BMW Sorento Or Kia X5?
Saturday, January 29, 2005
What do you get when you fuse an RM400,000 (estimated, 2003 model, 3.0L) BMW X5...


With an RM190,000 (estimated, 2004 model, 3.5L V6) Kia Sorento?

KIA Sorento


BMW Grille

I don't know what to call it (BMW Sorento, Kia X5... etc). Make no mistake, IMHO the Kia Sorento is a very nice 4x4. Essentially, this is still a Kia Sorento, despite having being "fused" with an X5. Only the kidney grille (on the Kia) resembles that of BMW's. Looks good, undoubtedly. But given the money, I'd keep the Sorento as it is - minus the BMW kidney grille.

The emblems and and the model's name at the back of the Kia are usually removed, too. I wonder who're the owners trying to fool! To the owners' credit, they leave the car totally unmarked (no emblems, no badges, no logos) - maintaining anonimity. That's still okay. Yesterday, I saw one with a grille like that, plus (!!) a BMW badge on the bonnet (just right above, between the kidneys - like the X5's). *faints*

By the way...
Incest Cases Are On The Increase
Last year, 334 young girls were raped by their fathers, stepfathers or close relatives. (Increased by 76 percent from the year before). Johor came up tops, closely followed by Sabah, and Selangor. Victims are mostly young Malay girls aged below 16. (Reports NST Online.)
Buttocks Tell Stories
Smack me but I've been up since 5.40am this morning. I slept early, and this auto-wake up mode was not intentionally switched on in me. I wish I could doze back off, but the little angel sitting on my (left? right?) shoulder kindly reminded me that I've an exam this coming Wednesday. So I spent some time revising. Completed a chapter, and I'm beginning to tear as a result of multiple yawns. But before I slump into bed again, I spent some time checking mails (supposedly) and came across this:

Buttocks - They can reveal a person's sexuality and tempter. (Purely for fun reading).

Needless to say that buttocks are one of the sexiest body parts. Nothing seems more attractive to men than women's backsides in tight jeans.

As for women, the majority of them pay attention to men's buttocks first and foremost - they find them much more appealing than anything else that a man can boast of. A man with a nice muscular butt is considered to be strong, persistent and enduring in bed. A girl with a cute little round bottom is sexually active, albeit material and unkind.

Symmetrical wrinkles underneath the buttocks stand for reliable, steady and calm individuals, whereas asymmetrical wrinkles expose selfish and greedy people. Those who have buttocks with so-called "ear-like bulges" on both sides are usually faithful people in love and marriage. Men and women with such buttocks are hopelessly mediocre individuals, though. Girls with saggy square-shaped buttocks are very kind in their nature: they make very good wives and careful mothers.

Those people, whose left buttock is larger than the right one, have to contract marriage as early as possible - it is terribly unhealthy for them to stay single. On the other hand, the people, whose right buttock is larger than the left one, will have to face a lot of serious problems in their lives (career problems for men and child birth problems for women).

Hairy buttocks speak for very kind and agreeable people, although they also expose their genetic predisposition to illnesses of pelvic organs, first and foremost. One should also bear in mind the fact that parents, who have hairy buttocks, give birth to psychologically unbalanced, short-tempered children.

The combination of red hair on the head and black hair on the buttocks may occur for talented and highly emotional people. Grey bottom hair is a vestige of premature impotence for men, whereas red hair reveals their depraved nature.

Birthmarks on the upper area of the buttocks can be usually found with courageous and passionate people. If a person is too serious and reticent, he or she might have birthmarks in the middle part of the buttocks. A lower positioning of a birthmark testifies to problems with potency and procreation. Those individuals, who have a birthmark or two between the "cheeks" are destined to enjoy many years of creation and sex.

One must have probably noticed the increasing number of healers, who tell people's lives by their buttocks. Such "experts" say that the left intimate cheek hides the information about the past, while the right cheek tells of a person's talents and potential abilities.

I've read about the "muscular butt is considered strong, persistent and enduring in bed" thing, somewhere else some years back. I guess that point is credible! As for (all) other points... I have totally no idea. It's funny to read, though.

Btw, it must be damn difficult to inspect our butts ourselves - heck, you'll probably need mirrors, and uhm, maybe do a lil of stretching first cuz hey, you wouldn't wanna risk twisting your back while checking out your own butt. I haven't noticed birthmarks anywhere on my butt (or more precisely, haven't been REALLY observant), but I'd love to discover a birthmark on the upper area of my butt (since such a birthmark is said to make a person courageous and passionate).

And oh, certainly wouldn't mind one or two between the "cheeks" too. Heheh.

Apparently sourced from Fark.Ru, via

Also from LittleSpeck...
Sex Toys - Arousing Prim Singapore
According to this, women are more impressive when it comes to buying their paraphernalias. They tend to be frank with their sexual needs, and ask direct questions.

