Wedding Reception

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Written on 12/06/2007 11:45:00 am by sikapitan


Click on card for full view

P/S: This is the bride's reception ceremony which is open to everyone and their families. Your presence will be much appreciated. Thank you!

Something About Raya In Space...

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Written on 10/17/2007 05:38:00 pm by sikapitan

Selamat Hari Raya to my readers (if I still have any). Every year since the inception of this blog, I have been telling you tales about my trip to my hometown of Penang. This year was different, because for the first time in ages, I celebrated Hari Raya Aidilfitri at Subang Jaya. It was a close call, this one, because my two aunts who are still staying in Penang wanted us to go with tradition and head back to Gelugor, but at the end of the day, the rest of family persuaded THEM to head over to KL and celebrate here instead.

This is the beginning of a new era I guess. Most of my relatives are here in KL anyway, and my soon-to-be in-laws are based in KL. This will probably be the first of many Raya celebrated in KL. Yes, I do miss Penang. I still have fond memories of the trips there. I fear that without this yearly jaunt to my hometown, I’ll probably never get out of KL!

But to be completely honest, I’ve not had that Raya feeling for quite some time. I guess the introduction of Astro into my grandma’s house somehow robbed us of that “I have nothing to do, so let’s explore Penang” kind of attitude. I can’t even remember how to get to Padang Kota, so what kind of a Penangite am I? (Yes, yes…the sharp nose is still there, and I can still do a mean anak mami accent if I want to…but the heart is no longer set on the beaches of Ferringhi…)

Heck, I can’t even bring myself to watch the TV shows for Raya. There used to be a time when Raya Specials were really special. It was something that has never been shown before, something that we look forward to because we missed it in the cinema (of course, all this is irrelevant if you don’t watch Malay shows…but that’s your loss). The musicals were jam-packed with stars like M.Nasir, Siti Nurhaliza etc. But nowadays you get crap like one show I accidentally saw on RTM 1 called Duets Raya or something. You get people from bands like Sofaz partnering some unpopular and more importantly, not so talented, female singers butchering classic Hari Raya songs.

Let’s not start with the movies. Why do TV stations assume that people want to be enlightened on Raya eve? Why do they always decide to put some soapy, sad drama about (1) anak durhaka (2) isteri/suami durhaka (3) mak bapak durhaka? Why must we suffer the indignity of being swayed by one-trick-pony directors like Rashid Sibir? Most importantly, why do we keep having reruns of Prof. Abd. Razak Mohaideen’s idiotic brand of “situational comedies”?
Lost in Space

Perhaps everyone thought that we would be more interested in watching a space show, or to be more specific, our proud angkasawan at ISIS, Outer Space. Yes, I am proud that we have a Malaysian in space, and no matter what, we shouldn’t take the mickey out of Doktor SM’s successful launch into space. It’s not his fault that our government can’t seem to prioritize!

Why does the government of Malaysia think it’s valuable to send someone into space? What is it that Malaysians can do, that actually other astronauts can’t? I mean, what sort of “research” are they actually asking him to do? Wouldn’t it be easier to just send the “nasi lemak” or “durian” to astronauts who are actually going there to do something significant? More importantly, wouldn’t it be cheaper?

You see, while Singapore, which earns more than we do, has a higher GDP than we do, with a higher per capita income than Malaysians do, are busy solidifying their economy in the face of the expected global market meltdown and turmoil in key oil states in the Middle East, we decided to spend more than RM 100 Million (that is reported, I’m sure the real and hidden cost is much more than that) on sending a man into space to wear a pretty cool Malaysian jumpsuit, but proves nothing besides the fact that we know how to spend money.

Malaysia is a bit like those on-off hip hop stars, like we have some hits at some point of our career, get a lot of dough, spent it on blings-blings, then become anonymous until the next lucky hit comes along. It’s great if we can come up with the hits, but what if it dries up? Maybe we should learn from P.Diddy, who built a business empire despite his limited talent in the rap game. Who says you can’t have the cake and eat it too?

Oh yeah, oil prices are at a record high recently, and with the tension over Iran growing, there’s no sign it’s going to come down to manageable level anytime soon. That means petrol prices in Malaysia are expected to rise again, as the government cannot afford to subsidize us anymore, what with their space mission, national service, Port Klang Free Zone bailout…I mean, what can they do, right? Go figure.

The One on Justice

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Written on 10/02/2007 12:19:00 am by sikapitan

Last week saw two different sorts of protest in two different countries which similarities end with sharing the same first alphabet in their name and being in ASEAN. While 2,000 lawyers marched in Putrajaya, Malaysia, thousands of protestors brave the threats from trigger happy soldiers and stake their claim for freedom in Yangon, Myanmar. While the lawyers manage to hand over their memorandum and go back to their normal lives, dozens of protestors were killed being shot while trying to exercise their inherent human right for freedom of expression.

Readers might be inclined to assume that I would compare the two situations and come to the conclusion that the Bar Council’s protest is nothing, in fact, overkill, when compared to the real atrocities going on in Myanmar. The lawyers were up in arms against the recent video release depicting senior lawyer V.K Lingam conspiring with an unknown (yes, people say that it’s the current chief justice, but that’s speculation until proven otherwise) person to appoint certain individuals, including the chief justice, into positions of importance within our judiciary 5 years ago. The people of Myanmar were up in arms for their freedom, against the oppression of the violent military junta ruling the country. Looks like a foregone conclusion?

Not in the least bit. Can’t Malaysians see that if we sit back and watch as the very essence of democracy being mocked by the people who are supposed to uphold it, the scenes we see from the streets of Yangon will be transplanted to our very own Kuala Lumpur? The very essence of democracy is the Rule of Law (roughly means: everybody is subject to the law, no one is above it), and an independent judiciary remains the cornerstone of preserving this essence.

The Malaysian judiciary have never recovered from the 1988 crisis. For those in the dark, basically what happened was that brave, intelligent and independent senior judges were “removed” from their esteemed position, just because they were bold enough to go against, the executive at that time, over a fundamental issue. I am an admirer of Tun Mahathir, but like every great man, he has his flaws. His innate desire to control every aspect of Malaysia Inc. is his strength and also his weakness. His decision at that time remains a black mark in our justice system. Malaysia suffered in the eyes of the world, whereby our judiciary was questioned and criticized.

