My Anthem

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Voices from Within

A former PM warns that Corruption has become a culture
The people Know who the lambs are, but Not the Vulture
He said 'twas corruption under the table
Now it's above the table level

My inner voice tells me somethin' is not right
SomeOne ruled for 22 years with claimed vision and and might
Telling us now that thatlong a gestation period from under to above
For that bug of corruption to finally come into sight

The Other Voice took office from November 1, two-Zero-OH-three
I for one had hoped he could attempt to set us a "little" free
For he vowed his team would fight Corruption tooth and nail
But alas the earlier Voice declared 'tis now on a higher scale

Somethin' somewher' is not right
Could it be me hard of hearing?
Or is it my Mr Average Citizen's heartstring
Fearful that that earlier Voice is Still/Steel/Steal Might?

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Passion with a Heart

GUEST BLOGGER Sabrina Tan honours us again with a message of hope from the Younger Generation. I hold high hopes that such Malaysians are not lost to more appreciative countries.



I feel like writing about compassion because it’s something that I have not seen for a while.

I have to admit that I am not the most compassionate person on earth. I could do better and I hope that I would improve on this arena. However I would hope to see that there are more compassionate people around.

This is a personal experience that I have just encountered recently:

It was a placid Tuesday afternoon. I was on rotation for outpatient clinics with 2 other colleagues of mine. We were supposed to do extractions and managing post operative problems for the rest of the afternoon.

We were waiting around for the past 20 minutes and then the receptionist came in a hurry and dumped a patient file onto the table. The three of us was excited including the supervisor who was in charge of us.

We opened up the file and there, under the heading “Medical History” it’s written—Hepatitis C positive.

For those of you who don’t know what is the big deal of Hepatitis C, it’s a blood-borne viral infection that would damage one’s liver irreversibly and there is no vaccine or cure for it. It could be transmitted easily by saliva or needle-stick injury, which is one of the most common route of infection for dentists.

All three of us were hesitant when we saw that. We were looking each other and none of us wanted to touch it. Immediately the other two, including my supervisor backed away from the file as if it had the disease itself. My supervisor then asked: “So, who wants to do it?”


“What about if I do the injection ( anaesthesia) and you guys do the extraction?”


I saw the file opened…and the only thing that strike out was HEPATITIS C POSITIVE

I felt so sad for this person….we have not even seen him…nor have we even talked to him….and already we have made a judgement….

I gathered that it’s not because we don’t feel sorry for the patient, but it’s because we FEAR. We fear of coming out of the comfort zone to go all out to help that less fortunate someone. We fear that we might get hurt ourselves just because we helped him.

And when we knew that he was a previous drug user, it probably made us fear even more.

I then volunteered to see the patient but with the emphasis that I am supervised throughout the whole procedure. My supervisor agreed to it and gave me the caution that I would have to take extra precautions while dealing with the patient’s saliva and blood.

The patient was a very compliant patient, probably because he knew of the discrimination of society and was probably more than grateful that we were willing to see him.

It makes me wonder that we as future health professionals, are we able to deal with these patients in real life?

What has happened to our compassion?

What about the doctors who swear the Hippocrates oath?

Into whatever houses I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of the sick--- Hippocrates Oath

In the context of every day life, can we shower more love to the people that needed us?

The friend, the neighbour, the mother, the father who have their unheard pleas.

Spare a little time for them, show them your compassion and show them that you cared.

Do unto others on what you would want others do to you.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Try to Remember

Today I received some bad news
Some sad news
I wish instead it was some glad news
Even mad news

But life is not always a smooth ride
We must learn to flow with the tide
There are dangers lurking
Accidents are always happening

Plans go awry
Someone fails to deliver
We still must try
Around corners to manoeuvre

Just exercise more care
Just watch every little step
When venturing out be more aware
Mind every minefield on the map

Just try to remember
To begin each day
With a little prayer
Of thanks we're still here
The morrow's cares can come later

So tonight
It's right
I shall remember

My friend in prayer

We have a rendezvous
We await September
'tis the season of sweet refrain
Friends -- That's when we'll meet again!

Desiderata especially remembers some GF (in the plural) -- some truly have treated me more than I've treated 'em as a Gem.Thanks.

Giving credit where credit is due, I was reading Sabri Zain's Face-Off in which the Inroduction quoted a line which is used at today's Post Title; more is shared here as it's that month of great personal significance in my life, young or old:

Try to remember the kind of September
When life was slow and oh, so mellow
Try to remember the kind of September
When grass was green and grain was yellow

Do you remember 2nd September? or 911? Just send me comments of what you remember of these two dates, will you?

Just Be Nice, You'll Get Your Rice!

Where have all the workers gone
They have found greener pastures
Now you find your projects undone
You resort to knee-jerk measures

Once you treated 'em like mum-to-be in labour pain
Now you welcome them back with touristy open arms
Once you boarded 'em up with whip and chain
Now you pat them on the back, greasing their palms

I mind the mindless shenanigans
The illegals mined the country's land
It was They who reaped the bargains
The Bosses and Leaders working glove-in-hand

Some 400,000 departed under the amnesty
For a swift, brief reunion with kith and kin
Now They want you back to man the majesty
Of their machines, tractors, and even the dustbin

They promise then you can apply for a work permit
Enjoy the charity and largesse of licenced hoods
Hey, friends from abroad beware the deceit
Behind the masks these wolves are wearin'
Squeezing thy precious blood, sweat and tearin'
To bring 'em out of Their dark, dank woods

We pretend we know not some 800,000 of 'em are still lurking
Illegal -- hunted like robbers and fiends -- in hiding,
Just Be Nice and be law-abiding, you can come out now,
Malaysia will Treat you like tourists with wine and music, wow!

The Leader says we don't have a security problem
Trust the Master's Word, you gave 'em the Vote, remember?
These YBs, Tan Sris&Datuks are all honourable men and women
They are Your country's bedrock of Integrity, to defend and treasure

To each and every noble-minded One
We must salute thee, for thy visionary leadership and sacrifice
For the national service Thou have done
Malaysians generally are obedient ones, Just Remain Nice
They'll at least guaranttee the citizens, nothin' less than white lies,oops,rice!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Steno Journalism - A Great Dis-May!

First a dedicatetion (on proofing, I'm leaving this TYPO as 'tis to show that I've no steno in my office! Can any newspaper office spare one?) to devoted Reader imran in Verse:

I've been in constant conversation
With an esteemed Reader called imran
He (could be a she?) noticed a "change in direction"
In Desiderata's daily postal terrain

I answer today in all humility
It's the Muse inspiring my Poetry
I return to the minefield of socio-politics today
After re-energising on the Magic and Music of May

Now a quiet return to Desiderata.CivilSociety post to assure that the "change in direction" is NOT permanent!

The Business Times within the NST today (May 26, 2005) devoted 2 pages to an exclusive interview with Bursa Malaysia's CEO Yusli Mohamed Yusoff with a bold header Wooing back the investors on B4 and Industry needs transformation on B5.

But as a reader, especially if one is a businessman on the run, the first question that comes to mind is: What's the news?

A hint is given in what in journalese is termed a Standfirst that reads:

BURSA Malaysia's chief executive officer, Yusli Mohamed Yusoff, gives his views on various issues affecting the stock market, investors and the trading community in an exclusive interview with Business Times Executive Editor (name) and journalists (2 names). The following is the first of a two-part series.

BT: What is the latest following your discussion with the Securities Commission (SC), brokers and banks after SC's launch of a probe into disruptive price movements on the market? What has the response been and has there been any improvement in this regard?

Dear Desiderata esteemed Readers:

I won't spoil the soup for you, go spend RM1.20 and see if you agree with me and turn to pages B4 and B5, and after reading a while, would you ask: What's the news?

The rest of the interview-article goes on in Q and A format in what I would call Steno Journalism. My educated guess is the News Editor body-guarded by two senior journalists would have spent several hours of the stock exchange's top gun and all we, the paying readers, are given is a TRANSCRIPT running two full pages! Hey, readers pay for the news of the day, not running a hide-and-seek in a forest of words to sift, siphon and come to a conclusion of what, where, why, when and who and How the NEWS is.

What's the News?

People in this Internet age have long hours for a romantic novel or Lord Byron's or Samad Said's poems (YL Chong's???); for news, they want it in short, tight Top-to-Bottom Inverted Pyramid style.

Or have these three journalists forgotten the 5Ws and 1H basis of news writing through advancing, and diminishing, years?

A few points to share from a newsman's point of view:

This mainstream newspaper has got good journalists, its standard of English used is still way above its main rival, but s-called journalists have forsaken the profession and craft, and resorted to PR (public realtions, not permanent residency!) practise to seek the comfort zone. Less work, less trouble, same money (may be some side benefits for the PR work done)and covering less potential mind-field.

I or even a junior newshound with two years' business reporting experience could have crafted the six questions highlighted in the BT's two valuable pages today, faxed across to the BM CEO, and wait for his faxed answers (in the best PR style, I'm sure BM has an efficeint PR team!) and the copies would still read as good as today's. I wonder if the Editor's position would become reduntant? I won't raise about the accompanying journalists' status -- most times, it's merely taking instructions, and in this case, armed with a tape-recorder each, and transcribing the taped interview.

That's what I term Steno Journalism. Pay the stenographers and secretaries the journalist's salary, and wallah, they would churn out neat copies faster than the senior journalists. I'm sad to record that this is an increasing trend in the Business Sections in the mainstream papers; yet the leading one is gaining circulation growth by default. Am I doing the NST a public relations service with my free advice? I wonder if the top guns even appreciate this observation from a jornalist who cares for this Fourth Estate, and wish to see an increasing circulation in the paper to give the rivals a run for the money.

But please, NST-BT, go back to telling the readers the news of your exclsuive interview> After spending 10 minutes, I still haven't got it, and that's 5 minutues too many! For your sake, Write a Main Story, and maybe the QandA can follow as a Sibebar of maybe one-fith the length highlighting the Snippets that don't fit in as news in the mainpiece. Well, I won't go further providing free PR service today.

Today I've made a case for a higher pay scale for stenos (I'm assuming they are getting less than the jornalists at comparable time-service.) I don't expect a cuppa from the NST-Business Times EE, but maybe I'll get a call from the SYT stenographer reading this post?

