes open but apparently I'm a little bit blinder with only one eye especially my left.

So I now have new specs. It's pretty cheap to get new specs here in Sibu.

In the afternoon I went back to the clinic with my new specs. My right eye was ok but I still failed with my left. If it weren't for the nurse's help I would've officially failed it. After picking up the results I went back to the optical place and got my left lens redone. The guy was very nice about it. He didn't charge me for the new lens.

So now I'm wearing my redone specs and trying to get used to them. I feel slightly sick.

I'm amazed at how fast it is to make new glasses these days. Last time I had to wait for a few days for my new specs to be ready. Now it takes 30 minutes. That's technology for ya.

The new specs cost me 200 bucks. The med check cost 97 bucks. I'll post a pic of the new specs in Fesbook later.

Fesbook is going to be so very useful.

Oh yes, I didn't go to class today. I didn't have to. Today the boys had their oral and practical assessment. I passed them all yesterday so our instructor told me to take the day off. I think this the first time ever an instructor signed my attendance for me. I did quite well over the last two weeks. So well in fact, the instructor kept telling everyone to go ask me if the rest of the boys have questions.

Hopefully I'll do as well when/if I end up at sea.

We still got the written exam tomorrow morning. Should be a piece of cake but I ain't telling the other boys.

By the way, there are some really cool people in class. And some others not so cool... And some people are really, really dumb...

I've been in contact with my brother and Will over the last 2 weeks. Both of them are at sea at the moment. They both gave me very, very useful information and their assistance will be very, very important during my job hunt.

Next week we go to Miri and MSTS to attend our OPITO approved sea survival course for three days. After that, pass my resume to the company my brother and Will are at. Go there and talk to the HR boss. After that, home.

And hopefully a few weeks after that, wild blue...

I can't wait to get all this over with.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Truth Won't Stop Being True Just Because People Don't Talk About It

The following is an article in the NST today.

KOTA KINABALU: Malay-sians are still divided on the date of birth of the nation but the bottom line is the facts of history cannot be distorted, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.

Opening a seminar on "The Formation of Malaysia and Constitutional Rights of the States of Sabah and Sarawak" yesterday, Dompok said the issue had caused some Ma-laysians calling other Malay-sians "unpatriotic" for insisting on Sept 16, 1963, which was when Sabah and Sarawak officially joined Malaysia.

"Malaysians in the peninsula are quite oblivious to Sept 16 while in Sabah and Sarawak, most people are adamant that this is the date Malaysia was born.

"Let us not distort history. It is because we love our country that we want the proper date.

"I think Sabahans and Sara-wakians are zealous about safeguarding their date of independence," he said.
Based on history, Dompok said Sept 16, 1963 should be considered as Malaysia Day as it was the day Malaysia came into being.

"We know of course that there was no Malaysia before Sept 16, 1963. What existed then was the Federation of Malaya.

"If we had joined Malaya then, Malaysia Day would be Aug 31, 1957, but we did not.

"These are facts of history and I don't think we should change that. That is my point of view.

"Aug 31 is independence day for peninsular Malaysia and probably in the context of Sabah and Sarawak, Aug 31 can still be considered independence day, but Malaysia Day and the birth of Malaysia was on Sept 16."

On another note, he said that after 45 years of Malaysia's formation, the people today must feel proud that the country had developed by leaps and bounds.

"Disparities do exist, but by and large we have not suffered the plight of the African states which had similarly gained independence from their colonial masters."

Speaking to reporters later, Dompok said Petronas representatives had come to see him recently to explain the issue of the 500km gas pipeline from Kimanis in Sabah to Bintulu in Sarawak, the status of operations of which had caused doubts among Sabahans.

Asked if Petronas had confirmed or clarified about continuing the project, he said: "I don't know (about their decision).

"When they met me, I gave them a piece of my mind and I left it at that.

"But this is not the last of it. I am standing by what Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had informed the people."

Dompok said it was a serious issue for the integrity of the prime minister to be questioned by a government-linked company.

In May, Abdullah announced during his visit to Sabah that the gas pipeline project had been scrapped, but it was reported that Petronas had disregarded the announcement and many local leaders had voiced their unhappiness over this, saying that it would not benefit Sabah. -- Bernama

Malaysia is 45. Fact. In Sabah and Sarawak on the 31st of August 1957, NOTHING HAPPENED. Fact.

There are people who are not from here who want us to forget who we are and become them. There are people who want us to sacrifice our histories and adopt their history for the glory of a certain group of people who want to take the credit for what our previous generation decided.

Don't let them.

16 September 1963. Remember.

This article from The Star is also a good read.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

End of Week One

It's the end of my first week in Sibu. Learn a lot of new things. Luck is still on my side. Made some new friends in class. Am doing quite well with class at the moment. Our instructor is excellent. Most excellent.

As the course went on, my plans for the future is solidifying. I can see it very clearly now.

I'm also more aware of the risks. Weather, accidents, pirates. You know, the usual stuff. I guess that's why seaman earn so much.

Some of our classmates are in fact already working. Two of them are on rigs and at least two more are part of tanker crews. Their employers sent them here for certification. They tell the most amazing stories I've ever heard.

Some seaman and off shore oil and gas workers earn obscene amounts of money. 100, 200, 400 bucks a day. US dollars. For 14, 21, 30, 60 even 90 days at a stretch.

