Thursday, March 30, 2006

Sudah 25 Tahun (it's already 25 years)

Had to go to the Ministry of Foreigns affair to collect my girlfriend's certificate of good conduct. Yup, same ministry whose website is tainted and is still tainted despite my best efforts to email the webmaster. To be honest, the only reason why I ransacked such a boring website was because I wanted to know what are the operating hours. As I couldnt find it online, I went there at 8am to be safe. Sure enough, the moment I reached there, I saw that they only started at 8.30am. The guard remarked to me jokingly "Sudah 25 tahun Kementerian ada, tiap-tiap hari pun 8.30 start" (This ministry has been around for 25 years, the operation hours always starts at 8.30) as if this is some general knowledge that the whole world should know. I wanted to tell him "Bang, Malaysia sudah merdeka hampir 50 tahun, tiap-tiap hari servis kerajaan pun sama jugak" (Malaysia has reached independence for almost 50 years, the level of service in the public sector remains the same) but I kept my mouth shut.

As if it isnt bad enough, while finally it was time to go in, I had to take a number, give my number and wait 1 hour for the cert to be ready. The Makcik (auntie) at the counter told me "Today printer rosak (spoilt) have to wait longer" Why tell me it's ready when it's not even printed yet. Looks like they are not only bad in website design, they cant even maintain a simple printer.

Well for some reason while waiting for the cert to be printed, I kept thinking back about the guard's 25 years remark and tried to see how much the country has really grown. And I cant help but think of our national car maker, Proton. They have been around for 21 years but what have they really done for the country all these while? Created more jobs for the country? Not much if you consider that they are only hiring about 3,000-4,000 people (including the parts industry and dealers) out of a 30million population, all these while encouraging these people to provide sub-quality components and sub-quality services. Not a great deal you would say?

International trade? Considering that they are selling most models at loss in UK and yet no one seems to be buying, you wouldnt say that's a great deal as well. Paying tax to the government? Considering Proton is currently owned by Petronas (our oil profit), Khazanah Holdings (commercial arm of Finance Ministry, i.e. our tax money) and Employee Providence Fund (our sweat money), it'll be good enough that Proton doesnt take away the government's money, which is indirectly our money. So for those of us who don own a Proton, don brag too much cause each time you pay your income tax, EPF, you are giving a piece of it to Proton. So you're actually a shareholder without the shares.

National pride? Are we all proud that Proton is Malaysia's national carmaker? When Volkswagen pulled out from the deal with Proton, the main reason was because the M'sian government insist on having control rights over whatever partnership they will be forming, citing national interest/national pride reasons. What pride? It's a joke for 20 years.

Giving Malaysians a chance to own affordable vehicles? Well, the only reason why Proton models are affordable is because the government has conveniently made the other carmakers not so affordable. So for 20 years, we have been forced to buy sub-quality outdated automobiles at cut-throat prices, which is incidentally normally RM10k more expensive than the export models, which are also of better built-quality (<- does this make any sense to any of you non-Malaysians out there????)

Well, the deception just cant go on forever and finally, the Malaysian government has realised this isnt really working. I guess Pak Lah isnt as keen on Proton continously seeping the national coffers since it wasnt his brainchild and he probably has other "new ideas" to spend money on. And considering that the next elections will be in 2 years time, the government will do well to be seen doing something good for the people for once. Which is why, the excise duties will "gradually" disappear as Proton will start to "look for new markets outside Malaysia". When will the Saga ever end, you might ask? Well, actually that's a double-pronged question since Proton is still offering their Proton Saga model in various guises, a model that has been around since 1985:))

So, an hour's wait allowed me to ponder a 21-year old dilemna. What a great way to start the morning!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Webpage Links to Chinese Website

Sigh, Malaysian public sector's clueness about IT has no bounds. Check out our foreign affairs ministry's website. Click on Inquiries. It actually leads to a portal in China, some Disgraceful to be a Malaysian, man! Screenshot if you don't believe:

HTML code in main page:
<frameset cols="161,607*" frameborder="0" border="0" framespacing="0">
<frame name="left" scrolling="NO" noresize src="menu/menuinquiries.html">
<frame name="main" src="http://infocenter3/kln/enquiry.nsf/Enquiry?OpenForm"
Kena hacked? Or programmer's mistake?