PS: Sdr IMRAN, my esteemed Conversationist, art thou satisfied, or you prefer me in Verse?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Of a St(y)Ranger in May

Raining days recall for me
Mostly of depression and pain
Yes, I'd ask you, my friend:
Where have you been?

To London, to London
Visiting thy aunt or uncle
Or calling on Her Majesty
Or the substitute Queen

There if you are not straight
It's alright, but be thou never queer
Soon enough a Stranger would appear
And want thee to buy him a beer

Me on a rainy night that stretches into morn
When the train cometh I'm gone
There's a Sty-ranger up in Penang
Awaiting' me patiently at the Padang

I made wit' Her an apppointment
This May five years ago
She vowed she'd die of disenchantment
If I decide not to love her so

It's pouring, it's drenching wet
Poor me, I don't even have a dime
So how can I meet Her with no regret
Across my sense of crooked, wasted time

So should you not read this "Sorry" on this page
Pleae wait another 365 days, as I weary with age
Still longin',but likely broke-r
Why did she fall for me, A-Joker

Ageing is an indsicrimate teacher
Tarry not Sty-ranger
I'm just a preacher
A word-er
A (L)One ranger

My Dear, This Wednesday in May
Tarry not, it's not a GOoD Day

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Limericks -- Tongue in Chick?

I'm so happy to have some fun from GUEST BLOGGER gingerly entertaining us with, yes, several cheeky Limericks. So continues steam of posts in Verse, and I thank one alert Reader who wrote in to ask why there has been a "change in direction" ... I'll answer the RM64 question maybe before the week is out. Meanwhile, have some Fun, or is it Pun?

There's an art in Penang
Where hibiscus is made from tin-cans
A councillor calls it art
Ratepayers scream it's smut
A critic spewed his guts.

The councillor says Penangites are not smart

They do not appreciate fine arts
However we know its insane
It's 360,000 ringgit down the drain
The ratepayers are now suffering in pain.

The queue is 5 km long
We pray the bridge is strong
"You don't need another link
We can't afford this thing"
Uncle Samy is the King.

Come one, come all

Come out and have a ball
Welcome to Bolehland
Where rules can be bent
And anything also can.

Thanks Ginger for giving us such pleasure and enjoyment. I'd offer thee Teh Tarik when you pass my way, It's sungguh Menarik on the highway and byway!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Deadline Relief

Three long months of slogging
Enjoying midnight quiet but for the music
Even the neighbour's dog takes a breather
Howling at the moon or some unseen ghosting

Sometimes bumping into walls of questioning
Is this useful exercise?
Words don't flow easily tonight
Yet the deadline creeps nearer

My computer screen remains blank for minutes
Nay, sometimes hours
While Faith Hill serenades me with C & W courage
Tonic to my unsettled mind and nerves
Trying to put prose to poetry
Or is it the other way round?

But once the Inspiration comes
Streams of ideas flow like sweet wine
Breezy phrases, words so sublime
Today my Muse enters my soul
No wall can stop me, no wind so cold

Just my Muse and Me
I hear my heart singing
I just unveil my inner Voice
I'm liberated, I'm soaring
Across the sky shouting
My story so far Untold.

Monday, May 23, 2005

What is Poetry?


Be forewarned that today's piece is different from normal -- because of the topic, it can prove to be somewhat "academic", but we do have time for some rocking of the mind on Sunday, don't we? Well, starting lightly to prepare you for heavy medicine with two quotes:

Poetry is recollection of emotions in tranquility. *** William Wordsworth

If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that it is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that it is poetry." *** Emily Dickinson.

So at this juncture, the question is asked: WhatIs Poetry?

“Poetry is as universal as language and almost as ancient. The most primitive peoples have used it, and the most civilized have cultivated it... ,” Thomas R. Arp (1997) wrote in Perrine’s “Sound and Sense”.4

“Why? First, because it has given pleasure. People have read it, listened to it, or recited it because they liked it – because it gave them enjoyment. But this is not the whole answer. Poetry in all ages has been regarded as important, not simply as one of several alternative forms of amusement, as one person might choose bowling, another chess, and another poetry... Rather, it has been regarded as something central to existence, something having unique value to the fully realized life, something that we are better off for having and without which we are spiritually impoverished...

“Initially, poetry might be defined as a kind of language that says more and says it more intensely than does ordinary language... Perhaps the commonest use of language is to communicate information... But it is not primarily to communicate that novels, short stories, plays, and poems are written. These exist to bring us a sense and a perception of life, to widen and sharpen our contacts with existence. Their concern is with experience. We all have an inner need to live more deeply and fully and with greater awareness, to know the experience of others, and to understand our own experience better. (Emphasis by Arp p.3-4)

This substantial extract from “Sound and Sense” would lay the foundation for our understanding of what “poetry is about”, which underlines largely the “definition” of poetry for this thesis. The thesis does not propose to delve into the “anatomical analysis” or “ingredients” that make up a particular piece of writing to qualify as a poem. It adopts a general approach in accepting as poetry that which had been “aptly” described by Dickinson, in that when we read a particular piece of writing , we “know it is poetry” because of the effects it has on us. Something is poetic when the verses lift us to a higher plane of human experience, giving us joy and giving us a richer insight into the human condition that strikes a chord in the reader.

Of course, the reader of any poem must have acquired a certain level of competency in the language of the poem; otherwise, he may not be able to fully appreciate and enjoy the poem. For the more serious student of poetry, it is essential that his language proficiency has to be at an advanced level, especially if the language used is also subjected to various interpretations and calls on the reader to be informed of the poet’s background and period of his works to fully enjoy the poems. However, for poetry to serve the function as a communication medium, it suffices that generally, poems delight us with their sound (song) as well as enriching us with the sense in the words used, for every word used has been deliberately selected for its special meaning and property.

Here it is relevant to reproduce Alexander Pope’s observation as quoted in “Sound and Sense”, from the writer’s “An Essay on Criticism”:

True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learned to dance.
‘Tis not enough no harshness gives offense,
The sound must seem an echo to the sense.

Arp stated that poets, from their own store of felt, observed, or imagined experiences, would select, combine, and reorganise to create significant new experiences for the readers. By their participation, readers may gain a greater awareness and understanding of their world. “Literature, in other words, can be used as a gear for stepping up the intensity and increasing the range of our experience and as a glass for clarifying it. This is the literary use of language, for literature is not only an aid to living but a means of living.” (Arp p.4)

In an appendixed footnote quoted from Encyclopedia Americana IX (1955) 473-74, it was stated: “A third use of language is as an instrument of persuasion. This is the use we find in advertisements, propaganda bulletins, sermons, and political speeches. These three uses of language – the practical, the literary, and the hortatory – are not sharply divided.... But language becomes literature when the desire to communicate experience predominates.”

Arp continued: “Literature, then, exists to communicate significant experience – significant because concentrated and organised. Its function is not to tell us about experience but to allow us imaginatively to participate in it. It is a means of allowing us, through the imagination, to live more fully, more deeply, more richly, and with greater awareness. It can do this in two ways: by broadening our experience – that is, by making us acquainted with a range of experience with which, in the ordinary course of events, we might have not contact – or by deepening our experience – that is, by making us feel more poignantly and more understandingly the everyday experiences all of us have. It enlarges our perspectives and breaks down some of the limits we may feel.” (Emphasis by Arp p.5)

Hence, Arp has stressed the need of readers to take part in “experiencing” the poetry shared by the poet, or there is no “connection”. Only when there is participation, there is “connection” established between poet and reader which would result in an enjoyment by the reader or listener of recited poetry. To me, this is equivalent to “reaching to the heart, soul and mind” of the reader by the poet via his/her verses based on the latter’s experience which is shared through the written word; this represents the “bonding in communication” which does not normally happen in a piece of prose writing.

test: Does the folowing connect with you, Young as well as NotSoYoung Readers?

The door is half closed

I am here
Your are there
And there is a door between us
It's half closed

I feel comforable on this side of my world
A melodious singing voice beckons me over
You insist the skies are bluer there
And the sun shines forever bright

I have grown used to my darker world
With all its ups and downs
With all its hurts and frowns
So I'm reluctant to take a step
Beyond the half clsed door

"The door is still half open,
to welcome you," the beguiling voice again.
I pause and linger,
As the door closes slowly, slowly, surely.

I sometimes wonder about
The face behind the sweet, tempting voice
Behind the now almost shut door.


Sunday, May 22, 2005

Writing in Style

I continue my versifying -- on four consecutive days with one Interlude -- in answer to a Muse who descended into my writing Space, expanding my Horison and shooting Stars into new directions and landscapes, and revisiting old ones with fresh Insights. Thanks to such INspiration which comes as a bonus in one's Young Life.

Writing in Style

Please don’t smoke
You’ll get a stroke

Please don’t talk
Just do the walk

Children dance and sing
Hey, life’s a swing!

The youths prefer can-can
Do it, done it, like a man

The Lady tries to impress smokin’ Coke
The Guy is high, usually also broke

The Children jump and sing
Yeh, life’s a zing!

The Youths blossom and behold
Curves, lithe bodies, acting bold

The Adults gambol and shout
They’re no better than a lout

Poets try to write great Poetry
While Writers try to create History
The Former try to attain Truth&Purity
The Latter Fame&Dame&Glory

Now imagine a Pig and his Mate
Trying to make it out on Their FirstDate
Bringing out that wide, w-i-d-e Smile
As they do Their Writ(h)ing in (A)Style!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Restoring Wings of Freedom

Winging high above the rambutan tree
It's a world of freedom quite carefree
You sing your song to no applauding awe-dience
I thank thee for thy wake-up calls, with patience.

I wish I can join you in your escapade
Across streams and grass covered plains
At one among your feathered friends
While humans toil, restless and unseeing,to make amends?

I woke one morn and found you helpless
With one left wing bleeding
Did a naughty boy hurt you
With a flying pebble from an elastic sling?

I nursed the wound with lotion and love
And soon rested, you wing your way
To open sky and green fields
Tasting sunshine and freedom again

Teenagers sometimes are like wounded birds
They stumble, and fall, suffer emotional hurts
Dear adults, remember thou art once also a wounded bird
Can you feel thy son's or daughter's hurt?