That's some crazy shit.

It's odd when I think about me going to work at sea.

My dad used to work for the Marine Department and he had many seafaring friends. It's a strange twist of fate. Now my brother is offshore and if things go well I will be to. My youngest brother is thinking about going too.

A long time ago when I was fresh out of Form 5, my dad suggested that we become seamen. Mom would have none of it. I had none of it either.

And now all these years later... It's funny when I think of it.

Obviously I don't want to tempt fate but if things keep progressing the way they have been, looks like Dad would get his wish finally.

One more week to go.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Golf Oscar Charlie

It's Tuesday night and two days into my GMDSS GOC course. There's a LOT to take in. The last two days have mostly been about theory and protocol. We start hands on sessions tomorrow.

There's a LOT to take in. Not only that I've discovered other facets of the radio operator's job that quite frankly makes me nervous.

It's a fascinating subject though. Who knew there were so many things to learn about radio communications and maritime safety, where the radio officer plays a very, very vital part.

The thought of working at sea is quite daunting. I've spent my whole life working in cubicles. This is going to be something else. I'm also very intrigued by it. I'm suddenly thinking if I successfully find work in oil and gas I'll gain experience with which I could qualify for other work. Like on merchant vessels. Big ones. Ones that weight half a million tons and spend six months at sea at any one time.

Or cruise vessels.

Might be fun. And lucrative.

There are 11 people in my class and some of them are already employed. They were sent there by their employers to gain GOC qualifications for radio officer's posts. Lots of interesting stories they have. Some have been on (and are going back to) oil rigs. Some are seamen looking for promotion. A few are noobs like myself.

Very interesting people.

I have some thoughts after these two days.

First, you know all those times we watch movies and documentaries and there are people talking on the radio? Now those radio conversations make a whole lot more sense. Yes, we do learn that special language that radio people use.

Second, never in my entire life would I have thought that the knowledge I gained from playing flight sims and maritime/naval sims (remember Silent Hunter 4? Aces of The Deep? New Horizons?) would actually benefit me in real life. A lot of the things that the instructor (who is quite possibly the best teacher I've ever met. Seriously) shows us, I in fact already know... From games. Things like navigation terms, maritime units and what 5-by-5 means.

Third, talking on a radio looks and sounds simple but I'm discovering that there is a lot more depth and protocol to it than I could ever have imagined. Plus I must learn how to operate a very large number of electronic equipment. It's both frightening and fascinating at the same time. The responsibilties of the radio operator is huge and no mistakes will be tolerated. But if I become a good one I can work anywhere in the maritime world.

Anywhere. $$

Fourth, it's day two of my training and I still can't believe I'm actually doing it.

There's still a long way to go though. I need to pass this course and then go to another town to get another certificate before I can even set foot on a vessel/barge/rig.

I'm going to need all the luck I can muster...

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A New Life

I like Sibu. It's a little cramped and the traffic is chaotic but there is a certain air of quaintness around it. The food is excellent.

I'm staying at my friend's former employer's house. The house is beautiful. And they have wifi. Our hostess has been nothing but nice to us.

By the way, there are two people on this trip. Me and my friend.

I start my GMDSS GOC course tomorrow so I don't think I'll be going anywhere tonight. Maybe dinner.

We arrived here yesterday afternoon. Let me say that getting here by express boat is much, much more comfortable than by bus. I stayed topside the entire trip. It was great. I could walk around, smoke cigarettes, enjoy the view and take some pictures. The trip took four hours. Imagine if we had stuck to our original plan and used the bus. The trip would have taken 6-7 hours and we'd be stuck on a bus the entire time. So the boat beats the bus. Except when the weather is bad.

The ticket costs 45 bucks. You can't book in advance. You just go to the Express Wharf in Pending (it's by the KPA building) board the boat and choose a seat. When the boat gets underway, a conductor will go around. You pay the man and take your ticket. Do not lose the ticket. Later they will check you again.

I enjoyed the trip very much. So if you're thinking about going to Sibu consider taking the express boat. It's very cool.

We went to a bar last night to meet up with my friend's friend who happens to be the Chief Officer on board a service vessel. We got some great tips on life at sea and heard some really good stories. Very cool guy. He promised to back us up if we're interested in joining his company.

There are in fact many, many, many companies working at sea whether in oil and gas or merchant shipping. Also true is the fact that not a lot of people want to lead a seaman's life. That's good news for me. Less competition.

Well, there you go. This is the start of a new part of my life. I'm hoping it will be a successful part.

Right now, I'm thinking about what I was doing at work last week. It's been only a few days but it feels like a lifetime ago.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

In Sibu

No time to write much but I'm in Sibu. We arrived at 1.30pm. Had one hell of a boat ride. Will write more about that when I can find the time.

I'm in our hostess' house here. It's a lovely house.

Going out to dinner. Will write more later.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Moving Off The Line

I'm officially unemployed as off 1900 yesterday evening.

It was a weird day. I was busy like hell. A lot of stuff to do. I had so many things to do I had no time to blog. I had wanted to blog from the office one final time. You know, for dramatic effect.

My colleagues organised a little do for lunch. It was nice.

Yes, it was also a very nice day.