Most Bizarre in Today's Radio

Just heard the weirdest thing on this morning. Apparently the breakfast show team was having some one-hit-wonder countdown and listeners who suggest one-hit-wonder songs get a bouquet of flowers whom he/she can dedicate to. Well the DJs decided to go one up and call this suggester's wife to prepare her when this guy dedicates the flowers to. I had a weird feeling something bad was gonna happen but realising this was Malaysian radio, things should be under control la. Well the conversation on radio went something like this:

DJ: Hello, Simon! Congrats for suggesting the Ketchup song
Simon: Thanks!
DJ: Well you get a surprise gifr from us for participating in this program
Simon: Oh do I get the Ketchup girls (my internal siren started when this guy said this kinda stuff)
DJ: You are one kinky fella ah
Simon: Yeah man!
DJ: You are getting a bouquet of flowers whom you can dedicate to your loved one.
Simon: Ok! Every flower in this bouquet represents a part of my love. To Michelle, my love..
Wife: Michelle!!!!!!!!!?????????
Simon: Cindy!!!!?????????????
Wife: I cant believe this %#$@&!
Simon: $#$%#%
DJs: Guys, lets take this offline...

Commercial takes over. Well, I thought it was some early April's Fool Joke. Apparently it wasnt. So, warning to all you Simons out there. Be careful the next time you dedicate something on air.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Rebel 5 has signed the 2008 Concorde Agreement

After much ado about nothing, the threat of a breakaway racing series by Mclaren, BMW, Honda, Toyota and Renault has finally been brought to a halt as the 5 teams meekly signed the Concorde Agreement for 2008's races and beyond. After realising that they're going nowhere with their pout and sulk, they have towed in line, joining Ferrari, Williams, and the 2 Red Bull teams.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Chori Chori Chupke Chupke


We interrupt this blog to bring you this special news (cause not related to cars or football at all:P):

I've always dreamt of choreographing, singing and dancing to a Hindi tune on stage (actually it never crossed my mind until a couple in my church group (boy's indian and girl's chinese) decided to get married and a few of us have to do a sketch during the wedding dinner). The wedding was last night (25th March) at Legend Hotel, KL. First thing that crossed my mind when i was told about it: BOLLYWOOD STORY!! But since the girl's chinese, so must mix a bit of Chinese culture into it. So the basic flow of the story was:

One day, hot male Bollywood-star wannabe meets sweet female Chinese Opera singer-wannabe on the street. It was love at first sight. The courtship blossoms with them doing a Hindi dance. Guy proposes, girl accepts. They go home to tell their parents (Guy's father is a widower and girl's mother is a widow, implied). All 4 meets only to realise that the father and mother were ex-lovers 30 years ago but were separated due to parental objections. The sketch ends with everyone singing a Chinese folklore song with the lyrics re-written in English to tell that love transcends race and culture.

Standard Hindi movie stuff eh:) Unfortunately, we couldnt do the sketch cause all the actors had really busy schedules for the past weeks and we couldnt find time to practice. (it was good as well since in retrospect, the story was quite controversial and the crowd on that night were quite serious(hungry)-looking. Don think they will see the humorous side of things). So how??? The sketch is in the program already. If cancel, it'll be a big disappoint to our friends. Thank God, I finally got new inspiration at 5pm last night (wedding was at 8pm, first practice for sketch was supposed to be 6pm:P). We wanted to do a karaoke of the Hindi song at the end of the show anyway. Why not finetune the steps a bit (macarena-ise it) and let's just do a Bollywood dance scene? The song, Chori Chori Hum Gori Se was taken from the movie, The Guru. Catchy like nobody's business. So no problem on entertaining the audience regardless of any mishaps on stage. So the results of 3 practices between 6pm to 7pm is here. Hope you all enjoyed as much as I did. One of my Lifetime Dreams fulfilled:P Many thanks to Christ Jesus who provided all the inspirations and my lovely dancers (Debbie, Ann and Liew (Left to Right in the dance))

Lyrics of the Chori (x2) Chupke (x2) with translations:

Chori Chori Hum Gori Se Pyaar Karengey
i will love the fair damsel stealthily
Chupke Chupke Dil Ki Baatein Yaar Karengey
secretly i'll talk about matters of the heart with her
Chori Chori Hum Gori Se Pyaar Karengey
Chupke Chupke Dil Ki Baatein Yaar Karengey

Aane Waali, Kabh Aayegi Koi De Bataa
when will that damsel enter my life, someone please tell me
Dhoond Rahe Hain, Jaane Kabh Se, Hum Uska Pataa
i've been searching for her from a long time
Aaja Aaja Aaja Aaja Aaja Aaja Aa
c'mon, come to me!