PS: Re-inspired by some teenager somewhere who stumbled maybe, hurt her knees perhaps, wishing Mum or Dad was around to nurse the hurting. It's not so much the physical wound, it's that soft feeling part of the heart that no one close is around when you need him/Her. MayDay, it's still may-lingering for Desiderata, who dedicates today's poem to the YoungOnes everywhere to tell them on the many Mis'haps they may enconter, mayhaps a sharing like this can give thee wings to that freedom once more!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Escapade into Childhoodism

When I was young&alwaysaskingformore
I escaped to Robin and other folklore
Lately some Incident involving a Frien'
Drove me back to childhoodism again

TheThreeMusketeers and Ivanhoe
Or was it the Manwithabrokenleg and Yo-ho-ho?
No the former was Alexander Dumas
While the latter I encountered in Treasure Isle

If I mixed up Sherwood Forest
With RichardtheBrokenHeart
Will the Hood let me off the Hook
And Friar Tuck'd not snatch me to his Cook

'tis morn I woke up early with a start
Funny thoughts of long ago made me smart
Before these running ideas run helter-skelter
I seize a pen to put them to paper

Was some reading deserving' of taking one to book
I did commit a few -- gobbling up DH Lawrence -- by hook or crook
Teacher never batted an eye when a classmate substituted adultery for adulthood
When I corrected her without winking an eye, but in a slightly haughty mood

She was still into Enid Blyton and SecretSeven
Taught her how with crooks to get even
But 'twas Lord Byron and Emily Dickinson
Who inspired me into penning verses in imitation

So in troubled times such as these
I abandon prose, into rhyme I ease
If thou dothnot grasp what I mean
Hey read the lines in between

We are allowed some Escapism
One a while are we not
I plead guilty to committing Childhoodism
'tis morn thou can put me into the cookin' pot!

PS: the above was penned (or is it canned?) on receiving an SMS from someone warning me ReMain nICE, or I'll put thee in to fry (with some PoetL to amend ...) Thanks a thousand for the INspiration, or is Desiderata Doing pre-Penitence?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Let It Be

I am in a pensive mood lately, especially so this morning, at 7.28am as I begin penning this post. I put pen to paper to expand on this pensiveness so I can understand my mind better.

I was thinking about some of our country's youths today -- about the case of young Ahmad Harizal who spent one night in jail because he could not pay RM600 fine for missing out on National Service.

I think about youths who were luckier to go on schooling till form 6 (at Ahmad's age), then maybe later to a local university, or luckier, proceed to Oxford, or Cambridge, or to New Delhi, or Beijing, or Bandung University, for tertiary studies.

But one thing that is common at that age and the following five years, from 18 till 25 -- for those still benefiting from the closeted environments of a college campus,
there is time for Idealism to blossom and fruit. And that's a privileged position to be in.

Compared with spending a night in jail while making sacrifices for Family First, the youth at college is in a First World environ compared with the former's fourth world.

Parents must then allow their children in a First World environ to enjoy their youth, maximise their Idealism, and pursue their dreams in line with this Idealism, however they deem it to be.

My writing today mainly laments the fact that too many misguided adults want their YoungOnes to take on the "journeys" they had missed out on -- study law, or medicine, or engineering, instead of pursuing English language studies, or mass communications, or biology, because the former get the graduate a better income and thatluxury home faster. They impose their ambitions on their children, not listening to what the YoungOnes truly and heartily want!

To people caught in such conflicting situations, my word, to the parents especially, is: Let It Be ...

Let the young ones be
Follow their dreams
Flower their Idealism
They have a Unique mind
Don't impose the tyranny of thy wisdom
Of some 25-35 years advantage on the youth
For there is a higher Wisdom
Just Let It Be!

I take leave for thee to ponder one of my favouarite Beatles' songs:

And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow, Let It Be
I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, Let It Be

PS: For the record, I end this Rambling at 8.08am, and I feel my mind quite expanded. Let Thy Mind Expand, mYf (in the plural).

My Thoughts Running

My thoughts running
A myriad thoughts flashing
no particular direction
some are crystal clear
most are blurred and confusing
'tis like a journey into unknown
sadness wells up when a familiar face appears
but all is lonely and questioning
among crowds of strange people
and nameless ones

I wake up in a daze
not knowing reality from a dream
what journey am I embarked on?
It's a journey running


+++ On some rare occasions in some unsketchable landscape, strange thoughts catching me on a day when you're wandering like a child, among the clouds, seeing glimpses of familiar faces, yet not really seeing. Do you get such pictures in thy mind? Some thing jolts me from my normally clear-thinking self to ponder over such landscapes of my mind ...

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Teachers are Human too!

Today is TEACHERS' DAY ... and we salute all the teachers in the country for their contributions towards building Malaysia, for in the moulding of young minds, from kindergarten through primary and secondary schools, and to university, THEY are the scuplors of the future leaders of the nation. To those who commit and dedicate themselves to this noble profession, let's give praise and thanks.

Desiderata today would like to send a message of reminder to pupils, students and their parents that TEACHERS ARE INDEED SPECIAL PEOPLE, but they are also HUMAN too!

Last Saturday night's BOSTON PUBLIC started off with a wearied teacher coming home to his apartment to find his fiancee making it with another man in bed. Furious, he seized the nearest object (an iron paper holder, I think)and threw it at the "stranger". who fell unconscious to the floor.

The teacher was hauled to jail and if the "victim" had died (fortuntately he didn't!), he could have faced a murder charge. Nevertheless, rumours soon flew back to Boston High that a teacher had thrown a man out of the apartment window, that he had bashed up a man, etc, etc. You know how each telling of the story -- like our teh tarik tall tales, eh? -- became juicier by the hour.

In class the following day, the teacher -- out of jail with the assistance of a lawyer-turned-teacher -- was "welcomed" by a hostile audience of questioning students. Suddenly, one "girl" stood up, expressed great disappointment with their teacher for landing up in jail for what could be a "criminal" offence. She did not even ask for an account from the "offender" before going on the diatribe!

The teacher, quite crestfallen and caught off-guard, responded by telling off the student, who obviously had the initial support of her peers who generally nodded in agreement with her firepower. A few days later, after some sould-searching and calm had descended on a troubled smind, the teacher asked of his students: What would your response be if one day you went home and found your "boy/girlfriend" (spouse-to-be) in bed with another?

He also "apologised" for what at that moment was an impulse action, throwing on object at the stranger without a second thought as to the consequence, and also for reprimanding the "outspoken" student who had questioned him for his behaviour which "let" them down.

Needless to say, the "human" in the teacher showed that he was as vulnerable as his young charges to "reflex" actions on defending one's property and turf. Yes, TEACHERS ARE VERY HUMAN TOO! Students should not feel let down that occasionally their teachers show through their "infallible" shield.

Sometimes, we hear of parents who run to the school just because of some "failings" of certain teachers reported back to them by their children, and compound the problem by confronting the teachers. Stay calm and have a word with the school's principal or discipline teacher first. GET THY FACTS RIGHT before letting off with words one may regret later.

The "young" student who went on a frontal attack on her teacher did not know of the "facts" of the is emotions. She was all too eager to admonish a "model" they had all looked up to for being "out of control".

But "saying sorry" is also a saving grace that we all must learn from this epsiode, for wounds will gradually heal if we all step back from "wrong" steps and re-direct our compass.

Just to reprise the following from an earlier piece:

To Teachers With Love

I promised a week ago I would write more on Poetry, but watching TV an hour back made me change channels, so it is with fond memories I jot down this rumination.

Today I dedicate my Sunday's musings to two teachers who touched my life deeply, and greatly determined my life's career using the craft of writing exquisite English and be proud of it too. They started me on this lifelong journey -- exploring the exciting world of the written word and a story well told, in the English language. I say special thanks to Mr C. P. Rajah, who was our form-teacher in Standard 5, and inspired my voracious reading after initiating a class book club (mini-library), and another teacher-cum-form teacher at Secondary 1, Mr V.T. Nathan wo headed the school lower secondary library and expanded my horizons to the variety of books of adventure and poetry at that tender age of 13.

I shall never forget Mr Rajah's happy hours' entertainment with Robin Hood and his Merry Men at Sherwood Forest, and more beguiling, Mr Nathan's narrative of O'Henry's "The Last Leaf", and many more short stories, which inspired me to also write for my pocket mney from then on, which I mentioned earlier enabled me to visit the cinema during almost evrey weekend, with my siblings or one best friend. Natalie Wood, remember? Incidently, it was this best friend (from an all-boys' school, and naturally, "naughtier") who precociously exposed me to D. H. Lawrence's "Lady Chatterley's Lover", then a banned substance, like today's dadah.

I shall always remember devouring all the Biggles' and The Three Musketeers' adventures under Mr Rajah's watch, and later, as many of the Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot's exploits possible under Mr Nathan's. I am eternally grateful, and I believe, in those three short years I think I leapt from a Level 3 English standard to a Level 8 or 9 (from an arbitrary scale of 1 t0 10).

Today's rumination sprang from my just ended viewing of Boston Public's episode at around midnight in which a highly successful corporate lawyer was brought along by a teacher-friend to observe his handling of a "rowdy" class which required his intervention to break up a fight between two "thugs" from rival neighbourhood gangs. The teacher tested a solution to the social poblem by making the two put on their boxing gloves to "fight" out their animosities.

Impressed by "unconventional" ways adopted by the individual teachers in handling the daily problems encountered within and outside the classroom, the lady lawyer observed that her friend had turned from a man formerly always bouncing with laughter was now a sombre, serious man quite lost in thoughts as if always carrying his students' problems on his shoulders. Yet, he appeared quite contented, and she could see that his daily life had variety, bounce and spice, unlike hers with a predictable courtly routine.

At an advertisement break, I remarked to my sibling that given another choice, I would have liked the challenge of being a teacher. Yes, a teacher!

Another 15 minutes into the hour-long episode saw the lawyer discussing with her partner she was contemplating changing career, despite the unexpected question thrown her way by one of the loud students if "he could see her breasts" (yes, she the sexy one who even raised my blood pressure). Finally, the mate said she must be crazy, throwing up a six-figure annual salary for a fiver, and quite likely, she would quit anyway within a week, hence recommending she not quit the law practice but just try out teaching as a "temp" first!

The ending saw the brilliant corporate lawyer visitng the principal and his assistant at Boston High, and when asked the purpose of her visit, said in a resolute tone: "I want to be a teacher here!"

David E. Kelley stole the very words from my mouth, and he gets paid handsoely for it, I am sure, definitely, muc, much more than a teacher!