"For example, when buying a vibrator, they want to know the intensity of the vibration, so that they can get the exact piece they need".

The same, however, cannot be said about men. They fear to be seen buying or asking how they (the toys) work.
The Pomp And Glitzy Prom Nights
Sunday, January 23, 2005
Apple was telling me about her Law Nite, and that she has bought her outfit for the night. Yes you can read about it in her blog, of course ;D. Her Law Nite is to be attended by reps from law firms; among them big shots, I suppose! It sounds bizarre, really; and it reminds me of the kind of "Nite"s my university has, from ISS (International Student Society) Nite to FOM (Faculty of Management) Nite, to our own E-Nite (Engineering). Yeah, funny-sounding "Nite"s (or "Nights" - to be frank, I don't give a damn about spelling. And I'm positive that I've gotten some of the spelling wrong), but all of them have a common similarity.

Like a typical prom night, these events feature a dinner, performances, votes for the best this-and-that, speeches, and they usually have dancefloors opened towards the end. It is also during this time (when the dancefloors are opened) that the VIPs (usually Deans, Associate Deans, lecturers) are thanked for their presence and participation in the event - in other words, they're saying "That's all folks, it's time to go home!". And once the big guys are gone, the dancefloors are swarmed by couples who dance to the accompanying music.

Now let's talk about "voting for the best this-and-that". In my experience (I mean from attending these kinda events, not from receiving prizes/awards), I've come across the Best Dressed Male, Best Dressed Female, Best Couple, Best Hairdo (Female/Male)... can't remember most of the rest, so here're some typical ones. I faintly recall having heard the announcement for the Most Photogenic Girl, although I'm not quite sure. Btw, my housemates recently talked about "being photogenic" - I know, I know. Don't start with me. Some photogenic people are really beautiful in flesh, too, okay? But uhm, given the choice, I would still rather not be 'crowned' Mr Photogenic (not that I'm one, anyway) ;D

Performances is another thing. I've come across crappy band performances where the members headbanged and hopped like Skippy (the kangaroo) on stage. I mean, blame it on my poor appreciation of this genre... but the organisers should have run a thorough audition and select the appropriate performances. There're places where heavy metal does not appeal to audience, and events like these are one of them. Try it in some rock concert down town and maybe the music would be better appreciated that way. A good performance (not to mention an entertaining one) is whereby its music is appropriate, and sounds good to the general audience (and not just a select group of rock fanatics).

People who attend these glitzy nights usually turn up h-o-t. Singletons take advantage to date their crush, while couples appear with their usual partners (not like they have much choice anyway, right ;p). I meant hooked up couples, as in the famous pairs and lovebirds, y'get what I mean. Don't be surprised to see a relationship booming right after a night of courtship - in this case, the prom night. What I'm saying is that, prom nights may also mark the beginning of a new chapter for some people. While it's not necessary to attend with a partner, many actually consider that idea.

For the singletons who don't plan to date anyone, but just attend singly - it's just another night with food and performances. Most of them prefer to sit with their friends, so they reserve the whole table. Me? Me has been to nights like these no less than two times, and I attended solo, everytime. And why is that? You tell me!

By the way...
Where Sex Traffickers Are King
In Cambodia, they're protected by police, and they sell teenage girls. (Insightful read:'s latest article)
Ghost Tips At Hotels
Saturday, January 22, 2005
I got this via email (forwarded):


Message title: Ghost Tips at Hotels

OK, here's some believes of the hoteliers:

Every single hotel, there shall be at least a permanent room which should be left vacant at all times. No matter how full the hotel is, they are not to sell that room(s) to any guest. It was said that special room was "reserved" for those "special visitors".

So, if you plan to stay in some hotel, always book in advance. Try to avoid walk in. If the receptionist told you there's no more room available, do not insist one anymore or try to bribe them to give you a room. If you do that, most of the time the room you have will be that "special room". Sometimes those "special visitors" might go to other rooms also, so here's some tips on how to protect yourself:

1. Before entering your room, always knock on the door first, even you know the room is vacant.

2. After you enter the room, if you felt very cold suddenly and have "chicken spore", leave the room quietly immediately and go to reception to request to change room. Most of the time the receptionist
will understand what's happening.

3. After you enter the room, immediately switch on all of the lights, and open the curtain to let the sun light in.

4. Before you go to bed, arrange your shoes so that one of them is upside down. Some say this is representing yin & yang to protect you while you're asleep.

5. Always leave at least a lamp on while you're sleeping, preferably the toilet's lamp.

6. If you're staying alone and they have give you a twin bed, do not sleep with the other bed vacant, try to put your things like luggage on the other bed before you sleep.