But we remain ignorant of this, and the people were not unhappy. In fact, there was a sense of indifference, except for the brave members of the then Bar Council. Nothing came out of their resolutions condemning the sackings and their voices were drowned out by the great news of our rapid rise in world economy. It seems like people only shout when they’re hungry.

So why the big hurrah then when the justice system condemned Anwar Ibrahim to jail? Why was everyone so surprised? The die was cast years before that. Do I care about Anwar or his politics? No, BUT I do have a problem when the judiciary appears (I’m not even saying it is, but it just appears) to be influenced by certain people and their agenda.

And that’s the problem that we face at the moment. The apathy by the general public over the importance of an independent judiciary stems from the lack of knowledge, and this in turn is due to our non-inquisitive way of thinking indoctrinated by our, ironically, rapid economic progress at the expense of real cultural progress. But it’s not too late.

We can start at the way judges are chosen and their promotion. At the current moment, there is a distinct lack of transparency, and sometimes people ask me these things, and I don’t really know what or how to answer. The criteria for choosing Judicial Commissioners and Judges appear to be so mysterious, that not even the judges themselves can safely state the reason for their appointment. How are recommendations made? At least let us know that.

It WOULD be better though if a Commission be set up, consisting of seasoned practitioners, esteemed members of society, political representatives or even NGOs who would draw up a list of candidates based on a definite set of criteria that’s published clearly for the public to peruse. At this moment, almost 90% of our judges are chosen from government service ie. AG Chambers etc. I know quite a few of these judges, and I am not suggesting in any way that they’re biased or ill-equipped to deliver justice. In fact, I do believe that most of them are honest folks who would decide based on sound principles of justice in most cases. But wouldn’t it be better if there’s a balanced composition of judges manning our superior courts?

I didn’t join the march. But I hope my words here would suffice. People say that the pen is mightier than the sword. You don’t have to shout, you don’t have to throw bricks, you don’t have to picket. All you have to do is open up your mind, improve your knowledge, discuss serious issues instead of just football with your friends, read as much as you can and most importantly, share your views and learn how to accept others’. Knowledge is power. And with power comes responsibility. I hope I have fulfilled mine. Insyaallah.


The One on Nurin

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Written on 9/22/2007 03:55:00 pm by sikapitan

No man should ever suffer the sorrow of burying their own child. Death comes in many ways, and we come to expect it in certain circumstances. Your old grandpa suffering from heart attack, though a loss is one you probably see coming a mile away. But what do you do when you’re in Jazimin Abdul Jalil’s shoes? How do you respond to the fact that your daughter, your own flesh and blood, has died in such atrocious circumstances?

Nurin Jazlin suffered as no person, let alone a child, has to. Sexual assault on a young child evokes feeling of disgust unlike any other crime. Just imagining the emotional suffering that she has to go through can make even the strongest of men squirm in their pants. It’s a sick act, one that deserves the outmost attention as in my opinion it represents a disturbing increasing trend of dangerous crimes in Malaysia.

In my personal opinion, this sort of crime are the most dangerous not because of its effect, but because we can’t understand its cause(s), which is even more horrifying. Nothing frustrates crime-busters more than crimes that defies conventional norm. Yes, criminal psychologist probably has a general profile for sexual offenders, but how do we identify this group of people? How do we help them, understand them, before their frustration results in violence?

I wouldn’t have the slightest idea, but the police must be scratching their heads when crimes like this come up. They have to get off their comfortable chair and start investigating, something which some police officers probably aren’t looking forward to.

But in any case, I urge readers, regardless of your race, religion, or nationality, to pray for Nurin’s soul and more importantly, work together to prevent anything remotely similar from happening. As a community, Malaysians are severely lacking in courage to stand up against crime. We will just watch as people fight, stay away when someone gets mugged...can’t we see that together, we can make a difference?


Mo Money Mo Problem

Another issue that has remained in the limelight for the past few weeks is the Auditor-General’s report on government spending. I’m sure we’ve all seen the numbers, and I’m sure most of us are appalled at the ridiculous mismanagement of government’s funds by the various government bodies. The sad thing is I personally believe the A-G’s report only uncovered the tip of the iceberg.

At a time when we hear the Government lamenting the lack of funds to support our subsidies, we are faced with such astounding figures. Let’s not forget about the proposed government bail-out of the overspent Port Klang Free Zone. The cost? RM 4 Billion! Heck, forget about subsidies! With that amount, the government could double the police work force, increase funding for education, modernize public amenities, build roads...the list is endless. And they could do more if any further spending is done efficiently, with proper planning and a sense of responsibility. It’s never the government’s money; it’s ours, so please treat it well.

This brings us to the issue of accountability, or rather, the lack of it when it comes to government projects. Far from being a stooge for the opposition, i am still rather concerned at the way projects are being handed out and the selection process, if any, when it comes to awarding of such projects. It seems like the whole concept of open tender is foreign when it comes to our projects. While the reputation of big corporations cannot be denied, it still comes as a surprise whenever the government seems to already hand-pick these companies to spearhead their initiatives.

Open tender system allows for the government, as trustee’s to our money and the nation’s future, to sift through the various proposals and pick the company with the best combination of experience, efficiency and lowest price. By hand-picking companies for projects, they’re actually depriving you the opportunity to choose the most efficient contractor around. Yes, these corporations has the experience and the deep-pocket to manage such mega projects, but isn’t it ironic that the companies grew big BECAUSE of government’s projects? So what happens is that these mega corporations become bigger and bigger, swollen with a combination of cash and confirmed order books for years, making them more prone to wastage and inefficiency.

I’m starting a new job soon. A challenging one, but I’ll tell you more next time. Till then, go figure.

The One on Turning 50

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Written on 8/28/2007 02:20:00 am by sikapitan

Namewee – the mere sight and sound of that name sends shudders down the spine of every politician worth his or her salt here in Malaysia. It should, by now, be a forgotten story, but when it first came into the limelight (thanks to Harian Metro, the vanguard of petty news, gossips, social justice and Malay rights), it was the biggest news of the hour.