Today's piece is also a tribute to my sibling whose dedication to her pupils definitely showed, with many of her students in Chan Wa High visiting her for "free" tuition in English, and years later, paying courtesy with their expressions of "To teacher with love". I am always proud that this was one focused teacher who attained her University of London's degree in English Literature via self-study (with loads of help from the British Council Library) --another journey of sheer hard work, discipline and dogged determination.To bring back some sweet and sour memories, let's altogether rise and sing:

Those schoolgirls days, of telling tales and biting nails are gone,
But in my mind, I know they will live on and on,
But how do you thank someone
who has taken you from crayons to perfumes?
It isn't easy, but I'll try .....

I wonder how many of you still remember Lulu? No, she's not TheBoyNextDoor (visit, an All Fools' Day posting prompted by desiderata; Lulu starred with Sidney Poitier in, yes, you guess it: "To Sir With Love".

PS: Notice that I had without fail used the names of my favourite teachers always preceded with Mr? It is a habit which I have not been able to rid of (well, I don't want to, anyway) when referring to the "good" ones, and we must maintain this tradition and spirit, don't we?

Monday, May 16, 2005

Be Thyself

GUEST BLOGGER Sabrina Tan honours us again with a piece consonant with her maiden piece Desiderata of Happiness last Sunday with her arriving at some crossroads, quite normal in any youth's travel in this journey of Life. She shares with us some innermost thoughts about being youself, and the people and environment that impact on a young person trying very hard indeed to be that unique Self that the Supreme Being -- however you conceive Him to be -- has ordained her/him to be. Enjoy!


Have you ever thought to yourself over and over again that what you are today is not actually your true self?

I always have this question on my mind, and sometimes I am torn between my true self and who I am expected to be in society.

It’s saddens me sometimes when I think the people closest to me don’t even know who I am exactly.

People have this image of me as being serious, intellectual and responsible but few people know that there is also another side of me that is compassionate, fun, caring, etc.

This leads me to think that one can truly be happy if you are just BEING YOURSELF.

Sometimes we might lose some of the essence of ourselves because of society’s expectations, familial pressure and also because of the personal experience that we have been through in life.

I have to admit that I have lost some of that as well and also because I had to conform to the expectations presented by everyone around me.

I have learnt that we shouldn’t be ashamed of who we are, regardless what kind of personality we may possess.

It’s easier said than done you can say, because at different circumstances we may project different facades of ourselves. At work, we may appear to be serious; at home (depending on the family members) we may either be very comical and hilarious, or we can be the responsible and sensible one. With our friends, we just reveal the side of us that we feel that would be accepted by our peers.

It seems to me that sometimes we all have different personalities. Then what is exactly the true you?

One’s true self is when one is totally most comfortable with oneself. You know that you won’t be judged by revealing the true character and nature of yourself by the people around at that time. I had that feeling before where I felt totally comfortable with myself with one of my best friends because I knew that no matter what I say or do, he won’t judge me for the things that I have done. Your friends should be the ones who are able to accept you for who you are. This, is also a form of happiness by just being YOU.

You are also being you where you are very comfortable with whatever decisions that you make regarding life. You know the pros and cons of your decision, but the most important thing is that you won’t regret what you have decided. Life is too short for regrets, so we should start seeing that we live our lives as how we want to live, not by the expectations of others.

Desiderata: Well said, Sabrina. If I were a philosophy teacher, or a better word, Mentor, I would be proud to have THEE as one of my students.

At this moment, let me recall fromMax EHRMANN's desiderata:
Be yoursel. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

So Sabrina, the world is in a state of flux, and as circumstances, we change, we adapt in order to survive -- a better word, in a better phrase, in order to grow ourselves -- but AlWays, as you also srive to be -- Be Thyself, but with a Caring Heart, and a Discerning Mind.

PS: I share with a poem I composed reflecting my feelings as a teenager eons years ago ... does this strike a chord in thy heart, young Sabrina?

Colour me not

You want to be the mould
Making me the clay to shape
But in your hands I can't bend
I can't grow

You want to be the painter
Making me the canvas
But I like not your colours
I even hate the frame!

Colour me not then
For I have my own vision
I'd like to weave my own hues
And define my own contours

You can't even begin the sketch the outline
of my being
How can you start to add the strokes?

Leave me alone
For only I can feel the emotions in my breast

Don't colour me, don't even try
For you'd only scar
The landcape of my mind


Message to Readers, especially the youths with crossroads struggles in their mind, feel free to use my Blog as a most welcome Guest to share your writings. Email to ENJOY!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Call for Reform in the United Nations

Desiderata’s Second Guest Blogger H.M. Liew is a student pursuing a Masters course in International Relations and Defence, and she enjoys academic exchange and political discourse.

A Call for Reform of the United Nations

While most world conflicts, particularly the American-led occupation in Iraq, and the anti-terrorism war declared by countries aligned with the United States following September 11, 2001, have yet to see any real signs of solution, several major powers already can’t wait any longer in proceeding with unilateral efforts in pursuing their self-interests. At the centre of their campaigns and government initiatives is the United Nations Organisation (UN).

Under intense lobbying is a proposal to increase the number of permanent members from the present five in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to reflect more equitably the present geo-political global situation. Japan is pitching for one of the additional seats based mainly on the fact that it is the UN's second greatest financial sponsor, only after the United States, as well as its fine track record of economic cooperation and participation in U.N.-led peacekeeping operations. Nevertheless, Germany also has expressed its readiness to undertake the responsibility of becoming a Security Council permanent member since “the composition of the Security Council should reflect the current geo-political reality” and “consideration should be given to those countries which have wishes and capabilities to safeguard international peace and security and have made significant contributions in this regard".

Other countries like India, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Argentina, Mexico and Brazil also have expressed strong interest in becoming UNSC permanent members with the claim of reflecting post-World War II geopolitical realities. Indonesia also announced its aspiration for a seat on the ground that it is the world’s largest Muslim nation and world’s fourth most populous country.

The United States has been using the UNSC membership issue as leverage for making Japan, its loyal supportel, take on a greater militaristic role that would suit Washington's global strategy.

Although Indonesia is the largest Islamic state in the world, it failed to convince the international community as it has been suffering economic and political instability and has yet to solve its civic wars and separatist movements at home. Moreover, Indonesia is not actively involved with Islamic states and does not have significant clout or influence in the global Islamic community.

However, while the reform of the UNSC is becoming the limelight of discourse and media coverage at international forums, the question arises: Will the enlargement of the UNSC permanent membership help in smoothening the decision making of the United Nations in peace maintenance or conflict solving?

It seems that the prospects are not optimistic. Even with the present status of just five members, the problem posed by the veto powers vested in the five permanent members (the US, Britain, France, Russia and China} remains a perennial problem. Any one member using the veto could stalemate any initiative presented to resolve the major conflicts afflicting flashpoints, pointing to just one of the complexities arising from the conflict of interests situations at current times.

Recent historical events have proved that the veto powers in the UNSC have been a stumbling block for the UNSC to solve most of the world’s major conflicts. The Korean War in 1950-53 actually was the only occasion when the UN was able to take decisive action in a crisis directly involving the interests of one of the superpowers. When South Korea was invaded by communist North Korea in June 1950, the Security Council immediately passed a resolution condemning North Korea, and called on member states to send help to South Korea. However, the resolution was possible because of the temporary absence of the Russian delegates, who would have vetoed the resolution if they had not been boycotting Security Council meetings since January of that year in protest at the failure to allow communist China to join the UN.

Though this was claimed by the West as a great UN success, it was in fact very much an American operation – the vast majority of troops and the commander-in-chief, General MacArthur, were American, and the US government had already decided to intervene with force the day before the Security Council decision was taken. Only the absence of the Russian enabled the US to turn it into a UN operation. This was a situation not likely to be repeated, since not only Russia, but also other veto powers, would take good care to be present at all future Council sessions.

The Suez Crisis in 1956 also showed the ineffectiveness of the United Nations due to the self-interests of the big powers. When President Nasser of Egypt suddenly nationalized the Suez Canal, many of whose shares were owned by the British and French, both powers protested strongly and sent troops to protect their interests. At the same time, the Israelis invaded Egypt. Jointly, these three nations drove Egyptian troops away from the Suez region and reestablished control. At the United Nations, Britain and France prevented the Security Council from assuming responsibility for peace and order in the area, with voting covering censure to more direct action. During one voting, a most unusual event occurred -- with the United States and the Soviet Union voting together against two of Washington’s closest allies. Even though finally the aggressors agreed to withdraw their troops, enabling the United Nations to ensure a reasonable settlement over the canal and preventing the Arabs and Israelis from further aggravation of their conflict, it showed the trend of repeated failures of the UN from taking “real” effective actions, as what had also happened in the League of Nations, the precursor organization to the UN.

The Hungarian Uprising in 1956 that took place at the same time as the Suez Crisis also showed the United Nations at its most helpless. When the Hungarians tried to exert their independence from Russian control, Soviet troops entered Hungary to crush the revolt. The Hungarian government appealed to the United Nations, but Russia vetoed a Security Council resolution calling for a withdrawal of the Russian forces. The General Assembly passed the same resolution and set up a committee to investigate the problem; but Russia refused to cooperate with the committee and no progress could be made. The contrast with Suez was striking: there, Britain and France were willing to bow to international pressure. However, Russia simply ignored the United Nations and nothing could be done.

The UN once again proved helpless in the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962 when the world had to face the very real danger of nuclear war. The fact that the incident that came to be known as the ‘thirteen days of doom’ ended was not due to the role of the UN in solving conflict but because of the desire of both superpower players involved -- the US and Russia -- to make peace.

On the other hand, the UN has been totally ineffective in halting the arms race and the stockpiling of nuclear weapons and delivery systems, as well as the spread of other weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological ones.

The US’s stubborn engagement in Iraq against the vast majority of UN members’ opinion is the most recent evidence about the failure of the UN in safeguarding world peace. The UN could not do anything except in making a few insignificant statements of condemnation.

The cruel reality of the failure of the UNSC in solving world conflicts arises from the power struggle and self-interests protection among the powerful states, particularly the five permanent members that have the veto power in the decision making of the UNSC, causing many deadlocks in the U.N, preventing it from proceeding with unified or at least majority-backed action. The push for their own national interests among major powers was once the fundamental problem that also brought about the failure of the Concert of Europe and the League of Nations. The veto is quite rightly blamed for the failure of the UN – an outstanding irony when the instrument was intended to be for providing security, for preventing wars and for peaceful settlement of international disputes.