Take note that for item number (2), "chicken spore" means goose bumps. It's the first time I hear of such things. I mean, I've heard about the spooky hotel stories and all, but tips and measures to be taken by patrons? It's a first for me. To a certain extent, I think this is all crap. But tell me if you think otherwise.

By the way...
Welcome Aboard
I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome two of my friends who hopped onto the blogwagon, my housemates Steph and Elaine. Check 'em out!
Living With Sinus Headaches
Friday, January 21, 2005
My sinus attacks seem to be part of my life now. Some people live with it for years, before finding the right kind of cure. I learnt online that sinus headaches can be relieved by b reathing hot, moist air - think about sitting in front of a bowl of hot water. The idea is to drain the nasal passage. Sinus headaches are caused when the sinuses ducts connecting any of the sinuses, swell up. This swelling causes pressure in the membrane lining of the nasal passages and this cause the discomfort and pain. Usually, pain occurs around my face, behind my eye, head and it extends all the way to behind my neck (upper).

I'm getting the headaches as frequent as 5-6 times a week. Usually strikes around 10am, the headaches last about 40 minutes to an hour. When I'm lucky, I don't get any headaches for the whole day. I'm still adapting to this new 'lifestyle'. When it comes, I only hope it goes away quickly. Unfortunately for me, during each attack, it always seemed to last for ages. There's nothing much I can do about it, except avoid lying down. But sometimes it comes at night, and I've no choice but to just sleep with it - even though it's difficult.

An ENT specialist prescribed me with some decongestant, to allow better drainage of my nasal passages. Unfortunately, probably due to allergy, I got side effects from using the decongestant. And to be frank, my condition never really improved anyway. It's most likely because the "stuffy" area is very deep, and whatever nasal spray that I was using couldn't reach it inside. Anyway, immediate consultation is not my option now. Since many people are leaving with sinus headaches everyday, I think (and I hope) I can bear this, instead of blowing hundreds of ringgit for treatment.

While money is not an issue, everyone seems to be advising me about changing my lifestyle, sleeping habits and things like that. Well hey, I'm the one bearing the pain, do you think I would do anything that might worsen my condition? Of course I'm doing all I can by taking logical steps, such as opening up the windows to allow better ventilation when I sleep, going to bed early to avoid straining my eyes (I've even been told that the pain might be related to my eyesight, although the optometrists say my eyes are okay), and other measures that seem logical.

When my headache strikes, I'm easily distracted. My mood changes, and I talk less. Of course, right? Man I'm bearing pain you know. If I'm in the middle of a lecture, my concentration is affected as well. But there was one day when I was being my usual self during a headache strike - I was helping Elaine with her computer and her new blog. I realised that I could joke, and continue talking about certain things. That said, I guess it's good to get my mind off thinking about the pain. I mean, it helps by not thinking about it too much. I didn't think much about the pain, and before I knew it, it was already gone.

By the way...
Singapore Awaits the A380's First Flight
With Singapore Airlines being the first airline in the world to accept the A380 for commercial service, I came across this picture. It's the A380 donning SIA's paintwork.

The A380 with Singapore Airlines colors

"The A380-800 - Flightcrew of two. Standard seating for 555 passengers on two decks in a three class arrangement. Qantas plans to fit its aircraft with 523 seats (in three classes). A380 has 49% more floor area but only 35% more seats (in 555 seat configuration) than the 747-400, allowing room for passenger amenities such as bars, gymnasiums and duty free shops. Cargo capacity 38 LD3s or 13 pallets." (Excerpt taken from


Bars, gymnasiums and duty free shops? Awesome! Btw, if you think you know the A380 well enough, try the A380 IQ Quiz! (Taken from A380: The Reveal.)
Weekend Drive - An Impreza WRX
Monday, January 17, 2005
Jason called up and suggested that we went for a test-drive. He test-drove a Porsche 911 Carrera S (for fun) the week before, and I guess he go hooked on test-driving new cars now. No we're not doing what Marc Gene (BMW Williams' F1 test driver), we're just time-killers and thrill seekers. I asked, "What car?", to which he replied, "Subaru". I was like, holy cow... Subaru Impreza WRX? Almost drooling now, my heart was already hammering in excitement. At approximately 1.30pm, we left for Mont Kiara - where the Scooby's at.

Upon arrival, we noticed that the place was so packed that we couldn't find a parking place. Okay, we were thinking about the free parking by the roadside, outside. With little luck, we resorted to paying RM2.50 to park in the basement of Plaza Mont Kiara. There were two cars; the Subaru Forester (Subaru's Airtrek equivalent) and the Impreza. A small crowd was seen ogling at the Impreza, while a couple was about to take the Forester out for a test-drive.

We were told to wait for the supervisor to return (from the Forester test-drive). While waiting, we took a look at some dogs for sale...