I got to the end of day very quickly. It was a busy day. Mercifully by 5.00pm everything had petered out and by 6 I was alone. As the day drew to a close, I had this heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I guess it hit me at that moment. I'm never coming back there again.

My night shift colleague arrived a few minutes before 7 and we chatted for a bit. When the time came, he followed me out so that I could pass him my ID badge.

I walked out to my car and drove off with one final glance into the rear view mirror. It's an odd feeling knowing I can't go there anymore.

I like to complain about my luck but in some cases I've actually been very, very lucky. Like with my last job. I really enjoyed it and it was something I was good at. My colleagues in the IT dept are the best people anyone could wish to serve alongside off. I'm lucky to have known them. I learnt a lot from them.

I worked there six years. A lot of things happened in those six years.

I can only hope my luck will hold out for my next job, whatever that is.

I had a pretty madcap week before yesterday. I spent two days running around renewing my passport. While doing that, I discovered that my birth certificate went missing. I had misread a line in the passport receipt that I thought said you need your birth cert to pick up your passport. My dad insisted that it was the case too. I went around and did a new one. It involved a lot of driving and some time in the Gita police station to do a report.

Later, it turns out that you DO NOT have to bring a birth cert to renew a passport. The procedure is either you bring your MyKad OR your birth cert...

Well, at least I know now.

By the way, the staff at JPN and Immigration did a great job. No bullshit, no excessive waiting, no run around. Service was top notch. Even the cop that took my report was nice.

So congratulations to them all for a job well done.

I did make it a point to make my requests and ask my questions very clearly. I know this helps the counter staff to do their job. In six years of helpdesk experience I know how important it is to state things clearly and properly and to follow procedures. You'd think that this is easy and goes without saying right? Believe me, there are many, many, many people who don't know how to talk properly and convey information clearly. Believe you me, it's infuriating to deal with idiots. Seriously.

Well, my first business as an unemployed person is go see my insurance guy and pick up 1 grand check. I'm going to need that money when I hit Sibu tomorrow afternoon...

I also have 2 computers to fix.

Yep, I'm jobless yet I'm still busy...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Uncharted Waters


It's shutdown week here at the factory. I walked about the factory just now and there was NOBODY around. Not a single living soul. It's a bit creepy.

I am bored now. Therefore I will post. This post will bring the post count to an even 12 so might as well.

Is the Immigration Dept open tomorrow? I need to go and do my passport.

I nearly deleted the post I put up this morning. I don't like the way it sounded. It doesn't flow very well. I'm not so good at being articulate when I'm bored I guess.

Last night I was at Fariah's checking out some of the merchandise that Syuk brought down from Bintulu. I can't say what the "merchandise" is. Let's just say they are very "interesting".

Anyway, we were there and The Red Kebaya was playing on TV. It's too bad we didn't catch the movie from the beginning. I remember I really wanted to watch it when it came out in 2006. What little of the movie we watched last night was quite good.

I'm going to start clearing my stuff out from the office today. It's a good thing there's nobody around. I would feel rather sad if people were around. It's going to feel odd leaving this place.

I've been here 6 years. A lot of things happened. I learned a lot too. I truly enjoyed my job here. It's quite sad when I remember all the things that happened while I was here. Just about the only thing I can complain about is the pay. If I got paid 20-30% more I would be staying for sure.

I hope that my next job would be as good and as rewarding as this. I'm really hoping that the experience I earned here will serve me well.

I will need to go to work one more day next Thursday and that would be a wrap. The week after that is going to be very, very interesting...

Forty Five

I usually post this in September but I'm not sure if I can get internet access then so this goes up now.

I was out last night and I think this has been the quietest National Day eve I've ever experienced. I wonder why that is? To be honest, I didn't really feel all that festive either. Perhaps people are worried. Or are too busy. Or are feeling rather jaded.

I guess I'm in the later category. I can almost hear those accusations of being unpatriotic. No matter. I know what I am and what I feel.

Malaysia is such a young country aren't we? And yet she wants to grow up so fast.

Things are very uncertain these days. People are worried and fearful. Some people want to run away and emigrate. Other people want to hang the flag upside down.

I have my own fears too. I too think that the country isn't doing very well. But I didn't turn the flag upside down.

Our nation is not perfect. She has many strange quirks. Sometimes she isn't very sure of herself. She still doesn't quite know what she wants to become when she grows up. She isn't sure about the future.

But these are growing pains. She is changing. Change is always painful. She is still young. In time she will find her place. She can still be the great nation that she so desperately wants to be. But it will take time.

Our nation isn't perfect. But it's home. It's up to us to make home a better place.

Sit for awhile and think. This is the time to reflect and remember what it is to be Malaysian.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

In The Land of The Blind The One Eyed Man is King

That saying has been stuck in my head the last few days. I'm not quite sure why. It sounds very clever and I'm trying to think of a situation where I can use it.

Another saying that's been stuck in my head is No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. It's one of those interesting paradoxes. Punishment for doing good? Surely not. But actually...

I could write an entire blog post about it's meaning to me. But I'm feeling a bit jaded this morning so I'm not going to try. Nevertheless, it's true. No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. Think about it.

Can you think of anyone at all who hasn't suffered directly because of something good that they have done? In this life, it does feel like that sometimes doesn't it? Of course I'm not saying people should stop trying to do good things. I'm saying that people who do good things so good things can happen to them will be very, very disappointed.

