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...