Jason with a tiny dog on display

Not exactly related to cars but, I thought the dog was small enough to worth a mention. Anyway, after a long anticipation, it was finally our turn to drive the Impreza. Jason didn't know Imprezas are manual-only, and that kinda freaked him out. He told me to go first, while he decides whether or not to try. So I thought "Okay, here goes"! The salesperson left the door open and gestured that I quickly get into the driver's seat - cuz the car was blocking traffic.

Our ride of the week!

That's our ride, the silver Impreza WRX bearing "WRX" on its front and back. Didn't take many pictures, sorry - I didn't wanna look stupid snapping pics like I've never seen a car before, although it's not everyday that I get to drive an Impreza...

Jason sat beside me in the car, while a sales guy sat behind. Calmly, I adjusted the seat and the rear view mirror. While trying my best to quickly adapt to the environment (and the view - boy, that huge air-scoop on the bonnet!), I floored the clutch and prepared to move. Carefully (of course, I didn't know how the clutch would behave!), I released the clutch and accelerated. Woo-hoo! I got the Scooby moving already.

At the junction (towards the main road), I turned on the blink blinks ala Asian cars - right-hand side. The wipers were suddenly activated! Feeling stupid, I quickly turned them off and correctly switched on my flashes. No thanks to the ultra-quiet sales guy. The clutch was very stiff. The sales guy revealed that had we driven the WRX STi, the clutch would be even stiffer! I cannot imagine flooring a piece of hard rock for each gear shift.

Century sprint was claimed to be under 6 seconds, although I didn't really try achieving that. Firstly, I wasn't familiar with the Scooby's stiff clutch. If I were to try, I'd risk smoking the tyres! Considering close to 300Nm of torque is channeled to all four wheels on tap, an exhilarating take-off wouldn't be too difficult. Instead of doing a hard standstill acceleration, I did a 'rolling start' version - Brought it up to speed, feeling the force of being pushed against our seats. It seemed effortless - the car was very responsive. This also means that overtaking other vehicles is a breeze.

Unlike its STi brother, the tamed WRX did not have Brembo callipers. Nevertheless, its brakes were awesome enough to wow me. I mean, hey, it was my first time driving such a performance car! The short LDP stretch was an ideal playground. Traffic was good, and we had all three lanes to ourselves on the way back - on which we went up to somewhere around 140km/h, before braking hard to turn back towards Plaza Mont Kiara. It wasn't a very comfortable ride actually - it picked up lil bumps easily. Probably it was necessary for the absorbers to be tuned that way - in order not to compromise handling. I don't know.

Wind noise was minimal, despite the frameless doors. With thick windows and rubbers, we were told that the rubbers "vacuumed" the edges of the windows, preventing leakage as well as wind noise. Back in Plaza Mont Kiara, I reluctantly undid my seatbelt and got out. Jason, upon noticing the satisfaction carved on my face, decided that he, too, wanted to drive it. But we had to wait for the next round because there were already people waiting for their turn. The next time around, I was on the passenger seat, admiring the super-basic interior of the Impreza.

I forgot how much the WRX costs, Jason kept the brochure and the price list. Heck, we were not exactly interested anyway. All we wanted was some thrills in an Impreza. But a check on-line revealed that the WRX costs at least a good RM200,000. For technical specs, try this site. For more pictures, go here (albeit an STi version). For the record, the STi version is a souped-up version of the WRX - more horsepower as well as torque. It looks more aggressive too, most notable is the huge (high) wing at the back.

Here's a look at the WRX's side (and alil bit of its rear):

The Subaru Impreza WRX on display

After our test-drives, we adjourned to Naza - to ogle at some good rides, heh heh!

By the way...
'Aviator' Lands Golden Globe Glory
Leonardo DiCaprio won the dramatic award for The Aviator at the Golden Globes. (Reports CNN)

Police will be knocking on the doors of more than 4,000 motorists in the city for not settling traffic summonses. (On NST Online.)
The Engine Wouldn't Fire Up!
Saturday, January 15, 2005
I was out for dinner with my sisters when the car died on me. With bloated tummies, we were about to leave the restaurant when the car just wouldn't start. Okay, my fault for turning the ignition key too quickly (right after I inserted it). But then past experiences told me that the car would start just fine anyhow! It doesn't have much electronics in it. Must be one of its tantrum-throwing exercise... It's a temperamental car, alright.

Okay, so there we were, without the air-cond, all four doors closed, thinking what to do next. After all, it's not an everyday occurrence (*touchwood*) - we needed time to digest what was happening. I tried several times - and each time the alarm set off. I don't know how many passers-by turned heads, but we sure didn't look like thieves. We knew the battery was still okay, because there was light in our car. The radio and power windows were still functioning.

Upon noticing that the retries (firing up the engine) didn't work, sis popped her next question, "Eh, you got your AAM membership card with you or not?"