By the way, title of the original sketch was called Bollywood and Chinese Opera:)) Message me if you want the mp3 of the Hindi song.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

What a bunch of Children

This spate of letters from GPMA to FIA and vice versa is quite laughable actually. Consider this: Formula One is a billion-dollar business, the players are all billion-dollar earners, there are billions of viewers every race. And yet, those involved cant see eye-to-eye. The stakes are high, gentlemen. The motor industry has never been in better shape, save in America (land of no-corners) of course. As the world becomes more affluent, the desire to earn a top-class automobile is simply irresistible, be it in China, India, Europe and America (they have finally learned the need for corners, apparently). All this politicking isnt really necessary and leaves an absolute bad taste in the exhaust. So, will the real Slim Shady, please stand up or as Mariah Carey sings, Shake it off, bozos. And let the real men take centre stage.

BMW is the bald spot, Honda is the eyes, Mercedes is the nose, Toyota is probably the mouth and Renault is its penis

Dear Rascals (Letter from Max Mosley to the Rebel-5)

** Please read Prequel first

Letter from Mosley to the GPMA


Thank you for your letter of 21 March, which was sent to us at 22.11 last night.

The World Motor Sport Council took account of the contents of your letter, but noted that it contained no proposal which could be substituted for any of those in front of the Council, sent to you on 1 March and the again, with minor modifications, on 15 March.

The World Motor Sport Council has also noted that none of you attended the meetings which were held early in 2005 to discuss the 2008 regulations, despite repeated invitations to do so, and that the proposals which you promised to deliver to us in June 2005 are still not to hand.

In the circumstances, the Council decided to adopt the proposed Sporting Regulations in their entirety and extend an invitation to all interested teams to enter the 2008 Championship and participate in discussions on any element which they believe could be improved.

The Council notes that although the 2008 Sporting Regulations are now fixed, any element could be changed on proposal of a simple majority of the entered teams sitting in the Sporting Working Group and that the Formula 1 Commission or the World Motor Sport Council would only reject such proposal in the overall interest of the Formula One World Championship or of motor sport in general.

Yours sincerely

Max Mosley.

p.s. Go and piss yourself off (<--- Blog owner's creative rights)

Dear Max (Letter from the Rebel-5, GPMA)

Letter from the GPMA to Max Mosley
Dear Max

Thank you for your letter of 15 March 2006, enclosing a copy of the 2008 Sporting Regulations which are to be approved by the World Motor Sport Council on 22 March 2006.

We are pleased to note that the FIA wishes to involved teams in constructive discussion with a view to adopting changes to such Regulations with further aims as set out in your letter, once entries into the 2008 Championship have been accepted.

However, prior to any such discussions, we feel that it is appropriate for us to identify as number of significant concerns which we would prefer to raise now before the said Regulations are approved by the World Motor Sport Council.

Organisation Agreement

The 1998 Concorde Agreement, to which the teams and the FIA are parties, guarantee the current participating teams, during each year of the term, a right to entry into the Championship. Furthermore, the 1998 Concorde Agreement provides for the teams, as stakeholders in the sport, to have a significant role in its governance. These provisions appear to have been removed from the latest proposals submitted by the FIA post 2007 and we would ask that provisions to accommodate these concerns be taken into account in the draft 2008 Sporting Regulations to be approved by the World Motor Sport Council.

Engine Homologation

Whilst all signatories to this letter (and Cosworth) agree and confirm that they are committed to reducing engine costs, we realise that there is no time to discuss this issue further with you before the meeting of the World Motor Sport Council; we would respectfully request that Regulation 86e and Appendix 6 be agreed before the Sporting Regulations are adopted.

Rule Changes

We have noted that the provisions for changes in the Sporting and Technical Regulations which are currently set out in Appendix 5 of the draft 2008 Sporting Regulations, are different from those proposed in your letter of 18th November 2005. We would wish to see the composition, voting structure and proves of the Formula One Commission and its related working groups being established in line with your 19th November 2005 proposal. In particular, we believe that, further to previous discussions, if the majority of teams vote in favour of a change, such a change should not be capable of being vetoed by the F1 Commission.