In the present circumstances, the functioning of the UNSC has resulted in the division of the world into military camps and camp-mates or camp-supporters. Many of the UN General Assembly’s recommendations regarding maintenance of peace have been ignored by the states at which they were addressed. The major offenders are the superpowers and their allies, who are reluctant to subordinate their national interests to the priority of world peace. With a paralyzed UNSC and an impotent General Assembly, the UN has been limping along and is being used as just another international organ for serving the national interests of its member states.

It is a must for the U.N. to reform its structure in order to avoid following the path of failure preceded by the Concert of Europe and the League of Nations.

But the core issue should be the elimination of the structure of five permanent members in the UNSC as the record shows any decision making of the General Assembly is easily crippled by the veto power of the existing five permanent members – a practice inherently undemocratic in such modern times.

What are the long-term prospects of UN-coordinated collective security if the UN is merely to be used as an underfinanced subcontractor of a fig leaf for the priorities of the powerful, with little evidence of any convincing criteria for consistency?

The enlargement of the UNSC in fact will not guarantee halting world strife and moving closer to peace-building, or any efforts assisting to break the deadlock often encountered by the present Big Five in the UNSC would be positive. This issue of the expansion of UNSC membership in fact has been discussed for years, but nothing is really moving forward because of blatant rivalry among prospective members and differences in opinion about UN reforms in general.

It is very sad and disappointing to see the general debate at the 59th UN General Assembly session has been dominated by the issue of the enlargement of the Security Council instead of progressing solutions on countering long lasting problems such as the Palestine-Israeli conflict and more recent global challenges like the spreading terrorist menace. The reforms at the UN cannot be deferred anymore if some solutions to these lingering and emerging problems are to be attempted if not permanently resolved.

Jumping the Gun!

Page 2 in theSun today (May 13, 2005)contained an important news brief that could have escaped many Malaysians' eyes -- I record this for the benefit of readers interested in our foreign affairs.

Headed M'sis backs Germany, Japan for UN Security Council Seats
the report reads:
Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia said yesterday it was backing Germany and Japan for permanent seats on a reformed UN Security Council.
"Our Prime Minister (Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) has announced that he is supporting Japan an Germany," Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar told reporters.
"That is the position that was taken long ago, and our prime minister has restated it," Dyed Hamid said.(Desiderata's emphasis)
Germany and Japan are among key powers seeking permanet seats on the council, arguing the current lineup of five permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- is outdated as it was founded in the wake of World War II.
Syed Hamid was speaking at a news conference after he met UN envoy Ali Alatas to discuss reforms to the UN.

Desiderata: I'm not going into the pros and cons of Malaysia's stands. What I'm recalling here today is a Post titled "Learn to speak well before politicking" dated April 22, 2005, where I recorded the horror of listening to a deputy minister Tan Chai Ho (from the MCA of the Barisan Nasional) whose spoken English at public functions really was embarassing for a Malaysian leader.

At a certain function reported widely by the press,Tan also spoke against the Japanese government's lobby for a seat in the UN Security Council (UNSC), and I had questioned whther Tan was speaking as a Chinese or a Malaysian leader. As far as I know then, the Government had NOT taken a stand on this issue of Japan's campaign for a UNSC seat.

I said Tan was obviously cashing on the "flavour of the month" of China-Japan clashes regarding Japan's re-writing of history books playing down Japan's commission of atrocities on the Chinese mainland in World War I.

The question arises now is that Tan was speaking to a Malaysian Chinese community on clearly official "foreign affairs" issue when he protested against Japan's fight for a UNSC seat, but he is now gguilty of "misleading" the community as the Government's stand contradicted his! OR is he pleading IGNORANCE?

That Syed Hamid said the Government's stand was taken "long ago" and the PM was merely "restating it" meant Tan was speaking out of line.

They call this Jumping the Gun! Maybe the deputy minister's press aides can help him understand this simple concept of "collective responsibility" in Government and speaking with one voice on foreign affairs. Anyway, which ministry does Tan represent?

May I add an advice to high officials: Learn your subjject well before speaking!

Friday, May 13, 2005

What is the Truth?

The follow-up to Malaysia's first dodger paying the price of going to jail under the hastily constructed National Service programme today was summarised by the Attorney-General, as indicated by this headline in the NST, page 8 (May 12, 2005):
Ahmad Harizal should have told the truth, says AG

But what really is the Truth here?

According to the AG, Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, when the police asked Ahmad Harizal his reason for skipping the training, he replied: "Saya malas nak pergi" (I was lazy to go).

Gani said the magistrate had read the probation report by a welfare officer on the background of Ahmad Harizal, just 18 years old, and his family.
"That was his only response.
"So we had no choice as there was nothing to consider."

Desiderata: After all the hue and cry of the Perlis MB promptly paying the RM600 fine the following morning(the lad thus stayed one night in jail), after the AG said he would apply to the High Court for a revision of the sentence (of the Kangar magistrate's court for a RM600, in default 14 days' jail)to a lighter sentence, I am still wondering: What is the Truth here?

From what I know about a welfare officer's probation report, the details about Admad Harizal's (I call him a victim!) plight of facing financial difficulties as he had to work to support the Family First would have been seen, as clear as the light of day, by any caring heart.

Aren't the justice system equipped with well-trained officers who are supposed to temper justice with mercy? Seeing to it that justice is not only done, BUT seen to be done?

The Truth is hovering somewhere in the Victim (I term him such, yes) Ahmad Harizal's mind, and we are NOT hearing from him.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

when is the LAW an ASS?

Answer: When the Enforcers behave like Asses!

Take this case of the
NS dodger jailed,
splashed the NST page 1 headline today, with subhead
First to be penalised and he was working to support his family. Highlighted also on the frontpage was a picture of the youth in handcuffs, not a fate you would want any young Malaysian to be in for such an "incident" not of his choice, and definitely not within his means to avoid.

Ahmad Harizal Ahmad Fauzie, 18 years old, yesterday became the first National Service shirker to be sentenced to jail, for 14 days, becasue he was too poor to pay the RM600 fine imposed by the magistrate! He had skipped the three-month-long compulsory programme to help his family make ends meet.

The RM30 he earned daily helped supplement his mother's meagre RM150 a month wages as a dishwasher, and on the day Ahmad Harizal went to court to face his fate, he had asked his Mum for RM7. "I only knew he had been sent to jail when a policeman came to my workplace and informed me," was the mother's lament.

Magistrate Wan Norzainuar Wan Ahmad, according to the NST report, said the punishment should be regarded as a lesson to other trainees not to take the NS training lightly.

Desiderata: Did the enforcement officers check Ahmad Harizal's background, and find out any "extenuating" circumstances before taking him to court?
Is it any consoltaion for the youth to taste a night stay in Jail before several parties, including the Perlis Menteri Besar, offered to pay the RM600 fine?
Could not the magistrate, instead of giving out formal advice, exercise some humane milk of kindness to suspend the sentence for a little time for the lad to raise the RM600?

Do enforcement officers of the law have a human heart?

Do we as fellow Malaysians,better economically placed, have compassion for the less fortunate in society? What's this law if, especially when this young man has his Family First right at the top of his priorities, you don't even weigh with a caring heart?

Hey, God gave us each a unique and beautiful mind -- Let's not make an Ass of the Law with Ass-like Enforcement!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Make not a fool of thyself ...

Of all the sayings on Fools, I pick this one for my partial title for Post today.

Make not a fool of thyself, to make others merry.
+++ Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy II.3.7

A follow-up to yesterday's post on a senior Minister-Opposition Leader exchange with due respect to the ACA regarding RM99 small change (oops! million follows the 99!), theSun updated us kindly with a page 1 story headed Lim lodges report on Parliament renovation. I quote:

PUTRAJAYA: Conflicting figures given by two ministers on the cost of renovation on Parliament building have prompted MP Lim Kit Siang to lodge a report with the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA).

He said yesterday that Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu had given the sum as RM60million and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Nazri Abdul Aziz RM85million.

Desiderata:I won't detail such stories any longer because I have grown quite wearied by them all. Is this present report going the way of the 18VeryVeryImportantPersons later amended to read as 18VeryVeryHighProfileGroupsorOrganisations? I continue to add on to PakLah's Laments, the avearge JoePublic's too.

Just round up with another wisecrack:

A rogue is a roundabout fool.
+++ Coleridge: Table-Talk, Jan 4, 1823

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Age of Reason

I may disagree with what you say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it. *** Voltaire

Once I've decided to engage anyone in Conversation, I always follow the above dictum enunciated by one of my democratic teachers, French philosopher and author Francois-Marie Arouet VOLTAIRE (1694-1778). But with some people, you can't start a conversation, so you retreat, and let him speak to his own mirror, and enjoy the mirage of him dominating his audience.

But when such people were a nation's leaders, the people could not avoid listening to them mouth their daily vicedoms, for they dominate the airtime, playtime and new(s)time over every medium and their intrusion into your personal space became another BigBro smilingly poking his Face into thy restroom.

Talking about pollution -- it's such Pollution of the Mental Atmosphere that is the most fatalistic of damned all!

Witness today's news item, hidden as a brief on page 4 in today's daily -- but still a gem to my mine -- 'Don't use ACA to frighten people', and I quote in full courtesy of theSun, my 30sen copy (no, it's not taken from the 7eleven, 'cos I believe when somet'in' giv'n free, like the air we breathe, we don't fully mine it!

KUALA LUMPUR: Works Minister Datuk Seri S.Samy Vellu criticised Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang yesterday for threatening to lodge a report with the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) about the renovation cost of Parliament House.

"Don't frequently use ACA's name to frighten people. Don't mention ACA, ACA from morning till evening," Samy Vellu said when asked to comment on the total cost of renovating the 39-year-old building.

"If there is a problem or any wrongdoing, then lodge a complaint to the ACAand we are ready to answer."

He said that until now, the cost of renovating Parliament House had reached nearly RM99million.

Desiderata: guess if the RM99million came from the honourable minister's pocket, YB Lim should not threaten, cajole, or beg -- but representing the Rakyat in the august mansion which sprang a wet leak recently, Lim owes it to the tax-payers to ask for an accounting, doesn't he? Just as any minister owes it to the constituents for any woes in his constituency. or maybe, perhaps, mayhaps, nobody is answerable to the Rakyat anymore. Another act of God?