I replied: "Yeah, in my wallet".

So she read the phone number on the sticker (on our windscreen) and I dialled from my phone. All was well, except that the guy on the other side of the line seemed kinda blur. I don't blame him - I spoke in English. I mean, it would seem rude to switch languages halfway - he might think "What, you think I can't understand English?". I tried my best to speak as clearly as possible, telling him my name and membership number. It's a supplementary card, by the way, under Dad's account.

After the conversation, Sis used her phone and called Mom to inform. We stood and watched the cars that passed by, trying to spot the yellow AAM van. Suddenly Sis said, "Neh, come already". I checked the time, it was barely 20 minutes.

I told the AAM guy our problem, and he tried starting the car. It had to be the battery. After a quick check (where he whipped out a cool torch light whose power was sourced from my car battery), he concluded that the battery's cable was loosely in contact with one of the terminals. All he did was tightening up the connection area and told me to try starting the engine.

It worked like wonder! He explained that the next time this happens, it'll most probably due to the loose connection (pointed towards the said area). Did some paperwork, presented my membership card and signed the service form. From the phone call until the signing of the form, it didn't take more than half an hour. Now how efficient is that?

AAM = Automobile Association of Malaysia

By the way...
Don't Fear Women Empowerment
"Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Saturday that one should not fear the emancipation and empowerment of women as it is beneficial to humankind and society as a whole." A step to gender equality in Bolehland? (Story on Bernama.)
The Day The Lights Went Out
Okay, everyone has been talking about the power failure. In fact, I was so damn excited that I told myself I'd blog about it. But that didn't happen on the same day. For one, my desktop runs on Tenaga Nasional-supplied power. When the power came back on, I was already out. That left little time for me to sit down and compose my text.

Firstly, the fans. While I was preparing to leave my house, the power went out and I was almost drenched in sweat. Okay, a little exaggerated there. But hey, it was really hot. What more, with my hair gelled and all nicely-dressed up, I sure didn't want patches of sweat to be visible on my shirt. So I had to get out as soon as possible, and enjoy the aircond in my car.

I was supposed to drive to Cyberjaya from home. And as I was about to grab the car keys, I realised that both cars were parked in the car porch! Mom managed to open one side of the gate, and was having difficulty maneuvering one of the cars through the gap. It was a tight opening, but possible - as the width of the gap was just slightly larger than the width of both cars. So I offered to do it and carefully, I got both cars out of the porch - safely. *Grinning*

Outside, the traffic light junction was chaotic! Cars from all 4 directions (some even making U-turns) were caught in an entanglement. It was bad... At one point I thought I was going to be stucked for 10 minutes at least. Luckily I was "trained" to drive "aggresively", or to be exact: I occasionally pick up Sis from her school, where you really have to get used to the ridiculous traffic conditions. You gotta be aggresive to just keep moving - So there I was, closely tucked behind the car in front of me, to avoid "breaking" the "chain".

Got past the first hurdle in less than 5 minutes, and proceeded to the Puchong Toll Plaza. On my way there, the radio DJ announced that the "Top News of The Hour" couldn't be aired due to a massive power failure in the Klang Valley. I thought it was cool. I mean, classes could be cancelled/postponed because of this! (hehe). Nevertheless, I headed towards my campus to check out if there were lectures.

Along the way, all traffic lights were out. Fortunately, none of them was as jammed up as the first one I encountered. After parking my car in the parking bay behind the library, my roommate called to inform that classes had been cancelled due to power failure. I thought, "Damn! I knew it!". So we all headed back to our condo, and cracked our heads thinking what could be done. When I walked into my room, I (subconsciously) turned on the switch (for the fan), which made me looked kinda silly. Hello, there's no electricity right?

When I wanted to bathe, again the same thing happened. Now how many times must my "subconscious mind" stupify me? When the lights (bathroom lights) didn't turn on, I tried bathing in the dark. FYI, the bathroom was inside - and not anywhere near the windows or glass doors (where light could come in). So it was really dark. I actually tried to close the door and turned on the tap. Then...

"Where the hell is my Shokubutsu?!!"

I couldn't possible bathe like that - couldn't see nuts! As my roommate was also facing the same problem (btw, the girls were out, then. So it was only me and my roommate in the house), we came up with a brilliant solution. He bathed in the bathroom in the master bedroom, with the bathroom door open (so that light could come in). To avoid me peeping him (not that I wanted to, just a sense of security - for him, y'know what I mean), he locked the master bedroom's door. With him bathing in the master bedroom, I could bathe with the door open now (without worrying about embarrassment). So there we were, each bathed with our bathroom doors opened.

It was kinda fun, too. I mean, I don't even remember the last time I bathed with doors wide open! Yesterday's "stunt" was a first in many, many years for me. Soft winds gushed into the bathroom to remind me that the door was open, as I lathered my hair and body with shampoo and soap. Being nude never felt so "exposed".