Yes, life is a bit strange like that.

It's August and National Day is coming. I won't write anything new. My feelings about it are the same. The same as every year ever since I started this blog.

I'm not going to write about politics either. Not today at least. I did write about two paragraphs just now but I deleted it. It sounded so.... futile. It's futile to depend on others to save you and make your life easier. Only you yourself can do that. This much I know, from my own experiences.

Others may help pave the way but the person who needs to take the walk is yourself. As long as you aren't totally helpless, you only have yourself to blame if you don't at least try to change your own life

Anyway, I've got to go. Might write more later.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Late Night News

Well, me brother has gone off shore again. He left on Monday. He'll be gone for 2 months. This is the kind of life I can expect if things go as planned. Eight months at sea, four months on land.

Talking about that, I chatted with another seabound friend some time last week on Facebook. He has some very positive news. I cross my fingers and hope that things will happen. It's weird to think that only a few weeks back I nearly backed out of this. Now, I can't wait to go and get started and I feel really bored at work.

I guess it's all part of the process.

I thought some more about it and it began to dawn to me about how big this really is. Here I was thinking nothing interesting can happen to me after 30.

Anyway, me and my friend are going and we were discussing travel plans just now. We'll probably get going early morning on Saturday. Express boat to Sibu. We'll probably arrive by afternoon. Next we'll stay at one of his friends house and hang out in Sibu for awhile.

Haven't been there in two years I think.

We'll be in Sibu for two weeks for my GMDSS GOC course. Then it's off to Miri for a few days to get sea survival certification. That'll be cool. I've never been there before. In fact in Sarawak, I've never been further north than Sibu.

After sea survivak, I don't know. This is as far as I can see at the moment. My off shore friend is very confident I'll get employed within a month. I hope he's right...

In other news, I've been entertaining myself by reading about the gorgeous new Dell Art House Studio notebook. It come's with custom skin art by Mike Ming. Lovely.

See that?

Not only does it look good, the specs are pretty too. Core 2 Duo, 2 Gb RAM, big hard disk (250gb and above), full wireless suite (wifi and bluetooth) and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3450 graphics. For my gaming, video and music use, this would be just nice.

Nice specs for a very nice RM2899. It'll cost a bit more for the custom skin.

It's too bad I already have a notebook. But if I can somehow sell if off for like, half price I will definitely get me a Studio.

I bet people must be wondering, what do I want? A subnotebook or this one? To be honest, I don't know yet. If I can bring my notebook off shore, I'll buy this one. At least I'll be able to play Diablo 3 during my downtime...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Little Computers

Little, tiny notebook computers are getting very, very fashionable aren't they? Like the Inspiron 910 picture above. Or the Acer Aspire One. Or the HP 2133. Or the Asus EEE.

I guess the pricing of these little babies is one big, big factor why these things are getting popular. Many of them are in the sub RM2000 range. Very affordable for those of us who want a small, light computer to do basic stuff with like internet surfing and word processing. I've checked some of these out and I'm beginning to appreciate how convenient these things are.

My former gripe about tiny 8" notebooks is about the keyboard size. It's hard to type on a tiny keyboard. But having seen people use it, I guess I could get used to that. It's minor inconvenience to deal with when you consider how mobile these things are. At 8 inches wide, you could stuff it in an average sized handbag. Or a good sized pouch.

My colleagues have been talking about subnotebooks for awhile now. One of them recently bought a 10" FTec subnotebook. I haven't seen it yet. I bet it's cool!

I love gadgets. Especially computer related ones.

I don't plan to buy one since I already have my notebook AND my desktop but if I were to get one, I have a spec in mind already. 8", Atom processor, 120Gb hard disk (not a big fan of SSD storage, I like my hard drives to be big), 1Gb RAM at least, Bluetooth, WiFi.

I hope Dell comes out with an Inspiron 910 with a hard disk instead of SSD and 1Gb RAM. I'm sure they will consider this. Of the ones I've seen myself so far, the ones I like the most are the HP 2133 and the Aspire One. Yes, an Acer. I'm not an Acer fan but the Aspire One looks very sexy and has good specs at good price. I've also read reviews praising its build quality.

I was talking to a colleague just now and he is really thinking about buying one despite having a notebook already...

If I manage to find offshore work, I will definitely buy one.

Anybody buying a subnotebook soon? Take some pictures and inform me. I want to see. Better yet, we can lepak and I can have a hands on!

So, what do you think about teeny, tiny notebooks? Good? Bad? Ugly?


Thursday, August 21, 2008


Apparently, this is the 745th published post on this blog. I've been blogging for a while haven't I?

Not many of my endeavours last this long. I'm very pleased with how this blogging thing is turning out.

It's early in the morning and I spent the whole night up watching stuff on Nat Geo. There was a very nice short feature on food bloggers. I thought it was very nice. I particularly enjoyed each blogger's thoughts on why they started blogging. That's the beauty of blogging. It can be anything anyone wants it to be.

I also watched another feature about The Ark of The Covenant.

I haven't watched that much TV ever since I got on the internet.

I'm going to be working this evening. I really don't feel like it. All the enthusiasm I have for work has all but drained out of me. I haven't even transitioned all my stuff to the rest of the guys at work yet. I have one or two things that need to be handed over.