In addition to the above, we do have a number of other concerns which we would also wish to discuss with you, which include the restriction on testing (Article 63 (b)), the engine ballast penalty (Article 86 (a)) and the gear box rules (Article 87). We believe that changes could be made to these provisions which would better achieve the FIA’s three objectives set out in your 15th March 2006 letter.

We very much hope that you will accept this letter in the constructive spirit in which it is offered and take our above concerns into consideration before the draft 2008 Sporting Regulations are submitted to the World Motor Sport Council for approval. Further, we would be very happy to discuss them with you in a constructive manner at a mutually convenient time and place.

Kind Regards

Yours sincerely

BMW, Honda, McLaren, Renault, Toyota and GPMA.

Please read the Sequel:)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Nice F1 On-Site Photos


My friend, Casey Liew took some really nice photos during this year's F1 at Sepang (ITV commentators like to pronounce it as seeee---peng when it should be ser-parng. 7 years and they still get it wrong! not very bright arent they?). Here's one of photo I leeched from his site. Very nice photo of Montoya, Mr red-hot Colombian. Not so hot since he joined Mclaren. When he was at Williams, we werent sure whether it was him or the car that was less talented. Now that he's at Mclaren, for sure, it's him and not the car. What about Kimi Raikonen? He of the not so blessed fortunes, once again wrecked his rear suspensions and rear wings. This time, it wasnt his fault. Klien of Red Bull was the perpetrator. I think Klien might have taken his team name a bit too seriously.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Entetaining Formula 1 Qualifying Sessions are Back!!!

The Formula 1 qualifying sessions have gone through too many changes these past years (from 12 laps in an hour to parc ferme single-lap qualifying to two parc ferme single-lap qualifying sessions and back to single single-lap qualifying, only a F1 fan can understand and tolerate this ranting!). Well, they've finally got it right this time:)

As I've explained before, now there's 3 sessions and the cars can go out on unlimited amount of laps (but they have to conserve the engine and tires). Sure enough, within the first 15-minute session, drama unfolded. Kimi Raikonen crashed!! It was either due to mechanical failure (faulty rear right suspension) or too many belly-dancing sessions last night for Kimi. Whatever it was, first major scalp claimed in the first new qualifying session of the first race of the season and Kimi will start last on the grid. Ralf Schumacher of Toyota didnt fare too well as well. The session was red-flagged and thank goodness for the rest of the top drivers who were still in garage, the timing stopped as well. 4 minute 34 seconds left. The moment the debri were cleared, there was a massive traffic jam at the pit lane exit as all the drivers rushed to do a lap to get into next session. What a sight! That's the most expensive traffic jam I've seen so far! Nice!

Second session was a bit less dramatic but just as entertaining as the drivers once again come out during the last 3rd-4th minute to do just enough to get into the top 10 for the last session. Final session was interesting as the 10 cars left have to go out in race fuel (i.e. the fuel load that they will start in the race tomorrow. It was all probably calculated using massive supercomputers in the team garages). It was a mini race in itself as drivers then started to go on many laps to burn off the fuel so that the car's weight will reduce again to produce fast laps. Now, this is where F1 becomes a bit too indulgent for my taste. With oil price shooting up like nobody's business, here are 10 cars going round and round achieving no purpose but so they can start in the front row of a race tomorrow. Multiply that by 18 races we're having this season and things dont look too good. However, all in all, there were plenty of action going on in this qualifying. Best I've seen for a long long time! Btw, it was also Schumacher's (the better Schumacher, I mean) 65th pole, equaliing Ayrton Senna's record, which has stood since 1994. Formula 1 is definitely back in the black again!!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

A Brand New Challenge


After 3 and 1/2 years in my first job, I've finally decided to accept a new challenge. The projects that I did with Open Source Systems has been amazingly rewarding and it's the best first job a person could have. My new job will be in the Linux/Unix Division in Shell IT International. It's another step towards my dream job, to be involved in Formula One and Ferrari. Previously, most of my projects used AMD processors, so that was as close as it got. Now it's closer. Tomorrow (6/3/2006) will be my first day at work. All the best to myself!