By the way...
Mammals Ate Dinosaurs
"Scientists have discovered a 130-million-year-old fossil that indicates early mammals fed on young dinosaurs." (Story on Aljazeera.Net)

MID-DAY BLACKOUT: 'It has happened. Should not have happened. Cannot happen.'
Pak Lah was midway through a meeting when the lights went out. He and the rest of the participants adjourned for a candle-lit lunch. Making light of eating in semi-darkness, he said: "Fortunately, the fish I ate had no bones." (Story on NST Online.)

Indonesia seeks permanent peace with rebels in tsunami-hit Aceh
Continuing my coverage on sending our 18-year old NS trainees to Aceh, I found a related article. An excerpt reads: "Indonesia said Friday it was seeking a lasting peace with separatists in Aceh province, where security concerns over a long-running civil war are affecting efforts to aid tsunami survivors." (More on ChannelNewsAsia.)

Scattered corpses and civil war. To our NS trainees, you sure you wanna do this??
The Malaysian Chinese - Kiasu-ism In Education
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Are Chinese kiasu in general, or is it just the Singaporeans? I think Malaysian Chinese are sometimes quite kiasu themselves - literally means "afraid to lose". Most Chinese parents hope that their kids grow up to be all-rounders (heck, I know most parents, regardless of race, also hope the same). But how many would actually "push" towards achieving that, even though it means forcing their kids to go to tuition centres as far as downtown? How many parents would actually make their kids take up piano lessons, even though the kids themselves aren't interested?

I think many Chinese parents are like that. It is often told (to the kids) that they'd regret it one day if they don't take up these extra lessons. When the parents (mothers, especially) get together for an evening chat (heck, or early morning in the market), more often than not they'd compare their children's school results - PMR results, latest ABRSM (Associated Board of the royal Schools of Music) results, SPM results, etc. The pressure is there, in the Chinese community itself. Parents aside, even the children themselves feel the pressure. Peer pressure, that is. If it isn't the peer pressure, it's usually the self-satisfaction and "natural kiasu-ism" that drive them to excel in studies - and outperform the rest. Kiasu-ism is evident in them when their results make a small drop (in points), the next thing you know they lock themselves in their rooms the whole day to make up for that drop.

Another factor that contributes to the kiasu-ism is the meritocracy issue in our country. Despite the relaxation on university quotas and such, most Chinese still believe that the competition is very tough - and that they need to outstand, outshine and outdo their Bumi counterpart in order to gain university acceptance. Other reasons include the perception on securing scholarships and study loans - they believe that it's not easy for a non-Bumi to get government scholarships and study loans. The Chinese believe that education is very important - in fact they'd go great lengths to ensure that their kids get the best possible education.

Some would travel to as far as the next town for tuition classes, others go to well-established schools in a different district - even if it means having to rise as early as 5.30am. Why, aren't schools around our own housing area good enough? When the children are young, the parents plan their education paths carefully - because like I said, education to them is very important. They make practically every decision there is to be made - from taking up art classes to learning martial arts, from taking music lessons to going for ballet classes. Luckily for them, their kids learn to enjoy and appreciate these extra lessons. But for others, it means dragging their crying children into the dance hall and make 'em wear the painful ballet shoes.

To the Chinese parents, having their kids grown up to be doctors, accountants, pharmacists and dentists mean alot to them. It's like bonuses - and the news would spread like wildfire across the family tree. From the first aunt to the last uncle, from the neighbour next door to distant relatives overseas, "Oooh, have you heard? Jane's daughter is now a surgeon and she's making six digits annually!". Other younger relatives (nieces, nephews, lil cousins) would then be told by their parents, "Nah, learn to be like Auntie Jane (or Jane Jie Jie), study hard and become a doctor when you grow up!". Admit it, this happens all the time. Kids as young as 3 or 4 years old are being piled with pressure - the pressure to study hard and make the family proud when they grow up.

That said, I believe that the Chinese community (I won't sweepingly say all of them, but many of them) here in Malaysia and Singapore share a similar trait - kiasu-ism, at least when it comes to studies and children's professions (when they grow up). So before you call others "kiasu", ask yourself if you're any better. Admittedly, I myself have this mentality - and I resorted to joining numerous school activities, even taking extra subjects - hoping that these "extras" could "beautify" my Sijil Berhenti Sekolah (School-Leaving Certificate?!?). Despite not achieving the "perfect" outcome (hehe), I was still satisfied nonetheless - at least I tried. I'm not ashamed of the kiasu-ism in me, because it somehow motivated me to do my best that I can, in whatever I do. But I practice kiasu-ism "moderately" (honest!!), in the sense that I accept failures and I don't go *all out* (but I make efforts, hehe) to improve (heck, I'm a lazy person). I think it's naturally in me - in fact I can also see it in most of my friends.