Everyone and I do mean everyone, had an opinion on the young Muar kid (Muar oh Muar…) who degraded our national anthem by showing a little bit of talent in putting forth his thoughts in verses better known as rap. The problem, of course, is that he did it in a way that allegedly insulted the Malays, and hence, every UMNO leader without fail had something to say about this whole matter. The MCA politicians of course tried to defuse the matter, knowing that it’s a time bomb ready to explode. Thankfully, no leader pushed the envelope, and said the wrong thing at the wrong time, and thankfully, this didn’t turn out into a slanging match with racial undertones.

The video’s message is not dissimilar to half the things I’ve read on the Internet, especially in message boards and comment pages. There are some people, a certain segment of the population that believes most of the problems in Malaysia, or with Malaysia, has got to do with the government’s ineptitude, corrupt practices and general lack of care for the well-being of the nation. Because the majority in the government consists of Malays, and most of the civil servants are Malays, there’s an easy option of correlating the problems we face as being caused by the Malays.

Government policies that favor the Malays tend to further heighten the sense amongst other races that they’re not more than just squatters here in Malaysia. And while it is easy for me to say that the non-Malays have also prospered here in Malaysia, it’s not so easy to answer when they say they did it DESPITE this handicap. There’s a siege mentality building up amongst the non-Malays, developed by the experiences of the previous generation.

My peers’ parents work long and hard to accumulate enough wealth to send their children to private colleges, and their struggle to give proper education to their children are transmitted to the children, who would later watch their fellow Malay friends from high-school getting tertiary education at a discount (with LOANS nonetheless!) and yet still manage to screw it all up. We wasted our opportunity, an opportunity that was not even made available to them in the first place. Can they be blamed for feeling a little bit miffed?

What has all these got to do with Namewee? Nothing, and yet everything (ah, to quote Salahadin from Kingdom of Heaven is a bit dramatic, don’t you think?). Namewee is the manifestation (albeit a crude and impolite) of the sentiment building up amongst the non-Malays here in Malaysia. Must we deny what is evident by holding hands and singing Jalur Gemilang? Would waving the flag vigorously make people forget the past, or would writing articles about how wonderful Malaysia is (it is, in my personal opinion, and there’s nothing like home) can hide the fact that at the mamak stall (something ALL Malaysians are united about…hehehe), in whispers, we say things that are politically incorrect?

As far as I’m concerned, it appears from my regular mamak stall conversations that we Malays have only praises for the Chinese community. We associate them with efficiency and diligence, hard work and perseverance. Yes, nothing’s perfect, and there are times when things are not as rosy, but from what I gather, there is a genuine amount of respect for the Chinese and their success (although admittedly, there’s also a fair amount of jealousy – respect does not equate to acceptance), especially when it comes to the business of making money.

The problem is, what do people talk about when they’re talking about Malays? And this is the crux of the matter. It’s not about whether the N.E.P is still relevant or not, it’s not about getting quotas into universities, it’s not about A.Ps. It’s about what we, as Malays living in our own land, have achieved. It’s about what we, as leaders (and that’s what we are, in every sense of the word), have done to earn the respect of the people we lead.

I truly believe that people are not dissatisfied because contracts go to Bumiputra companies, but because these companies do such a lousy job at such an expensive price. I truly believe that the quota system would work, if only there are no “special privileges” given to those who are lucky just because they’re born to somebody famous or powerful. I truly believe no one would mind a Malay leader, if only the leader can stop building castles! In other words, I truly believe none of the angst and disappointment by the non-Malays and even Malays would surface if we, as Malay leaders, take the opportunity to lead by example in whatever we do.

There must be a shift in the paradigm. Malays must look beyond the superficial, and find it within themselves the desire to truly be respected, not because of their race, but because of their achievements. It must come to a point where we can say, it’s okay, we can make it on our own and the non-Malays will see us and say, yes, we don’t mind your privileges, because when you prosper, we all do. A change will do us good…

It doesn’t matter if you’re 50, or you’re 100, or you’re 10. Just like it doesn’t matter if I’m 20, I’m 40 or I’m 60. The key lies not in the number, but in what those numbers represent, how those numbers translate into achievements, how it has carried us forward as a society. The question now is, are we heading in the right direction towards political, social and economic maturity, or are we slowly turning into nothing more than a bunch of 5 year olds squabbling over spilt milk? Go figure…

...

Of course, when we're talking about subject such as this, there are bound to be certain readers who take offense to some of the generalization evident in this post. For example, some Malay readers would stop and say, "Hey, I went to university, and I didn't mess up my life...". If you do, and are, in that situation, then hats off to you, we need more like you (indicating that there's not enough, which validates the negative generalization in this post). Some Chinese readers would stand up and say, "Hey, I've never thought bad things about the Malays. I've done well, my parents had it easy, we are rich...". Again, congratulations, and perhaps you should do your own rap song with a positive spin on Malaysia. In short, there are exceptions to the overall generalization, and I do hope in this age of over-sensitive readers and moral guides, you would understand where I'm coming from. I don't need your acceptance, just understanding of my views. Cheers, and Selamat Menyambut Merdeka!

The One About Getting Engaged...

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Written on 8/13/2007 05:57:00 pm by sikapitan

Goodness me, it’s been a while since I visited Undergrounduate Central. It has been a mad couple of months for me. Yes, the last time I updated was A MONTH before my engagement, so let’s get that one out of the way first, shall we?

I am officially engaged (cue a sudden increase in suicide amongst women and gay men aged 20-25 years…hahaha). Some of my friends are a bit surprised how it doesn’t seem to change the nature of my relationship with others, or the way I act, or what I do. It shouldn’t because frankly speaking, I’ve been “engaged” to Rinie for the past few years now. There has always been the certainty that she IS the one, no matter how bad things get, or how good things could be (on the other side of the fence). Trust me, temptations abound, and it is easy for most to just jump ship, take flight…call it whatever you want, but it still means quitting. And I’m not really made to be a quitter, not over a relationship at least.