Despite the lost of enthusiasm, I'm going to miss my old job. Hopefully, I'll work with computers again in the future.

Someone left a comment on my last post that made me stop, think and laugh out loud. Something regarding adulthood.

I'm in my mid thirties and no, I don't feel like a so-called adult. It never occurred to me to stand up and declare myself an adult. Things have of course changed over the years but no, I haven't turned into my dad yet. I'll probably never will. I guess that's ok. I guess.

Suddenly, I wonder what all the other 35 year olds are up to. If someone had the necessary demographics data, how would an average 35 year old be like? I'd really like to know.

That's it for post number 745. And now, I will go back to watching MonsterQuest clips on my PC.

Have a nice day.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


I desperately want to watch this movie for some reason. Everything I've read and seen about this has been good. I've already watched one good action comedy so far this year (Get Smart) but I think this one has the potential to be even better.

After all, it's Ben Stiller being intense. And Ironman playing a black guy. The very idea is funny already.

In other news, all this waiting around for my last day at work is making me feel queasy in the gut. Also, the thought off leaving without having first secured another job is also making my stomach feel odd.

At home, I talked about my concerns with the rest of the family and they have promised to shore up my commitments during this rather unsettling time. So that's a good thing. My parents in particular are very optimistic about my changing of career. I wish I was THAT confident.

Then again, I've always been rather cautious, a bit cowardly and would always prefer the safe, secure route. This is very out of character, mind you.

I was thinking yesterday while on my way home from work, what if it doesn't work out? What happens if I fail to secure employment in my new chosen field in lets say, three months? I guess if it turns out like that I'll just turn back home and get a new job here. I'm not a fresh grad, a noob out of school. I have 6 years with my current job and ten years overall in the IT industry. That's a good amount of experience.

My chances of working again is not as bad as some other people's. Worse comes to worse, I'll just jot it down to experience and do some crap job in a supermarket or something while I look out for other opportunities. At least I tried and I'll be satisfied with that knowledge.

This is the negative side.

Then I thought about the positive side. What if I luck out like my brother and get the chosen job within weeks of my leaving my current job? Money will never be a problem again. Ever. My master plan will activate and within a certain amount of time I might save enough and retire early.

No need to work at all if I feel like it.

Ultimately, I figure life is too short. I'm not as young as I want to be anymore and if I don't try to change my life now, when the hell am I going to do it eh? Eventually, time will catch up with me and I won't be able to do it. If I don't do this now, I'll never know...

It's a good thing that for once in my life, my family is backing me 100% this time. I'm grateful for that.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The End of This Line

I've not been able to blog the last week. I've been rather busy. I've had a lot of things to consider and think about.

I've finally decided. I quit my job yesterday. I will leave at the first week of September. I've been working here for nearly six years. A lot of things happened here. I attended our monthly meeting yesterday evening. It's a strange feeling knowing that yesterday's meeting would be my last. I won't be here for the next meeting.

What's the plan now? Here's the plan.

In the second week of September, I will go to Sibu to attend a training course for two weeks. While that is going on, I will also apply for sea survival certification. That will probably take place in Miri after I've passed my training in Sibu.

After that I will look for work. If what my brother says is true, that shouldn't be too much of a problem. He tells me that the training place has connections and will hook me up.

I hope he's right. Me? I have some anxiety naturally. This could be the best decision I'll ever make or the worst mistake I'll ever make. Changing jobs is always nerve wracking.

Despite all my lingering doubts, I look forward to seeing what will happen. It will be a totally new experience working in a totally new career line. If I succeed, I will no longer need to worry about money. Perhaps I'll save enough to reinvest and be comfortable enough to retire early. That's the ultimate plan. That's the thing that prompts me to take this very risky decision.

This is THE riskiest thing I've ever done.

Fingers crossed then.

EDIT 5.30am 15th August - Earlier this evening I received some unsettling news from my brother that will make this plan an even bigger risk than it already is. Almost too big a risk. I might end up retracting my resignation...

I will know for certain by the 19th.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Too Far

See the picture?

It's a new computer shop in Wisma Saberkas. This particular shop is quite special. You can get Dell notebooks here. So if you feel like ordering a Dell notebook online but want to see it physically first, come here. Or you could just buy it here. The pricing is about the same at the moment.

I went on Wednesday and saw several Inspiron 1420 (my notebook!), a Studio 15, an XPS M1330 and an XPS M1530. The Studio 15 looks very nice indeed.

There is one thing that bugs me a little. I saw a sign in the shop that said something like "Cash n Carry". To my understanding, cash and carry might imply no warranty. I certainly hope that isn't true. Maybe I should ask them about it.

D'Mobile carries other brands as well. They had the Acer Aspire One which looks very interesting. And very small.

In other news, I was reading blogs as usual the other day and boy, the local blogging scene is full of anger lately. Mostly about petty issues. And it almost sounds like people are jealous of others. Or perhaps their resentments are justified? I'm sure they do feel that way.

Riding The Mellow and myself will take no part in this random hate mongering. There are many other things that deserve to be hated other than strange bloggers.

Anyway, some of these "haters" are downright sad. It's a pity.