With Singapore being highly densed with Chinese, it's not surprising that kiasu-ism is evident there. But I believe that the Chinese here in Malaysia are not any better - again I'd like to stress, I'm only talking about education-wise!

By the way...
Opportunities Aplenty
It's wrong to believe that the Chinese often get sidelined when it comes to education aids. Scholarships are being offered everywhere - if you're really good, try applying. Apart from that, loans, too are becoming increasingly popular. The National Higher Educational Loan Fund (Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional, PTPTN) - sorry if English translation's inaccurate - for example, offers loans to Malaysian students. If you graduate with First Class, your PTPTN loan automatically becomes a scholarship. Generous, no? Besides that, the private sector is also much sought after when it comes to study loan applications. Worse come to worst, put off the idea (of studying) for a while, work until you earn enough - and then consider continue studying again (I learnt this from Big Bro, heh).

Safety Fears for Aid Workers in Aceh
Now this is scary. In view that our government is sending 18-year old NS trainess to Acheh, I would like to share this. Taken off Aljazeera.Net: "Indonesia has said it can not ensure the safety of aid workers outside some cities in tsunami-devastated Aceh, also the scene of a decades old civil war." Another excerpt: "For three decades separatist Gerakin Aceh Merdeka (GAM) - the Free Aceh Movement - has been fighting the government for independence for Aceh. At least 12,000 people have been killed in clashes."

To all Acheh-bound NS trainees, God bless you.

13-year-old Achieves Perfect SAT Score
"Pennsylvania boy follows his brother in achieving maximum 1600 in varsity-entry test." (Story on Note: SAT - Scholastic Aptitude Test
Astro Wah Lai Toi Drama Awards
Saturday, January 08, 2005
The Astro Wah Lai Toi Drama Awards is on now, as I'm blogging. Being a fan of TVB's drama series myself, I find the program rather... entertaining. "Entertain" is very subjective - let's see what made me burst out laughing, and what truly earned my admiration. As of *this* sentence, Flora Chan is belting out a tune - live telecast from Wisma MCA, Jalan Ampang. By the way, I always compose offline before I log into Blogger's servers.

The program kicked off with the introduction of several Hong Kong stars, plus our local beauty queen (crowned 2004 Miss Chinese Universe), 19-year old (20 this year, I suppose) Kepongian (or Kepongite, for that matter) Li Shiqi. Among the stars were Nancy Sit, Flora Chan, Jessica Hester Hsuan and Roger Kwok. They formed a line (about 8 of them, I forgot how many were there), and I immediately exclaimed, "Hah?! So few of them only ah?!".

The whole show (as far as I've noticed) wasn't spectacular. Firstly, the venue. I'd expected it to be held in the Arena of Stars in Genting, where Astro has organised numerous events there. This time around, I guess they were not expecting a huge turn-out. As the camera captured images of the hall, I noticed many empty seats. Having a not-so-big hall was bad enough, and the empty seats? They certainly could've done more to publicize this event. But then again, with the poor attendance of the stars... Maybe it's worth watching it from TV.

With each award (well, almost), the winner is announced by dancers, who held up a placard, where the winner's name is written on it. The dancers would dance for a coupla seconds, 10 seconds the most, before showing what's written on the placard to the audience. It made Astro such a cheapskate - the placards are easily done with cardboards and, the characters are, at most, printed using a laser jet printer (at most!). When the dancers first appeared, I thought, "Whaddahell?" Well, something different, you might say. Creativity, right?

Next, the awards. Remember the Oscar Statue? A coveted gold statuette man standing with a sword between his legs (hey, I'm not kidding!)? FYI, each of the statues were made up of tin, copper and antimony - and some other "secret" ingredients. The Astro's Wah Lai Toi Drama Awards were absolutely funny-looking. They seemed to be made out of cheap plastic, bulky, not to mention the weird design. Picture a sphere, slightly smaller than a sepak takraw, with four legs. On top of it, a pair of antennae sticked out - with a sphere (like a pingpong ball) at the end of each antenna. The colour? Transparent, blue - yes, you can see through. Picture a transparent Nokia casing - something like that.

In the show, I admired the stars greatly. Roger Kwok, Jessica Hester Hsuan and Nancy Sit performed a sketch on stage, it was hilarious - yet good. They were reenacting scenes from the ever-so-touching Square Pegs, in which Jessica and Roger starred. They were really good, but you might not be able to appreciate the sketch if you hadn't watched Square Pegs. It's brilliant - it won Roger the best male actor in 2003. Also noted was Charmaine Sheh's appearance. Charmaine Sheh? OMG...