In short, I’ve always been in this relationship with a view for marriage, so the recent 7/07/07 event was always a mere formality. But how does that explain some of my actions in the past, present and perhaps future? How do you reconcile this absolute certainty in the strength of my current relationship to Rinie with some utterly promiscuous activities and shenanigans that I’ve gotten myself into (and probably will in the future)? Maybe it’s the fact that at the end of the day, no matter how absolutely marvelous the buffet is, it’s home cooking that we miss the most. Rinie’s my nasi putih. And that’s all I ever need…

I’ve just moved into my own apartment. This might sound stupid, but it’s located not more than 5 minutes away from my parent’s home. Okay, it does sound a bit daft. It’s not that I really wanted to move that close to them, but circumstances (or karma or fate) seems to work in their favor (or perhaps mine, as we shall see). The search for a nice, quiet, peaceful apartment at a great location at a good price led me to a search all over Subang Jaya. I even considered a terrace house; such is the lack of an apartment that appeals to me and my needs. It must serve my current want of a bachelor pad and my future need of a family home (temporary, but still important). Crazy, but that’s just me. .

So finally I just drove into the apartment compound near my house after exhausting all other places throughout Subang and USJ, called the number on display, set up an appointment that very same day, and had a tour of the apartment. The real estate agent was actually my former neighbor, so we hit it off straight away. The place got a great view, it’s shielded from direct sunrise and sunset, and big enough for a family, but small enough that I can manage on my own until I get married. Add the fact that the entire compound is well-maintained by a reputable company (Sime-UEP), top security details, nice quiet ambience, and neighbors who don’t really make that big of a fuss, and you’ve got yourself the almost perfect pad for me.

Except that I can walk to my parents without breaking a sweat. Except that despite my initial enthusiasm to look for something new, I’m still stuck at USJ. Except that I still have to go through the mayhem of USJ traffic jams every morning. Or maybe it isn’t so bad after all.

I wake up every morning late, since there’s no one at home to be my moral compass. Work is flexible (like I’ve explained before) so traffic jams is almost a no-no at the time I usually go out to work. And the best thing about being near to my home is that I can get into my car, go to my house (5 minutes), have breakfast prepared by my maid, take a long hot shower, get ready for work (yes, most of my work clothes are left there…and for good reason too considering my lack of cupboard space and genuine dislike for ironing or washing my own clothes), read the newspapers that THEY subscribe to and go off to work. Later in the evening, I can just drop by, drop off the dirty clothes, maybe have a nice dinner, say goodbye to the folks, then go back to the apartment to (a) get ready to go out again (b) eat snacks and watch TV till late at night (c) any other extra-curricular activities that couldn’t and SHOULDN’T be done within the confines of your parent’s home.

Repeat all these everyday and I just realize that what I have is the best of both worlds – I get the clean clothes and good food that you can only get and the only thing you want anyway from your parents and yet I get the freedom to do whatever I want! Plus, my pad is damn clean due to the lack of use of the kitchen, the table…heck, even the toilet! Oh yeah, because it’s so near, I usually pick up my maid from the house every Sunday, drop her off to clean up the place, pick her up again and pay her 10 bucks. That’s cheap…just don’t report me to NGOs for abusing my maid. Syokkkkk wooooo….






Something about kursus kahwin...

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Written on 6/12/2007 06:30:00 pm by sikapitan

Do you guys feel neglected? I mean, here I am, preaching about being disciplined with updating blogs, and yet I haven’t been able to update for the past 2 weeks. My sincerest apologies, and sometimes at these moments of indiscipline, I really do wonder if I have what it takes to be a regular columnist (dream on…indiscipline is the least of my problem). But let me just warm up by saying Selamat Pengantin Baru to my old friend, Senor Afif and…well, I can’t remember his missus, but the best of luck to you in your newfound role as a husband, and leader of a family.

Congratulations too for my new friends, Saudara Hasli dan Saudari Intan, on your marriage. I haven’t known you guys that long, and yet somehow I feel I have more in common with you two lovebirds than anybody else. There’s more weddings coming along, with my old mooting partner, Musalmi, finally finding someone she can get along with (*snicker*). I would love to go to her wedding, but it’s in Kelantan. I’m still working out the traveling plans with my friends. Then it’s probably Tini (with a celebrity no less…*grins*), Mahir (don’t know when and where, so probably I’m out of his list…*grins even wider*), and finally…me, I guess. Unless somebody else I know plans to get married between July and December.

The preparations have been going on as planned, though the tight schedule I’m going through right now is a big problem. There’s the pupilage thing (which ironically is starting to contribute to a lot of work for very little pay…stupid me!), the Legal Aid duties (more of which will be disclosed some other time), restaurant business (which I’m kind of neglecting…damn me), the consultancy stint with Public Mutual (contact me if you guys are interested to know more about diversifying your investment portfolio) and finally, the investment in Malaysian stock market (it’s a risk, but a calculated one…more on this later).

Let’s not forget my social activities like playing futsal, going to the gym (when will I find the time?), meeting up with friends, checking out my mails, trying to pick up golf, thinking about how to make more money (trust me, it’s not as easy as you think…), updating this blog, going out with my girlfriend, catching up on the news, watching my favorite TV Shows…the list is almost endless.

Thus, it was with great trepidation and anger when I signed up for the compulsory Marriage Course (Kursus Kahwin). Actually, the course itself isn’t that important, it’s the certificate that matters. After listening to what the instructor had to say, there’s no wonder that most Muslim couples just have sex before getting married. It’s just so damn complicated!

Let’s just take the requirement to go for the Kursus as an example. After spending 1 and a half day stuck in a room filled with soon to be married couples, all I could glean from this course is the fact that Ustaz can talk about breast as openly like you and me, and in front of tudung-clad women no less. It just goes to show, that all men are horny, regardless of their religious background. But they ARE funny nonetheless, and it wasn’t offensive in any way.

What was offensive to me was the fact that the powers that be consider that such courses will somehow improve the prospect of a happy marriage. That’s a bunch of bull**** if you ask me. How can anyone change just by simply listening to some Ustaz talk about “malam pertama” (your first night as a married couple)? It was entertaining, of course, but if I wanted entertainment, I would rather go home and watch television.

The fact is that the Kursus Kahwin was good only in explaining the technical procedures to register your marriage (which again, seems way too complicated for a simple union between two loving souls…at least that’s the theory). It was a long drawn out affair, and I relived my studying days by skipping one session (for goodness’s sake, they were already talking about divorces!). Little did I know that the person in charge would start a roll-call at the end of the session, and when my name was announced, I was actually asleep inside my car. My car…there’s even a story about that!