Sunday, May 08, 2005

desiderata.happiness by Sabrina Tan

This young Sunday of May sees the breaking rays in various hues of a new Morningstar on Desiderata.English horizon. I am delighted to welcome the dawnin' of young&caring Sabrina Tan from New Zealand who honours me with being the First GuestBloggger here, writing on the features of happiness considered essential and desirable in a one's Life journey.

All about happiness

For years I have been questioning what is happiness exactly?

To be quite honest, there are only the few rare moments where I was very happy, elated to be exact. Getting a good mark for my piano Diploma, being accepted into Dentistry, etc.

I shall never forget these moments for the rest of my life as these are the significant moments that one never forgets. However, these significant moments shall only appear once in a blue moon, and we can’t get through life just waiting for these moments to occur.

How then, do I get through day-to-day life without all these significant milestones?
Do I have to be ecstatic all the time to get through everyday life?

I soon learnt to appreciate the essence of “Find joy in everything you do”.

Though being a Dental student, I see patients on average 4 days a week. I have at least 3-4 patients a day and I see them nearly every week. It’s stressful and we are constantly being demanded by our supervisors to be precise and excellent in our work. The rush against time often drives us up the wall as we often find that we do not have enough time to execute a task. It can get quite stressful to a point where I came back feeling numb, sad, depressed and questioning the motivation of me doing all these things.

However, happiness to me now are simple things like patients saying ‘ Thank You’ after treatment, patients baking me cookies or giving me flowers after delivering a denture to them.
I know that at least someone out there appreciates me for what I am doing.

After a stressful day, and when someone gives me a big hug after the appointment, that just simply made my day!

Happiness doesn’t drop down from the sky. We have to find happiness in virtually anything that we do, from talking to friends, to cooking, or even something as mundane as reading a book!

I also find that happiness is when I see someone happy and I am able to make someone’s day better amidst all the miseries and problems that are happening in their lives. All I needed to do is listen. Making them laugh, buying them muffins, giving them a hug, lightens up their day. It’s also a form of happiness for me when I know that I have managed to brighten up someone’s day.

According to many scientific researches, when an individual is happy, we release endorphins and that would help us de-stress and also have many beneficial effects to one’s health, hence the cliché Laughter is the Best Medicine!

Inevitably there are many circumstances around us that would lead us to sink into depression. It’s a fact of life that things often do not turn out the way we want them to be. However, optimism, but realistic optimism, can help you get through these obstacles in life and more often it would bring a solution to your worries!

I often find that if we let ourselves dwell into sorrow and misery, we shall never see the light at the end of the tunnel and things would spiral down from then on.

So try to find joy in everything that we do, and make an effort to cheer up somebody’s life. It makes you feel better and makes the other person feel so much better.

Make the world a happier place to live in, and WE can lead a good quality of life in the future.

Desiderata's PS: Other Readers are welcome to contribute on Desiderata of Happiness by writing to Light up desiderata's face like a thousand light bulbs as Sabrina Tan did!

A Salute to Mum


A dedication to a Special Day in May. By right, this same spirit should hold true in our hearts EveryDay. Now I understand a little more why May earns more dedications than any other months of the year, especially by Poets -- I hope this Ehrmann aspirant is included -- and so I enhance the popular tradition.

Salute to Mum EveryWhere

We stumble, we fall
We run to her, with problems big or small
SomeOne who’s always there on call
To caress us without question, warts and all.
We tell her our small secrets
Her smiles multiply our joys
Confide in her your first kiss maybe, your regrets?
Your tiffs with this gf, that bf & some tom-boys?
My Mom has moved on
To a better place I know
But everyday, every waking hour
Or when I’m at rest
I know she watches over me
That I’ll be out of harm’s way.
We all know with Mum around
A house becomes a universal home
She may be by your side
Present, or Unseen
She remains Everyone’s FirstLove
Constant, caring and evergreen
So on this SpecialDay in May
Let’s Salute Mother everywhere for her guiding,
Loving, tendering, and caring
AlWays the Best, that’s Mum’s Way!
Remember her EveryDay with a grateful heart
Say Go’dnigh’ with a warm kiss and a big hug
O Mom, ‘tis a small prayer of praise for thee
Keep a watchful eye o’er me.


CreativeOnes, Destinies&Happiness

Since starting this Blog a short while back -- short is for 7even Weeks, compared with Manyears for some fellow-travellers in cyberspace), I seemed to have covered tremendous grounds. I've made some friends along the way whom I treasure as eternal jewels in my crown. It's dear friends over such short, short time, but no real testing required, because One Knows, from the feeling emerging from the deepest pearls of your mind and heart (I hope it's mutual with the other party!) that we've known each other a long, long time.

And that really opens my eyes to one component of the Desiderata.Happiness.

When you've gained a recent FriendShip, the voyage seems so joyful, delightful it appears to have been with us since so long ago. That's that quality of such common destiny between two people when engaged in Life's journey.
One such traveller I've known whom I've yet to meet shall have the honour of sharing with thee what this elusive dream of hapPIness is all about. Read a surprise Post here tomorrow and enjoy what young&caring SabrinaTan brings all the way from New Zealand on what constitutes the Desiderata of Happiness.

One of the three broad objectives of YLChong when he launched this Blog consists of the Pursuit of Truth, and generally this comprises the subclass of hapPIness, starting with a fresh look from a pretty and youthful, but discerning, lens.

I welcome other ReadersWrite on the same topic, to email to: By now, the visitors to my humble cyberhome would know I especially enjoy the company of creatives -- writers, poets, anyone who cares to speak and 'rite From the Heart. And of course the esteemed Appreciators of Exquisite 'tings! Exquisite company for exquisite minds, and ideally, for an exquisite feast of travellin' and readin'. A Warm Welcome on Board this Ship of Life's Voyage. Desiderata Bids Thee Come Sail With Me, and Bon Appetit. One more, anyone?

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Pak Lah's Laments ...

When I glanced at today' page 1 report in the NST, I was surprised at the first paragraph (in Bold!) Little seeems to be happening.Contracts are drying up. Election promises have been put on the backburner.

This was preceded by the headline in the NST, PM: I'm aware ... with the byline By Brendan Pereira.

Yes, "surprised" because it is more than a catchy summary of the state of affairs of the nation, and also gives an initial impression that the nation's CEO is being brutally Frank&Honest upfront about the failures to deliver after 18 months in office as Prime Minister.

But dismay came soon after reading our Prime Minister's speech at the Harvard Club dinner the night before as the earlier impression of recognition of the core problems did not come from Pak Lah, just him saying these were the perceptions of certain quarters but that the PM insisted that the realities showed otherwise!

I blame the reporter for misleading the readers with such a "lead" paragraph for it's not clear about the attribution (Who spoke those lines?). To me coming from a senior journalist, it's not only misleading but also irresponsible. It did not reflect the heart of the matter, or what were the core points of the PM's speech to a select audience of the Malaysian community. Indeed, the second and third paras of the same report read thus:

Datuk Seri Abdullah set the record straight on these sentiments in arguably one of his most important speeches since becoming Prime Minister of Malaysia in November 2003.

He conceded that malaise and inertia continued to be a problem in certain sectors, and the pace of reform slow. But the situation was not as gloomy as painted by the doomsayers, saying that significant progress had been achieved over 18 months and there was more to come.

Contrast this with the coverage by other dailies like The Star and theSun, which was straight forward reporting without any ambiguity. What they did was to highlight the key issues that the PM had identified as three bad habits Malaysia must rid itself of in targeting at attaining First World status, namely:

the addictions to
* Cheap foreign labour;
* Subsidies; and
* Rent-seeking (which The Star summarised as "Favours and connections").

The first two points are easily understood; on the third point, Pah Lah's speech contained a reference to 'WE WOULD RATHER GO FOR “KNOW-WHO” THAN “KNOW-HOW”'.
The Star elaborated on the definition of Rent-seeking as "the expenditure of resources in order to bring about an uncompensated transfer of goods or services from another person or persons to one's self as the result of a "favourable" decision on some public policy. The term seems to have been coined by American economist Gordon Tullock.)

But the citizenry know the main causes, including those three addictions, that ail the country. What they had seen the past 1-1/2 years is that not much progress has been achieved in eradicating these bad habits.

Witness what happened immediately after the amnesty given to the Indonesian illegal workers who went back to their homeland, and the majority failed to show up on a regularised basis in Malaysia. The government decided to source 100,000 workers on a fast track from Pakistan alone, and other numbers from India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, etc. So this administration did not look beyond the immediate crisis faced by Malaysia -- i.e. a shoratge of workers, mainly in the construction and plantation sectors. Then why publicise the problem?

By importing workers from Pakistan, Malaysia is perpetuating the "addiction" to cheap labour. So where is the confluence of words and deeds, Mr Prime Minister?

Friday, May 06, 2005

My Heart Bleeds ... Again

Months ago, (or years ago?) when the government announced another price increase in petrol and other petroleum products, I composed a little Poem.

When I saw today's NST page 1 headline, Petrol + 10 sen Diesel + 20 sen,
my heart wobbled a litle, and it's Deja Vu all over again. And it's a matter of time for another heartburn, and before long, the hearts of many Malaysians become immune ... I wonder, will mine?

The government said from today, the price of diesel and petrol will go up by 20 and 10 sen per litre, respectively, as part of a strategy to gradually reduce the gap between subsidised and unsubsidised diesel and cut down the rampant smuggling the led to a crippling shortage recently.

The PM's Office said in a statement yesterday that in 2004, the government had subsidised RM4.8billion worth of petroleum products. If prices were not raised this year, the government would have to bear a subsidy of RM8.96billion while foregoing RM7.85billion through tax exemptions.

Making along story short,I record a salient point here that, according to the NST report, the PM's Office said that fir Jan-April 2005, the government had increased the price of petrol by seven sen per litre and diesel by 12 sen per litre, although the international price of petrol products had risen by 65.35sen per litre form petrol and 75.49sen per litre for diesel.

Desiderata's limited knowledge tells him that Malaysia is a net exporter of petrol, with our exports of even of higher grades than what we import, thus fetching higher prices. So every time there is a price increase worldwide, logically Malaysia gets MORE, not lesss, income, mostly channelled via PETRONAS, the national oil corporation holding and developing our country's richest resource on the Rakyat's behalf.

So by right, benefits should accrue to the Rakyat whenever there is a price increase, i.e. pump prices of petrol and diesel should COME DOWN! It does NOT make sense in the government's case.