She was not in the stars line-up at the beginning of the show, and her sudden appearance was unexpected (at least by me). There were also performances by the local singers (former participants of Astro Talent Quest), singing to the soundtracks of the various drama series. Among the award presenters was Siti Nurhaliza, who did a very good job on her part. Despite not understanding the language, she spoke with confidence in Malay, English, and Chinese too. She also sang a Chinese song, Yue Liang Dai Biao Wo De Xin (the moon represents my heart), which was credible.

By the way, as the show is approaching an end, I noticed that Flora Chan had bagged quite a number of awards - I hope she doesn't mind the bulky, ugly awards. Of course, to any performer, it's always an honour to be awarded - the prize doesn't matter, I suppose. Many award recipients couldn't come, so the awards had to be "kept" by a representative. The show hasn't ended, and I couldn't hold myself from posting this entry. Gee.

Did you watch the Astro Wah Lai Toi Drama Awards?

By the way...
Pitt and Aniston Announce Split
In a joint statement issued by Pitt's publicist, the two actors said they had decided to formally separate after seven years together. (Story here.)
After-School Noon Rush
Friday, January 07, 2005
It is without doubt that my "post-rate" has dropped significantly - I used to dish out about 2 posts each day when I first began! I've been pretty much busy with studies - classes and all, not to mention a coupla mind-relaxing outings, hehe. It's Friday - I was given the task to send food to my lil sis, and pick up the other. One's in a Chinese primary school, and another one in a secondary school. So being the responsible me, I dutifully accomplished the assigned "task(s)" - since I had no more lectures to attend for the rest of the day.

It had always been a routine (previous years) to pick up my sisters. Sometimes I would be on holidays, other times I just happen not to have any lectures on that particular day. Today marked my first day doing something different - we'll get to that part later. There's this thing with Chinese primary schools where students are required to stay back for extra classes, (brass) band practices, tuitions, etc. So more often than not, my lil sis has to stay back in school - it's not convenient to come home, we live relatively far from the school. In previous years, we'd wait at the gate for her to come out, and pass her her lunch.

You can imagine the traffic condition - many parents do this. They find a place to stop, read newspaper in the car and wait for the right time to pass their children their lunchboxes. And oh, did I say there's also a Malay primary school (my former school) next to this Chinese primary school? It can get really chaotic, especially when it rains. So back to the routine - we've to pass my lil sis her lunch (or pick her up, depending on which day), and then proceed to pick up my other sis from her school. This picking-up, noon rush is very common around here - among many families. This year, our "routine" has been changed alil.

This morning, I was "briefed" by Mom on the changes in practice this year. After the briefing, I set out to buy lunch for my lil sis. Found a nice parking lot, got down and dabao-ed rice. Oh, even though I don't usually buy the "minimum 50 cents parking ticket", today I found myself doing it. Reason? The parking ticket machine was just right in front of my car, in the parking lot. So I thought "what the heck!". Walking away from my car, I noticed other vehicles also had parking tickets on their dashboards. It was upposed to be that way, anyway. I also noticed one car with the parking ticket "faced down", which was equivalent with "not displaying at all". Anyway, it could've been an expired ticket, for all I care.

The significant change in practice was this: Leaving the food on the table, outside the guardhouse. This way, we needn't wait til the bell rings. Smart! When I arrived, the busy guard who was helping kids to alight (including schoolbags from the boot) from their cars told me to leave the food on the table. There was already quite a number of paperbags as well as plasticbags, with food inside, on the table - all with clearly written names and their respective classrooms to indicate which belongs to whom. I was told that thefts do occur, too. Mom said that some children would steal a piece (or two) of fried chicken if they noticed McD's plastic bag (despite hidden in a paperbag) there. I guess it's wiser to hide the food in a less attractive bag, then. But more importantly: Thieves among primary school children? You bet!

After leaving the plastic bag (name and classroom written on the outside, with marker pen!) on the table like everyone did, I walked back to my car and moved on to pick up my other sis. Traffic was relatively okay, compared to the usual days where you had to be really aggressive in order to keep moving - y'know what I mean. I reached my sis' school with about 10 minutes to spare, which was good. After school, we went for our lunch. My tummy had been growling the moment I dabao-ed for lil sis earlier.

By the way...
Light The Candle
Give words of encouragement to those who were affected by the recent Asian calamity here. Light a candle, show 'em you care.

Five Weirdest Court Victories of the Year
I was surfing my "references" links when I stumbled upon this article. It's the annual Stella Awards, named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald's. One of this year's entries is this: (At 5th place) "19 year old Carl Truman of Los Angeles won US$74,000 and medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his ! hand with a Honda Accord. Mr. Truman apparently did not notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal the hubcaps." (For the rest - there're more than 5, cuz some are tied - please visit

Translation: "dabao": Almost a general "Malaysian term" now, it simply means "take-away" or "pack" your food in Chinese.
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