I also notice with much chagrin that certain "influential" bloggers are displaying the Malaysian flag upside down. For those of us who doesn't know what an upside down flag means, it's a sign of distress. Like when you're fort is about to be attacked. Or a ship in trouble at sea and has no other communications.

I think this exercise is to convey the idea that this country is in distress.

I disagree vehemently with the idea of flying our flag upside down. In my opinion, these people have gone too far.

Yes, our country is in a struggle at the moment. Sure we have our problems. Yes, a lot of people dislike the government. But is it in enough "distress" to fly an upside down flag?

No. I believe for the most part everyday people in this country still have some measure of control over their own destinies.

To me an upside down flag means that we no longer have control and need help from others. We aren't in that kind of trouble. We can still help ourselves.

I guess some people are prone to some exaggeration. Or perhaps, they have a hidden agenda? Perhaps they have a political purpose? Or do they want to light a social powder keg? I can see how internal conflicts and civil war would benefit certain political bodies. That's how Malaysian politics work anyway. Malaysian political parties both government and opposition, live off this kind of conflict and try to surreptitiously encourage it. Of course they'll deny it but you got eyes and ears right?

This is not the main point today.

Once again, I completely and utterly disagree with displaying our flag upside down. We are not in that kind of trouble to merit that at the moment. Dissent is all well and good but leave the flag out of this.

You can hate the government but to screw around with the flag is just taking it way too far.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Coming Change

I just sent mail to a marine institute to ask about courses for jobs in the oil and gas industry.

Last night, we had a pow wow at my house. Two of my colleagues came over and we spoke to my brother and some of his friends throughout the night. Incidentally, my brother's friends also work in oil and gas and also work off shore.

My mind is more or less made up. One of my colleague is still thinking about it but the other one has made his mind up too. The question now is when.

I have a masterplan. If everything goes as planned I should be able to quit in 5-6 years and have enough money to be comfortable.

There will be hard decisions to make in the next few days.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

PC Gaming Forever!

I am bored and rather sick of reading the news so I'll bore everyone and write about games instead.

I'm a regular reader of Kotaku, a gaming news blog. An excellent source for all kinds of gaming related news, rumours, controversies etc.

Many readers leave comments and many points are argued. Some subjects always cause lively discussions.

One of these is the "Is PC gaming dead?" story. There are many people on both sides of the arguments. They sometimes leave very funny comments.

I enjoy this kind of topic a lot being an avid gamer myself.

I personally feel very mystified that many people think that PC gaming is dead or dying. A lot of these people are either console fanboys or console game developers who want to create the impression that PC gaming is dead so that they can sell more consoles.

I do have some counterpoints. Don't get me wrong I like consoles too. If I could afford it, I would definitely buy a PS3. But alas...

I love the argument that consoles are cheaper than a powerful gaming PC. Actually it's not quite so simple.

Yes, a console like PS3 or XBox 360 is cheaper than a PC. Sure. But you need to buy a tv to play games on a console. And maybe a good sound system. Depending on what you buy, it could easily run into many thousands too. Sure you can watch the TV and listen to music on your home theatre system.

Same as the PC. A decent gaming PC in Malaysia will set you back maybe RM2000 to RM2500 or even more depending on how crazy you want to go with hardware. Many console fanboys say this is so expensive for gaming. Apparently, they forgot to take into account that most people buy PCs for more than just gaming.

Just for the sake of making a point, there's this thing called the internet and you can't watch that on a TV. Also there are tons of activities centred around a good home PC. There's music and videos you can download and listen to. If you want, you can even create music and films on a PC. It's more than just an appliance. It's also a tool for a whole host of things.

It also puzzles me how some people so vehemently want to see PC gaming die. I guess some of these people must've had a real bad computing experience. Or maybe they are intimidated by the technology and the amount of basic of knowledge overhead required before one becomes a competent PC user. I'll admit that. In order to get the most out of your PC, you need to learn and do a bit of research and some tinkering. I guess some people aren't bothered to do that.

Who knows?

I'm a PC gamer but I have no desire whatsoever to see consoles die out. I really don't get why there needs to be a competition in the first place. It's all very weird. We are all gamers aren't we?

PC gaming does have its share of problems. I know that. There's the piracy thing. One person buy an ori game, God knows how many other people buy the same game for 5 bucks at a pirate shop. Or torrent the thing from the net. I admit, I do this too.

I don't want to kill PC gaming. I can't afford imported original stuff. Having said that, I do have some ori games. My FM 2008 is original. And my WoW. And NFS Carbon. When Diablo 3 comes out, I'm buying the original so that I can go on Battlenet. I won't regret it. Blizzard is a good company that makes good products. They deserve my money.

If I got paid more than I'm getting now, I'm definitely getting more original games.

Console fans like to say that piracy is bad for PC. But consoles also have this problem. It's only a matter of time before PS3 and XBox are cracked.

Some genres of games work best on PC. Games like real time strategy and role playing games and management sims.

Console gaming is on the rise but PC gaming will never die.

WoW has 10 million players and counting. Other MMOs have millions of players too. All playing on PC. Starcraft and Counterstrike are more than a decade old and millions still play them worldwide. For any successful game made, there is always a very active modding community willing to create free content for their game of choice. This ensures that it will remain fresh for years and years.