Or am I, and other citizens whom I've discussed the subject many times, missing something that the government knows, that we didn't?

I sadly reprise here my poem:

Bleeding Malayisans

Oil fields offshore Malaysia are a-plenty

Yet when world prices rise
Malaysians pay more for their petrol
Shouldn't it be the other way around?
We produce an oil surplus
Which commands premium prices
No, the politicians smartly tell us
The oil subsidies keep rising
Hence, we raise the pump prices
We chase away Malaysians in their youth
To study in faraway land
A decade or two later
We beg them to come back
To "serve" the motherland
Who bleeds more, my dear?
Malaysia or Malaysians?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Over-emphasis on religion in national schools?

Gerakan president Dr Lim Keng Yaik stirred up a debate on the position of religious studies in Malaysian "national" schools, and whether he did say there had been an "over-emphasis" of religion there, causing certain communities to opt for other type of schools.

It's not surprising that his defence as reported in the NST May 4, 2005 was that he was "wrongly quoted" when certain newspapers reported that Lim had asked that religious matters be kept our of national schools to attract more non-Malays.

He said he was trying to convince non-Malay parents to send their children to national schools by explaining what the Cabinet had discussed.

Dr Lim said his own parents had enrolled him in St Michael's Institution in Ipoh although it was a missionary school, as they appreciated the high standard of teaching there. "There was no over-emphasis on religion at the school although it was a mission school."

Another report on the same page 2 in the NST headlined PM: Issue should have been discussed in Cabinet, quoted Datuk Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as saying that such matters were best discussed in Cabinet or within the Barisan Nasional framework, and not released for public consumption.

Since we are not privy to Cabinet discussions, Desiderata's opinion is that Dr Lim was giving his thoughts on a subject that indeed was a topic of national concern, and might have been a factor in non-Malays' parents' choice of where to send their children for education.

I would wish that the present religious classes for Muslims could continue at national schools. The only "omission" is no arrangements for non-Muslims to also attend classes for other religious faiths. Maybe the government should train teachers in multi-faith disciplines so that non-Muslims can be taught all the basic tenets of the Major religions prevailing in Malaysia, including Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism.

My belief is that all religions teach mankind to be better human beings and advance its civilization processs. If thou are a Muslim, Christian,or Buddhist, just be a Good Muslim, Christian or Buddhist, respectively.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

AFRAID of a cLAsh of MINDS?

Today is World Press Day, but those working in the Fourth Estate in Malaysia don't have much to shout about. Quietly I celebrate for I have found a new outlet, via Blogging.

A month and eighteen days into it, I'm still enjoying the journey, as earlieir fellow travellers like Mack Zulkifli and Jeff Ooi assured new Bloggers they would. I'm also blessed as on the sunrise days of this (ad)venture, I found a companion who has often exchanged conversations with me so that we have ideas posting on the shared gems leading onto refined jewels.

I'll reflect on some sombre issues on this important day, with another voice added to the media fratenity that the Government do away with the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984. I believe we do have a responsible citizenry who know how to toe the lines of civil behaviour and generally lead a moral life, respect each other's civil and religious rights.

Former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad brought Malaysia into the cutting edge of technology with the Multi-Supercorridor (MSC) and in the last decade online publications flourished with his government's pledge that there would be no censorship of content on the Internet, except there was the same binding legilative provisions (which are quite universally accepted) for defamation, sedition and other offences governing the conduct of civil society.

However, there was no commensurate relaxation of the law governing the print media, which has to meet annnual licensing requirements under the PPPA. It appears that the print media operate at a disadvantage compared with online media such as, which went on to attract a good number of hits and viewership, and and, less frequently visited.

Some mainstream media journalists rightly felt that they are hampered in discharging their tasks under severe restrictions of the PPPA, and had for the past few years petitioned the Government to abolish the Act. In fact, some groups have optimistically begun to wish for a Freedom of Information Act like the one our neighbour Thailand has enjoyed for a number of years, and of course, a celebrated norm of more advanced democracies like Australia and the United States of America.

For a start, I'd be more than happy to see the abolition of the PPPA, then move on to battle other "oppresive" Acts like the ISA and OSA, so notorious I won't even need to spell them out
I wouldn't dream of the Freedom of Information Act before we see the removal of these existing barriers!

I hope Pak Lah, now almost 1-1/2 years into his premiership, would feel confident enough that Malaysians have matured enough to self-regulate certain aspects of their public life, including the type and variety of press they wish to read and support. He wishes to see to the nurture and flowering of Towering Malaysians. This noble goal makes certain prerequisites to be present -- yes, the Desiderata of Towering Malaysians -- which to my mind, means we embrace the freedom of thoughts, the freedom of expression with incumbent responsibility, the pursuit and epromotion of intellectual and democratic discourse. I term this, the welcome and promotion of the Clash of Minds, for just as Malaysians want material progress, in tandem they aspire towards mental development and freedom of choice and direction to determine their own mental and spiritual journey.

With clear opposition by substantial numbers to the recent experiment by the Malacca 4B youth setting up their Snoop Squad, Malaysians have indicated in no uncertain terms they want minimum intrusion into their moral and religious terrains which the majority feel are best left with family and community to self-govern, of course under laws that pertain to decency and civil society.

The media fratenity deserves greater freedom to write without fear or favour. Dear Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, do you dare accept this challenge of opening up our minds, now so feathered and fettered? Say Farewell to the PPPA1984, Welcome desiderata.mindopening2005?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Lying down for that Thinker's pose?

I was inclined to take a RealDayofRestandRecreation after doing overtime work yesterday -- Labour Day -- posting my desiderata.english.special plus a May 1 entryspecial.

But being a stickler to set targets for myself -- determined to upload at least one post everyday from Day 1, here's a "lazy" piece done lying down.

Before this, my ideal vision of a Thinker was that of a Man -- or Woman -- sitiing on his backside beneath a tree with a book in his hand, or if minus a book, with his head inclined clasped in the palm of one hand, with his arm holding it up in the direction of the heavens. See, that was how one of my favourite philosophers, Henry David Thoreau, had that image depicted, with a slight variation, in the book cover of Walden -- Essay on Civil Disobedience. It showed a young man in a sitting posture leaned against a tree trunk with an open book by his side, contemplating Nature, +mayhaps+ in the setting of the lush green woods near Walden Pond.

I used the two + signs to highlight this word in an earlier post because I mean to comment on it later, which falls to today's lazy day of doing it. Often, I had used "maybe" to describe a "possibility", and to prevent repetition, used "perhaps", also another "possibility" (Potential good writers are taught to avoid repeating the usage of the same word wherever possible. I had used Poetic Licence to use this new combo word "mayhaps" to stress that the "possibility" of the event happening "is even more remote" than indicated by perhaps and maybe. I invite Readers who have used this "mayhaps" to write&tell me what meaning they had in mind, OK? I sighted it once in a fellow Blogger's post; I'll will try to explore it with her and report back if I'm inclined this way again.

Back to the Thinker tale.

An NST report today on page 10 quoting The Times datelined LONDON, Sun. carried the headline Lying down best way to think.

"Relax! The figure prostrate in bed or on the sofa next to you this morning is not just slobbing out. Scientific research shows that lying down is the best way to think.

Rodin's The Thinker may do it sitiing down; Sir Winston Churchill did it in the bath smoking a cigar; others claim to have their best ideas while jogging.

But researchers now believe the cleverest way to think is while curled up in bed or on a sofa. Clinical tests have shown men and women can solve problems faster while lying down compared to when they are standing up."

The report went on to say that the research, carried out at the Australian National University, suggests that lying down can boost thinking speeds by 10 percent.

Scientists have discovered that noradrenalin, a natural hormone produced in the brain by stress, interferes with the brain cells and reduces people's attention to detail and reasoning. When people stand up, it triggers a reaction in the brain which produces more of this hormone.

So if you do sight desiderata lying down, whether in bed or on the grass (remeember Splendour in the Grass with Natalie Wood?), please do not disturb. He is in deep reflection, or in a stupour. You're not welcome to discover the truth of either!

PS: My favourite poet, Max EHRMANN (1872-1945), seemed to have an inkling of this latest science finding -- as Robert L. Bell said in the INTRODUCTION to The DESIDERATA of HAPPINESS: "Contemporaries told of him (Max) lying in the grass contemplating the sky -- an early flower child."

Sunday, May 01, 2005

First of May

Today is a Special Day for desiderata -- a day of celebration, coinciding with MyDayofR&R this year. Though I spent time this morning (to be chronologically correct, the hour just before entering this auspicious day as young Christoper, of the DOGgone book, remember?, would have wanted to record it, I was working from 11.00pm last night (Saturday -- no, there was no Boston Public episode) so that I could uplink the Epilogue at 12.01am.

As I often quoted, in variations, that "work" that is a labour of love to share with fellowmen and fellwowomen, it gives tremendous joy, it is no more work, but a journey of delight and joy. And I find indescriable joy and delight in writing on Sundays, normally for desiderata.english, with this Labour Day entry an exception.

On a personal level, I have long adopted as my anthem, touchingly recalled by the following:

When I was small

And Christmas trees were tall

We used to love while others used to play

Don't ask me why the time has passed us by

Someone else moved in from far away

Now we are tall

And Christmas trees are small

And you don't ask the time of day

But you and I, our love will never die

Guess who'll cry come First of May

The apple tree that grew for you and me

I watch the apples fallig one by one

And I recll the moment of them all

The day I kissed your cheek and you were gone

I grew up on the BeeGees' rendition, maybe many of you do; recently my horizon expanded to an equally nostalgic version by Emi Fujita, introduced by a friend of just six weeks, but it seems so long ago ... When Christmas trees were still tall?, thanks to that someone special of

On the universal level, I have stated (in various ways) the belief that when we do work that brings us joy and delight, it doesn't become "work" anymore. It's then an activity of the body and mind that helps us grow. It gives us dignity; it gives us love; it gives us an identification of Self.

This self is unique. It is important for our journey in Life. We find dignity in self-realisation that we are worthy to oneself, one's family, one's community, one's country, and the world, for it comprises a community of all humankind.

So on this auspicious day, to all parents, growups-to-be, here's Desiderata wishing you Happy Labour Day. May we find, and give, Dignity in Labour, always.

EPILOGUE: to a Friend,...