Well, it was really a long weekend. And the incessant rain after our session on Sunday seems to reflect my thoughts on the whole affair. We were not aware that it was flooding (again) in KL as we headed back to Subang to have dinner with my girlfriend’s parents. It was nice to see them like me so much (hahaha), but then again, my mom seems more attentive to my partner than me (hmph).

Actually, I was invited to join my friends for a round of karaoke. Yes, I do love karaoke. Roshan and Firdaus wanted to celebrate the newly-weds, Hasli and Intan, as they embark on their journey as married couple. So after dinner, I drove back to Bangsar, chilling out to Nidji’s cool album, Breakthrough. It was still raining heavily, so I tried to drive as calm as possible.

I was just a few hundred meters away from Bangsar Shopping Center when I saw a cone lying on the right side of the road. Thus, I avoided the cone, but instead I hit the deepest pothole I’ve ever hit before. It was raining so the hole was covered with rainwater, which makes it impossible to distinguish it from the black tarmac. My right side front bumper dislodged itself, and it went under my car for quite some time. There was a terrible grating sound, and I feared that it was my suspension bottoming out, but when I stopped in front of BSC, I was relieved to see that the damage was merely cosmetic.

But cosmetic here means one whole M3 bumper broken into two, and totally useless anymore. I pulled it out and left it on the roadside, leaving an exposed front end with some wires and underside panel hanging down the road. I felt sick to my stomach, but I can’t do anything much about it, can I? I was so pissed with DBKL or MPPJ for failing to cover up the pothole. Bastards…but I still sang a few songs nonetheless (I can’t help it…).

So now the role is reversed. I depend on my girlfriend for transport, which is kind of nice. No wonder she enjoys being driven around…I should this more often…or get myself a driver.


Discount on duit kopi

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Written on 5/26/2007 07:31:00 pm by sikapitan

Motorists here in the capital city of United States of Untung Sahaja (USUS) experienced something unusual after the announcement of the blanket pay rise for civil servants – a discount on their usual bribe amount by the “police”.

One motorist, who refused to be named but proudly drives a BMW X5 with single-digit plate, claimed that he only had to pay the police officer 70 dollars, a 30 dollar reduction from the normal rate. “I was shocked and pleasantly surprised to see 30 dollars being returned to me together with a blank piece of paper. When I asked why, the officer just smiled and said ‘discount’. Who am I to argue with an officer of the law?” said the driver, who claimed that he contributes close to 1000 dollars a month for the officers’ “pension scheme”.

Our investigation revealed that all across USUS, motorists are being asked to pay less than the usual “contribution”. While this is certainly being met with enthusiasm by the general public, certain quarters are understandably unhappy with this development.

One senior officer laments, “Now people think that we give 30% discount to ‘kowtim’ when my gaji only naik 10%. So when I only give 10% discount, people think I’m trying to cheat them. Hello, you think about it laaa…traffic boleh la bagi discount 30% because it only amounts to 30 dollars. If I give 30% discount, that’s 3000 dollars per illegal premise you know? Crazy man…”

A junior officer for the traffic department has this to say, “Since the announcement of the pay rise, most of us give a bit of a discount on our ‘duit kopi’. But this also brings a bit of a problem you see, because previously our take was in round figures…like 100 or 50…but now we only take 70 or 35 but people still give us big change. Where can I find 15 dollars to give back as change? Leceh a bit la…but it’s for the benefit of the rakyat, so now every time we have a road block, one of us will be in charge of petty cash with small change to give back to motorists”.

When asked to comment on the statement by the Police Chief that since officers are now earning more, there is no longer the need for bribery, the junior officer said, “Gila ka. Gaji naik only 30%, how can cut duit kopi 100%. Simple logic man. If naik 100%, then maybe we consider not taking duit kopi la. But the rakyat don’t mind paying for it, so why should we stop? They don’t have to go to police station to pay. The ladies feel better because then no gatal officers will stare at them at the station…so everyone wins what?”.

Attempts to seek comments from official sources in the Government were met with desk-bound clerks whom automatically divert us to a never-ending rendition of the national anthem jingle.



TOP OPPOSITION LEADER DOES SILAT

In a dramatic turn of events, the former Deputy Dictator to USUS withdrew from contesting in his own party’s elections due to a technical restriction imposed by law. Instead, the ever charismatic leader will open up his own silat school, which will emphasis not on physical silat but political silat.

It has been widely tipped that this political silat class will be open up to the general public, but sources close to the leader claimed that the silat class will only be available to those with a post in political parties, including the ruling Untung My Number One or UMNO.

A top UMNO politician who has in recent years being marginalized claims, “I will certainly try to attend the free preview that this silat club has been offering. Every day I receive a call from their telemarketing people offering me 14 day free pass. It’s certainly more worthy than going to Celebrity Fitness. Most of the girls there are too young and politically uneducated to recognize how important I am. So I seldom dilayan mesra…”.

Understandably, UMNO’s vice-president was dismissive of the whole idea, “Sudah tak popular, mahu bukak kelas silat pulak. It’s just a tactic to find more leaders for the opposition. Maklumlah, asyik-asyik hilang orang saja. Anyway, what’s the point of learning silat? Nowadays we all use political sumo-lah. We don’t need to bukak langkah and all that crap. We just go fat, and then push everyone out of the political ring. That’s way more effective…”

Inspired by

Erecting a Problem

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Written on 5/17/2007 04:29:00 pm by sikapitan

Nenek Berseri Aduh Saleha, the Prime Minister of Malaykesian, called an emergency Cabinet meeting yesterday to discuss the uproar caused by two members of the ruling political party, Barisan Berbaris, in Parliament. Naturally, the emergency Cabinet meeting was held in Courts Mammoth in conjunction with the mega promotion on cabinets.

As a result of the meeting, the PM instructed Datuk Wan Daud Kilat, the Minister for Men, Polygamy and Karaoke Development Ministry and also one of only two male members of the Cabinet to meet with the two MPs, Nenek Sayang Salmah (MP for One Utama) and Nenek Oh Azizah (MP for Sogo) to discuss the comments made by them last week in Parliament.