When games like Fallout 3, Red Alert 3, Starcraft 2 and Diablo3 are released rest assured PC gaming will rise piracy notwithstanding. These are masterpieces. People WILL buy and play. The numbers probably won't be as big as console but does that mean PC gaming is "dead"?

Surely not.

Come to think of it, there's a lot I can say about the PC gaming scene. But this post is quite long and meandering already so I'll just stop here.

Oh by the way, my notebook's MS Vista Home Basic finally got updated to Service Pack 1 without crashing. The update seems to have fixed my random blue screen of death crashing problem...

Have a nice weekend!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Dua Kali Lima

I've been meaning to write an entry about a particular sickness that affects our otherwise fine country for ages now.

That sickness is racism.

I've been thinking about what exactly to write. It's a difficult subject. One wrong word or misconstrued sentence and the whole post could come off as being incredibly crass and biased.

I read blogs and forums and of course I read the papers. In forums for example, it depresses me to read arguments and accusations of racism by both Bumi and non-Bumi people. Somebody brings up "ketuanan" and "hak istimewa bumiputera" and another will accuse that of being oppressive. Then someone else will bring up the "social contract" and how some people are ungrateful. Then somebody else will bring up NEP and how the playing field is not level and later someone else will rebut saying a "level" playing field will destroy bumiputera people.

After that, the whole thing degenerates into slanging matches and people asking other people to "go home" to their "mother/fatherland" and some other people will say that certain people are lazy and only depend on handouts. Some people insist that if God forbid Malaysia goes to war, the non-bumi people will abandon the country and won't defend it.

For the record, I think that's really stupid. But that's not the point of this post. The point is the disease of racism itself.

Many people believe that the government is responsible.

I say it's not really 100% true. Yes, when comes to unity and stuff like that the government could do more. But as is the usual case, that's only half of the story.

Racism is a social problem and it all boils down to perception. As usual, there's two sides to a story.

Some people, non-Bumiputeras especially accuse the government of being racist due to policies such as NEP and quotas in public service and education. They say it's almost impossible for a Chinese person for example, to work in the government sector. Even if that person gets in, it's nearly impossible to get promoted.

The government don't play fair and only favour Bumis. They won't help non-Bumi at all.

I've heard many, many tales of discrimination involving the government and the public service.

So is it true that the government discriminates against non-Bumi? Or is it just perception?

I'm going to stick my neck out and say, yes it is actually true and not just perception. Having seen and experienced it myself I'm going to say it does happen.

Anyone who reads blogs and/or has non-Bumi friends/relatives will have heard this a million times. So are Bumis and the government the bad guys? The boogie men?

No. Not just them.

Bumi people also got their stories of discrimination by non-Bumi. Many of the Dayak and Malay people I know accuse non-Bumi of being racist, Chinese people being the villain in many of these stories. Not surprising since there aren't many Indians in Sarawak.

Bumi people accuse Chinese people of being racist due to the way they conduct their business. They say that's nearly impossible to find work in a Chinese company. Even if you do get hired, it's nearly impossible to get promoted.

The Chinese business community don't play fair and only favour Chinese. They won't help Bumis at all.

So is it true that the Chinese business community discriminates against Bumi? Or is it just perception?

I'm going to stick my neck out and say, yes it is actually true and not just perception. Having seen and experienced it myself I'm going to say it does happen.

See what I did there? What's the conclusion?

We like to blame other people but how often do we look at ourselves. We say "the other people" started it first? Is it true?

We like to say the politically right thing and say we want to be united and together as one people. Really? Or is that just poppycock.

We aren't united because we are all bloody racist. All of us. Pot and kettle, both black. Or yellow. Or whatever.

How about you? Are you racist? If you open a business will you hire someone who doesn't speak your language? If you work for government would you recommend someone for promotion without looking at religion/race?

Will you be fair? Are you able to make friends across racial/religious lines? By that I mean REAL friends whom you will gladly die to defend. Not just window dressing.

Everyone will say yes because we are Malaysians and we are all nice people. In reality, most people will only look out for their own. Because other people can't be counted to be fair to us.

Isn't it? That's a reasonable excuse. Right? After all, the "others" are more powerful/richer/bigger/cleverer/etc than us. "Other" people are all rich towkay/have NEP benefits and free stuff from government. Not fair for us. No need for us to care about them. Right?

We like to blame "the other side" and accuse them of making life difficult for us.

But look deeper. Our country is fucked up because of us and all the racist biases and prejudices we inherited from our own respective cultures.

When is it going to stop going round and round?

So what do we do now? Your first instinct is to insist the "other people" change first isn't it? In that case, no need to talk about this anymore. Nothing changes then.

This needs to stop and immediately. Look at ourselves. Do we have the guts to do it differently than those before us or are we just passing the buck along.

Don't depend on the government and don't depend of NGOs, organisations, business people etc.

Only WE can do something about this. Yes. Us. Not politicians. Not some big wig. Not some rabble rouser.


Ask yourself. Are you going to stop being a racist asshole today?

We only have ourselves to blame for supporting and empowering the divisions that we see in our country today. You decide what kind of society you want to live in and answer that question yourself...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

It's Nearly August...

...and I have nothing particular to write about.

I'm at work today and it's almost time to go home. It was a very quiet day. Quiet days are ok but they are boring as hell. So we spent the whole days telling jokes.