Last Sunday I promised I'd write the Epilogue to A Friend, a Challenge, & A DOG, didn't I? And I had stated another time that a Writer's word is His/Her Bond, hadn't I? And I said I took a lot of liberties, didn't I, and so I took a special liberty uploading last Sunday's article UNEDITED.

Keeping my gentleman's word, this is the Epilogue that you have eagerly waited, for 24X6+12 hours 59 minutes 0 second (I'm copying Christopher's style in storytelling, but I can't be accused of plagiarising!).

I could have given this post a new title, "The Importance of Editing", especially relevant to those Readers who are using this Sunday column to upgrade their English writing.

The Editing process starts with reading your Draft of an essay you have just written, looking out for punctuation mistakes -- that is the commas, the semi-colons, the fullstops, the apostrophes, the spellings; and syntax -- that is the sentence construction, following proper grammar rules, Subject-Verb Agreement; and finally, re-arranging the various paragraphs if necessary so that the writing flows smoothly, and the points or arguments are coherent and logical.

So my Epilogue today will be best served by you Printing out a copy of last Sunday's article; later, printing another copy of today's article (Epilogue) and Compare and Contrast the two copies. That will make the Editing Process Crystal Clear, for I would have corrected all the mistakes found in the April 24, 2005's copy, which were made in haste as I had to meet the deadline in accepting Yan's challenge, remember? (

(So here starts the Edited Copy, hopefully desiderata has spotted all the mistakes and weaknesses, and then made the necessary and appropriate changes. My challenge to you, dear Reader with a sharp eye, is to spot any remaining mistake. The first 10 alert ones to write back (yes, you can do it via COMMENTS here) would get the honour to borrow my only copy, the collectible one, remember, with all those funny prime numbers?)

A Friend, A Challenge, & a DOG


Treat today's post as a special, a treat, a trick, whatever, but it's NOT supposed to be written this way. It is written this way because of A Friend, A Challenge, & The Curious INCIDENT of the DOG in the Night-Time. This Dog is special because it's an imaginary one, and won an award called Whitbread Book of the Year for the author MARK HADDON. But I hesitate to sink myself completely into the book and make it public because it contains some four-letter worsd associated with the pubic area (if you know science like the protagonist in the doggone book, Christopher, this branch of Science is called Anatomy (a combo of a lady called Ana and a man called Tom, my take, not the Bio teacher's!) of the Human Body and your Biology teacher will be the best person to educate you about all the parts in detail, functions, etc, etc which stands for et cetera 2X, which means and so on, and so forth, which can also imply a strategy adopted by many writers they have run out of ideas to list ... get what I mean? So be forewarned that out of necessity to confront the TOPIC, i (in small here) humbly seek thy foregiveness and forebearance if the profane-sounding references hurt your sensitivities ... I guess it must be tolerable if, out of 100,000 words I write, only five words offend thy sense of wellbeing (as Christopher will be able to tell ye: only 0.0005 per cent, which is chicken feed compared with dogshit).


This entry came about after I personally met with a Blogger friend (three or four weeks old)(Interruptus as in c. interruptus, as for the last panicky 10 minutes "lost" this essay up till before the first "sensitive" word, this one is of my own, when the PC screen went off with my creative effort so far ... I "Backed" several times, looked at Drafts too, but could NOT get this titled A Friend, A Challenge & a DOG until I typed the second attempt's title, saw the heavenly pointer Recover post, and I clicked, wallah, her I am continuing this post, though this inteeruption cost me 7 minutes ...) No, my friend, Yan (of, is not three or four weeks old, it's our friendship. To distinguish myself when meeting up at the hotel coffee house, I said I would be carrying a copy of Time magazine and a copy of The DOG... I told her I was planning to write a review of this book in a coming Sunday's column. Being curious, as any press-related person, or any writer worth her salt would, Yan later bought a copy of The DOG, emailed me and pushed me into a corner to fix a deadline to uplink "our" reviews simultaneously, which is just exactly 1 hr & 30 minutes & 0 second from this sentence-end.

Now let's get to the


The DOG started early with a dead body -- its own bloody body!

"Fifteen-year-old Christopher has a photographic memory. He understands maths. He understands science. What he can't understand are other human beings (emphasis is desiderata's). (Interruptus here again: I just pressed Shift+B to de-bold instead of Ctrl + B and I lost another 3 minutes typing the next 3 sentences again.) When he finds his neighbour's dog lying dead on the lawn, he decides to track down the killer and write a murder mystery about it. But what other mysteries will he end up uncovering?"

The foregoing is NOT my writing -- it's an exerpt from the book backflap flagging off to sell the book for RM35.90 at Kinokuniya (I mentioned the BookStore just in case I can go back to them to give me a free copy for doing this promo -- then I can lend out this KK copy to my readers who are broke or less welloff than me, who's quite nigh to poverty -- I sometimes spend a night in my car parked near a police station when I can't stay at all the 5- or 6-star or 1-star hotels along Jalan Bukit Bintang (why call it Bukit? when I see no hills there, the stars I can understand because Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones, when making the blockbuster movie "Entrapment", must have stayed in one of the RM5,000 a nighter in a 7-starry deluxe suite, I envy 'em, the stars I mean, not the suite! As I said in one of my posts, the luxury of Blogging is you san digress as much as you want to, so Try It, blogging I mean, not digressing!)

Well, back to the challenge, Yan, I'm midway to writing my 1,500-2,000 words now, and I get carried away with shooting off tangent, like the stars young Christopher often does in telling his detection story. He even mentioned my favourite snoop. Sherlock Holmes! (I'd mention his sidekick if he was fe-male, but a man sounding like the newest bigstore in town, Watsons (currently being feverishly plugged by Cheryl Samad in a TV series, saw that yet?). Mama mia, I digress yet again.

So as time is running against me, just 60 minutes & 4 seconds to 1100 hrs deadline I agreed with Yan (writers' word is their bond!), I come back to The DOG.

Strange numbers

When I started 2-1/2 weeks ago, I was jumping with joy after some 15 minutes because at the top of the pages appeared strange numbers like 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17. This must be a collectible copy in my hands, maybe I can get a few thousand bucks on Ebay auction sales? You know, there are a lot of rich Americanos or Japs out there willing to part with USD (divided by 3.8 rinngit) and I can take a break from freelance 'riting (as LOne (of http://lonestar9/) pondered, serious? Yes, I'm very, very serious.)

My bubble burst when it was soon revealed that the top pagination resulted from one of Chris' skills of playing with prime numbers, and the conventional pagination is listed at the page-bottom. There flies my Greenback and myGoodfriend's Sushi out of the Malaysian window. mGf refers to one of many freinds and this particular one enjoys Jap cuisine, I like the petite girls since viewing one Dr Han Suyin in Love Is a Many-Splendour'd Thing...)

Then my temperature rose a little as part of my job reading the Doggone book was to see if it was suitable reading for lower secondary pupils at Chan Wa High. Though there is a character Mr Peters who is a vicar, there are other colourful figures who don't hesitate in swearing: What the fuck! or add an "s" for variety, Whatthefucks!? No, the question mark doesn't mean the hearer -- please, I didn't say listener -- was expected to answer, this is what is called a rhetorical question.

One can't really review a book adequately, that would be letting the cat out of the doggie's bag, wouldn't I? (Actullay, I'm running out of time, just another 44 minutes to go! See, I misspelt "actually" at the beginning of this sentence in my rush.) Just mention in passing Chris indeed threw in a lot of science puzzles and tricks (one I still couldn't figure out was relating to Probability, we'll leave that for another time and place, just that he made it easier with graphs and diagrams which litter the book, like poo?)

I checked the Chambers ENGLISH DICTIONARY which starts with A, a on page 1 and ends with zythum on page 1732, and found the following definitions:

fuck (old word, long taboo: all words, meanings still vulg.) v.i. to have sexual intercourse: to play around, act foolishly, etc, etc, and further down:

fucked exhausted

poo (slang) same as poop5 faeces: defecation.
(I have used poop3 before, in the full form, nincompoop)

To continue, after the neighbour Mrs Shears' dog was found dead, there were the usual arrival of the policeman, the questioning, and Christopher's determination to solve the murder mystery. It was definitely MURDER, for the poor dog had a fork speared through him (no, not the table fork, the big one from the garden's shed).

I'm now doing a hop-step-&-jump in story telling (not book-reviewing!) and hence summarise here some key obs (for observations as I'm running out of steam):

* Other potentially sensitive words and lines sighted are cunt, (the uncanny one of, canORKnot?

** "Do you mean that they were doing sex?" said by Chris to one Mrs Alexander who mentioned earlier to Chris that "Your mother, before she died, was very good friend with Mr Shears."

*** And she said, "Are you tling the truth, Christopher?"
And then I said, "I always tell the truth."


Heaving a sigh of relief, I pen this paragraph:

"So I got to 451c Chapter Road, London NW2 5NG and it took me 27 minutes and there was no one in when Impressed the button that said Flat C and the only interesting thing that happened on the way was 8 men dressed up in Viking costumes with helmets with horns on and they were shouting, but they weren't real Vikings because the Vikings lived nearly 2,000 years ago, and also I had to go for another wee (desiderata thinks this qualifies as another potentially sensitive word and also the subsequent behaviour that follows Chris' need to behave naturally... , so I won't refer for its meaning, or demeaning, in da dick...) and I went in the alleyway down the side of a garage called Burdett Motors which was closed and I didn't like doing that but I didn't want to wet (desiderata: yet another red-face turning word!) myself again, and there was nothing else interesting.


Please note that the last paragraph before this Epiloge is pretty long; Christopher is allowed to do this as he uses what we call Poetic Licence. I'll elaborate on what PL is on a later post; suffice to mention a famous example is that "double superlatives" Shakespeare used -- remember Brutus' putting a dagger into Caesar's back, described as "the unkindest cut of all..."? Please consult me first if you plan to use one, okay? As time does not permit, I'll leave this for next Sunday's desiderata.english, do I have thy kind permission, dearer Reader? (This is another rhetorical question.)

Just add a PS that today's writing was very much influenced by HADDON's writ(h)ing as a child gifted with with autism. So if any doeth offence, methinks it's Haddon's talent, not my fault.

PPS: I'm not editing this post as wrong grammar and spellings can be attributed to young Christopher. (If anyone spells this last bold-ed word as grammer, he/she would be sent to detention class for a week, and asked to write this word, properly spelt, a thousand times, and fined RM100!) Chow, have fund, oops, fun!