The issue started last week in the Dewan Rakyat when opposition MPs, led by the only male opposition MP, David Manhood (MP for Red Box Karaoke), tried to raise a motion on the setting up of flag poles all over Government complexes. David Manhood gamely stated that the “erection of these poles does nothing but pose more danger to paper aeroplanes and people jumping off the buildings”.

MP for Sogo and One Utama both stood up and rather comically said in unison, “Mana tegang? Red Box Karaoke pun tegang setiap hari”. Everyone laughed, except for the men in Parliament (which numbers about 4, but as usual, only 1 attended).

The newspapers went berserk the very next day, as the actions of the two MPs only further heighten the sense that in Malaykesian, the men are treated as objects rather than human beings. The NGO known as the Y.M.C.A quickly tried to enter the spotlight by holding a press conference, but as the leaders of the group were bi-genders, they were immediately dismissed as being apolitical.

The Coalition for United Men or C.U.M for short (and long) were more successful in presenting a petition to Datuk Wan Daud Kilat who immediately promised to bring the matter up to Cabinet. Unfortunately for Datuk Wan, not everyone in the government shares his view on the comments.

Ass-kisser in the Prime Minister’s Departmental Store, Nenek Syasya Aziz, laughed off the matter and said, “Ini perkara kecil saja. Memang kecil pun David Manhood tu…what is there to talk about? This pencil is bigger you know. It’s normal in Parliament for debates to be a bit personal. Don’t you know that we are living out our fantasies by arguing like little kids in Parliament? It’s very relaxing to call people names. It’s part and parcel of democracy. You see the word democracy also has the word D-E-M-O and C-R-A-C-Y. As you know in Kelantan “demo” means “you” so democracy actually means “you are crazy”!!! What? You don’t know meh…aiyah, tak makan nasik ka?”


At press time, the two MPs are busy with the Parkson Mega Sale.

Go figure.

The Latest Hotel Craze...

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Written on 5/09/2007 09:31:00 am by sikapitan

She is brilliant. Honestly, she is. Okay, maybe she’s not, but her marketing team must be geniuses. I mean, who could have possibly predicted that Paris Hilton, the hotel empire heiress and one-time amateur “porn star” currently pursuing a “singing” career, would be sentenced to 45 days in prison? In today’s warped world of celebrity-hungry media, Paris Hilton once again appeared in every major newspaper, looking very glamorous no less.

I guess after disappearing for one month from the general public’s consciousness, somebody must be thinking that Paris requires another dose of controversy just to spice things up for Miss Hilton. Paris (yes, we are on first name basis now, thank you) is the perfect example of a worldwide obsession with the famous, regardless of talent and ability. She represents a new breed of idols that became famous simply for being famous. I know that term sounds a bit weird, but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense.

We Malaysians are not immune to this phenomenon. I mean, can anyone here actually remember what Camelia does for a living? Oh, she might list “singing” as her occupation, but I haven’t heard anything remotely memorable from her in recent years (her latest attempt at being techno-mystical don’t even qualify as singing) AND yet she’s had more pictures in newspapers and magazines than most other average singers.

It pays to be beautiful, of course, but it also helps to have a bit of panache when it comes to style (which she has in spades). The only thing lacking are some scandalous pictures or videos, but that wouldn’t bode down well with our conservative society. Thus, Miss Camelia (yes, she is available gentleman), and most other reality TV ex-contestants, perhaps we should just list you as somebody famous…for being famous.



DAFI IS OUT!

There IS hope after all. All this while I’ve given up on seeing Malaysians vote intelligently, resigning myself to the fact that in Malaysia, credibility and ability means nothing. No, I’m not referring to the Ijok by-election (not yet) but Akademi Fantasia. Finally, the jambu looking yet katak sounding Dafi is out of the competition. It’s not that the rest are worthy champions (which none of them appear to be) but because this kid has stayed on for weeks simply because of his looks.

On that note, I don’t think it’s fair if I over-criticized him for staying that long in the competition. I can’t even blame the public (ie. young girls and old men with different taste) for voting him. I mean, is it his fault when there are actually people, supposedly professionals, who thought that he has talent? Somebody MUST have thought (erroneously) he could sing before they took him in.

Don’t forget, there was a selection process, whereby Astro had the opportunity to go through thousands of singers. And they chose him. They are saying “Boy, you can sing”. So this kid goes in, happy to be there, trying his best with his limited ability. He must be surprised to find out how little people think of his “talent” to sing because hey, the “professionals” in Astro said that he can sing. So between professionals who said he can sing, and the general public who thinks he can’t (please, be honest), we’ve got a massive chasm of confusion as to the real purpose of Akademi Fantasia and their whole selection criteria.

Astro should believe in the true spirit of the competition, and not try to dilute the spirit of a talent contest by politicizing the selection process. There is an imbalance this season because it appears that the selection committee was more preoccupied in choosing those who look good on camera rather than those who can sing. I believe that the Malaysian public is more mature than Astro give them credit for. Nobody is denying the appeal of the complete package singer, but the key word here is “singer” – not poster-boy or dancer or model. Go figure.



ELECTION POSER

On the subject of voting, I wish to congratulate Barisan Nasional for managing to retain Ijok in the recent by-election with a bigger majority than the last incumbent. However, far from me being a gloomy spoilsport, careful analysis must be made to find out why more than 4,000 voters believe that Keadilan represents a better value to them. 5000+ against 4000+ isn’t a big margin, especially considering the political machinery available to Barisan.

The mass media, the manpower, the financial resources, the suddenly effective implementation of government projects should all contribute towards a total wipeout of the opposition who could only rely on ceramahs and gatherings. Yet, this was not the case. No one is denying the fact that a strong opposition showing is a great indication of and advertisement for Malaysian politics, but it remains a fact that almost half of the voters wanted a change, and that doesn’t bode down well if we are to translate this into national voting trend.

It implies that at least 4 out of 10 people want a change in government. More worryingly, there might be those who voted for Barisan because they believe that the alternative is no better but they are still dissatisfied with the present government. This means that there may be more people who are unhappy than those who are. Barisan may still walk away with a new mandate in the next general election, but the underlying discontent among the average Malaysians must be addressed.