It's no wonder certain people in other departments envy us.

Anyway, I can't think of anything to write so I'll imbed a Youtube video instead. It's Megadeth's Holy Wars...The Punishment Due. One of my favourite metal numbers. A brilliant song.

Incidentally, just now I was having a smoke break and I talked about music with my friend here. We talked about jamming and being in bands. Ahh... Those were the good ole days.

Good times, good times...

Sunday, July 27, 2008


One of the most exasperating things about my job is dealing with people with poor phone manners.

It's incredibly annoying when people call to ask for help but fail to identify themselves and fail to mention what their problem is. When I ask what the problem is, they say something generic and cryptic like, "Oh my computer is down", which could mean anything. So I go and ask,"What do you mean actually, is the computer on? Can you log in?"

The answer? "The computer is down lah. Come and fix it right now!".

See? I ask for more details and they either say something completely unrelated or refuse to say and just ask me to go to see them. This is dumb. We can do most things remotely. We have the tools. There's no need for me to waste time and walk all the way (sometimes it can be very far away).

It's amazing how some people seem to not know how to speak and describe things properly. Maybe they expect as to use telepathy and read their minds. You know because IT department is trained at Hogwarts and we have magical powers like remote sensing and telekinesis and the ability to go back through time to find out what someone did to something like... two weeks ago. (Actually, in certain situations I can find out what happened two weeks ago...).

Sometimes I wish I did have magical powers. That way, I can enchant dumb people and give them a temporary boost in brain power so that they can give me the information I need to actually help them. Or turn them into stone. Whatever.

Sometimes we get calls about stuff that isn't even related to us. Apparently for some people, IT folks have such magicks as to be able to solve all manner of problems.

I realize that not everyone is computer literate and for some people, computer stuff really is like arcane magic but some of stuff I get asked is downright ridiculous. The frigging computer is an electrical appliance people. There's no magic there.

Some people say that computers and technology have a way of turning otherwise normal, intelligent people into gibbering zombies. I can tell you this is true. A person could be lucid and normal one minute but the very moment they are within 6 feet of computer equipment, their brains turn to jelly. Apparently this affects their speech. And hearing. And the ability to understand simple queries. Questions like,"What do you see on your screen?" and "Who is this?/What is your name?"

Maybe it's the radiation from their monitors...

Am I being unreasonable? How can I reasonable be when people insist on being stupid everytime they call IT.

We IT people aren't very popular around here for being asshats and trolls but it's hard not to be when we're surrounded by idiots who can't follow simple instructions and can't describe things properly. Even my otherwise jovial, bubbly female colleague gets pissed off at them.

Maybe it's the chemicals. Or is it just a coincidence that we get the dumbest calls from inside the production floor? The idiocy there can reach epic proportions. I seriously wonder how they manage to work with all those dangerous machines and chemicals without killing themselves.

How hard is it to speak coherently when you are talking on the phone? Very hard apparently.


Saturday, July 26, 2008





Wait a minute. It's not August yet. And not September either. What's with the State Flags then?

It's because of July 22. Embarrassingly enough for myself and my Sarawakian nationalist tendencies, I didn't know what happen on July 22 1963.

It was Independence day. Not 16 September when Malaysia came into being. July 22 was the day the UK officially handed over administration to local authorities. For a while at least, we were actually an independent country.

The state government is going to celebrate our 45th anniversary all year round. I'm all for it. I'm not entirely convinced that our younger people know enough of our history (and by "our" I mean Sarawak, not Malaysia). Yes, we are part of Malaysia but our story is different.

We are different no matter how hard some people try to make us the same as states in Semenanjung. This is not a bad thing although I do understand why certain people would feel that it is so.

We will always be different. One country sure, but there will always be us and there will always be them. Different. We will always be Sarawakians first.

I'm not surprised that there are some people who insist that this is a waste of money. I guess some people don't understand the importance of remembrance. The past makes us who we are today. Who we are makes us unique within and without the context of Malaysia. We need to reflect and remember.

These next few months is a good time to reflect on how far we have gone since then and how far we will go.

If I were to start writing about what it means for me to be Sarawakian, I would never finish this post.

The short version?

I'm proud to be from here and I'm proud of my home. I'm proud of all my people and it honours me to be among them. Especially these days of political turmoil and uncertainty. These days of racial and religious tension within the country.

When it comes to peace, tranquility, unity and harmony Sarawakians lead the way. There is no need for some government big wig to come down and talk of "Perpaduan" here. Those are just words. Here, it's a way of life. It's always been like that. It will always be that way, God willing.

On a social level in modern times, Sarawak has never had any serious tensions amongst her own. We can all be justifiably proud of this fact.

It's not to say that there is no problems at all here. Only a blind fool would say that. There will always be problems, both social and political.

We have some minor racial issues every now and then. Our government isn't the most transparent and our politicians aren't the cleanest lot. We suffer from poor treatment by the Federal Government. We have issues with cronyism and corruption.

But so far, we have never allowed our problems and conflicts with each other to tear us apart. At the end of the day, despite our little frictions and disagreements we are all one people. Sarawakians.

Hopefully we can solve what problems we may encounter and be even better in the future.

Sarawak is a beautiful place and I will always be loyal to her, first and foremost.

May God bless our home and may we live long and prosper, no matter what happens.