I do not believe that poor economy is the reason for such discontent. Malaysians have been through worse patch than before, and though the government must be more proactive in correcting the imbalance of wealth in this country, it is not the sole reason for such dissatisfaction.

I’m guessing that the present restlessness stems from the fact that there is no longer a unifying grand scheme that paints an optimistic view of the future. There is confusion as to what Malaysia wants to be, and how to achieve it. Are we still an industrial based economy or are we really shifting towards agriculture? What happen to K-economy? Are we going to turn into the Halal hub of the world? There are simply too many projects with diverse interest and objectives. It’s not economic downturn that’s affecting us, but economic confusion!

There must also be a national agenda; such was the case when Tun Mahathir was in power, to bind Malaysians together. Social issues such as violent crimes, lack of quality graduates, antiquated education system, collapse of the family institution, the failure to combat menace like the Rempits are all contributing factors that further highlight the lack of cohesion on national policies.

In any case, I’m joining UMNO soon though I’ve been waiting for the form since last week (see, even the recruitment process is laid back and so typically Malay…). Go figure.




GLORY GLORY…

UNITED! UNITED! UNITED! 9th Premiership title in 15 years. Ferguson has successfully built another championship winning side. This squad is not the complete article just yet. I believe the addition on a top class striker (who doesn’t get injured often) like David Villa or Sam Eto’o plus two midfielders (Pederson and Gattuso would be my pick, but Hargreaves looks likely to head to OT) would certainly make Manchester United more formidable.

It’s ironic that we actually clinched the title through a series of penalty decisions – two in the Manchester derby, and the one at Highbury. Even more ironic was the fact that the title was wrapped up in matches involving two of Man United’s greatest rivals – Manchester City and Arsenal.

I know Man United and the top teams dominated the PFA team of the year, but I would like to offer “The Best of the Rest” team sheet (just to indulge in a bit of fantasy football).

Goalie: Ben Foster (ironically, on loan from Manchester United) of Watford
Defenders: Steven Taylor (Newcastle), Jonathan Woodgate (Midboro), Michael Dawson (Tottenham), Joleon Lescott (Everton)
Midfielders: Mikel Arteta (Everton), Steve Sidwell (Reading), Gareth Barry (Aston Villa) Pederson (Blackburn)
Strikers : Benny McCarthy (Blackburn) and Mark Viduka (Midboro)

Manager: David Moyes (Everton)

Something about losing...with grace...your rooftop

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Written on 5/03/2007 05:35:00 am by sikapitan

And so it is, just like you said it would be…I guess it’s bound to happen this season. Yes, I am still referring to football, though this wouldn’t be all about that. It’s just that, to be fair, I couldn’t just write about Manchester United when the results are going our way. As a true United supporter, I have to admit that this hurts. Oh, what am I referring to?

United just lost 3-0 to AC Milan, and that means it’ll be Liverpool v. Milan again in the final. I shouldn’t have expected too much, but the way this season has been going, it’s hard to resist. It was another great European night, and to be completely honest, Milan deserved to win that game, and United deserved to lose.

I find it funny sometimes how delusional supporters can be. I am not. I know when I’m beaten. You just have to pick yourself up after that sort of mauling. Yes, mauling. Outscored, outmuscle, outsmarted, and out of the competition…this Champions League run came one season too soon for this batch of United stars.


Heinze: Ko tgk mamat ni...posing Mangga laks kat tengah padang..
Vidic: Hah, ko tu macam porn star, nak cakap orang...
VDS: Best gaks tayang ***** aku kat orang...


Okay, one collapsed ceiling calls for an investigation; two requires complete inquiry and accountability, but three within 2 weeks? I don’t know if this stirs up the conspiracy nuts amongst my readers, but consider the fact that the first incident at the Immigration Department occurred just when the Ijok by-election was in full swing. And just then TWO more government complexes suffered the same fate.

Oh yes, nothing should detract from the fact that in Malaysia (or anywhere else in the world actually), there are contracts awarded to firms that does not have the capability and/or ability to carry out the projects. We see it all the time in shoddy work carried out in government and municipal projects. No doubt we must get to the root of the problem, which is the decline in the standard and quality of Malaysia’s workforce. How can we be attractive to foreign investors if our own government’s building cannot be build without collapsing?

BUT, you still have to wonder. How ironic and coincidental is it for three incidents, of a similar nature, occurring within a short period of time? (Cue the theme from the X-Files).


National Service…oh my, what more can I say? I have been against it since its inception. I am against the whole concept, but right now since it’s in full swing, is it wrong for me to expect the government to have a good go at it? The policy of having National Service can be debated till Kingdom comes, and that’s our role as model citizens – always questioning and arguing to ensure that the Government remains in check.

But once it is implemented, steps must be taken to ensure that it’s properly executed. I guess this is what the upper echelon of Malaysian politics have been arguing – the improper delivery system. Failure of the delivery system has been used as a reason for the comical execution of government’s policy. In fact, the leaders have somehow managed to disassociate the implementation of policies from the formulation of policies – making it seem like there are two elements of governance and that they cannot be blamed if the civil servants mess up their ideas.

Do you agree with that line of thinking? If it’s accepted, it means that we are actually denying the government’s accountability for their actions. Who are you to blame then when your children got lost in the jungle? What if your daughter was raped at one of these camps? What if your son died of asthma at one of these camps? Is it enough to blame the man who raped, the supervisor who failed to watch over your son? Shouldn’t we take a look at the condition in which these events take place? Shouldn’t blame be assigned to those who set the events in motion leading towards your son losing his life for lack of medical attention?

Who placed your children there? Who exposed them to such risk? Is it a calculated risk? Is the return worth exposing them to such danger? Is the objective of such camp makes it necessary for “compulsory” exposure to danger? Yes, bad incidents happen in maybe 1 out of a 1000 kids, but that one kid could be yours. Shouldn’t you have the right to say “Hey, I don’t feel that my son needs racial integration” and refuse to send them to National Service?

Go figure…



By the way, I caught this dude, Blake Lewis, on American Idol last night and he gave an interesting rendition of Bon Jovi's You Give Love a Hard Name. Is it any wonder that Idol still has credibility when compared to other reality shows?

Something about the devil...

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Written on 4/30/2007 07:38:00 am by sikapitan

Sometimes, people ask me why I bother supporting Manchester United. It’s not that these people are against Man United, but they can’t understand the whole rationale of supporting a football club, especially one as far away as Man United. Actually, the people who ask these questions don’t watch sports, thus they cannot comprehend the benefit of supporting your favorite sport’s athlete, player or team.

The worst thing about being asked silly questions is the fact that there’s no outright answer. Why do I support a football club? Why do I enjoy watching football? Why does Manchester United mean so much to me? Why do I get into arguments over it? Why do I piss my parents off so many times because of my desire to watch the beautiful game with fellow fans till late at night?

It’s not as simple as telling people why you like a Porsche or a Beemer or an Audi. I mean, you can have a reason for THAT, because it’s something tangible, something physical that you can relate to your daily routine. “I like the Porsche because it sticks to the road like a leech” or “I prefer the Avanza because you can travel all over Malaysia with 7 people and still be back in the same day…”. I mean, it’s explainable.

How do you explain getting emotional over events that have NOTHING to do with you (unless you’re a betting man, which means that you have a financial reason for watching football, which actually is an easy explanation to give)? It gets harder when you’re one of those fans who are willing to spend some money buying jerseys, posters and stuffs like that. What’s in it for you?

For me, the easiest way to explain the joy of supporting a football club is to bring these detractors along for a game…especially games like Everton v. Manchester United last weekend. The utter frustration of being down 2-0 with 30 minutes left on the clock, coupled with Chelsea leading 2-1 at Stamford Bridge, caused grown men to look as if death had just walked in, had a seat, and started dealing out poker cards.

I bet for those who has never watch a match with football fans would be surprised at the utter silliness of it all…and yet they would certainly find it hard to leave their seat. It’s not the football itself that counts for much. It’s the emotional attachment, unexplained yet all too evident, that makes watching football and supporting a team all too addictive. Old men, young boys, cool teenagers, fashionistas, rempit, bohsias…football fans represent the entire gamut of our population. I bet they’re more people watching the Everton v. Man U and/or Chelsea v. Bolton last weekend than they were people voting in Ijok (not too hard to accomplish…).

Just like some segment of our population’s passion for reality tv stars, or the star-struck teen with Justin Timberlake’s poster, football fans passion for the game could be traced to one important factor – football is entertainment. It doesn’t matter if the team plays attractive football or not. I mean, if people could vote for Dafi…then there’s nothing weird if someone supports Bolton.

Speaking of Bolton, they managed to grab an equalizer at Stamford Bridge. Then Everton’s goalie made a blunder for O’Shea to score (again!) and gave hope for the millions of United fans all over the world. Along comes Christiano Ronaldo, who then rose above the Everton defense to nod down a powerful header towards goal. The ball seems to hang on the line for a while before another long-life member of the Red Devils, (albeit wearing the Everton jersey these days) Mr. Philip Neville, scored an own goal of comical proportions that it would surely caused Jose Mourinho to drum up another line of conspiracy theories.

2-2 at both stadiums. But that’s not the end of it, as Wayne Rooney expertly skipped the challenge of Hibbert then coolly placed the ball between Turner and the despairing Alan Stubbs into the far corner. 3-2 to United, and suddenly, from being level on points, Manchester United had a 5 point lead. Rooney wrapped up an impressive performance by setting up Chris Eagles, who gleefully accepted the chance to open his senior account with Manchester United.


News filtered in that Chelsea failed to beat Bolton. We celebrated like mad men. It wasn’t pretty, I know. But football seldom is. That’s the beautiful game for you. Go figure.


Full highlight of the Match...
Everton v. Manchester United
28 April 2007

Keep your hands off my girl...

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Written on 4/24/2007 06:47:00 pm by sikapitan

I'm just testing out to see whether there's any connection between me posting Corrine Bailey Rae's video with the missing Haloscan comment box for the previous entry on love.

Apparently there is, so leave comments for the previous post in this one, if you have any...

Love is like a car, no?

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Written on 4/24/2007 12:11:00 am by sikapitan

It’s a fact of life that people fall in love. The trouble with that proposition is that not many can actually describe what love is. I don’t mean describing it in a dictionary sense, but rather what actually constitutes that loving feeling inside of you. It certainly isn’t automatic, at least not in terms of a parent-child relationship.

Of course there are those who believe that a parent would automatically love their child, but in a world where children are being exploited, either sexually or emotionally, I find that concept hard to believe.

This means that love must be something that people work on, something that isn’t natural but rather induced by a myriad of factors including our own eccentricities, likes and dislikes. But that wouldn’t explain how someone could fall in love with their complete opposites, would it? If you like to read books, what makes you love someone who doesn’t?

Opposites attract, but why? And even then it’s not necessarily true. I even doubt that it could ever be measured in any physical sense. For example, a fat guy and a thin girl falls in love. Opposites attract, no? Or have they dismissed their one dissimilarity to find countless other common interests?

What about those who look exactly the same, have the same hobbies, and even talk the same way? Now the same people who say opposites attract would say that the couple was meant to be together because of their similarities. Or is it because they have found in each other different quirks that they find appealing? Could it be in a sea of similarities, it's the differences that actually tie these people together?

In fact, how do you know that you’re actually in love? A sense of responsibility can also be construed as love, as do pure physical attraction. I’ve met people who say that they’re in love, madly deeply in love, but quarrel every day. They admitted that it hurts when they quarrel. How can love, if interpreted to mean that warm fuzzy feeling, be equivalent to things which caused harm to your soul?

Or do some people really find that warm fuzzy feeling from verbal assault, or even more extreme, BDSM kind of fetish? Which leaves us back to square one, how do you define, or even identify love?

I am in love. But what people believe to constitute love – compassion, patience, honesty, monogamy and other virtues too long for me to mention – is sometimes missing in me, and I do believe it will in the future, only to resurface back again if I am patient enough to work on it. I guess that’s why some people (or most people in today’s world) choose the easy path and say that they’ve fallen out of love, because they equate the lack of one component to a total failure of the whole concept of love. Thankfully, I don’t, and neither does my partner.

Men are prone to saying that they are no longer in love with their partner, simply because they are no longer attracted to them, whether physical or not. But that is just one aspect of having a relationship, isn’t it? Love can still go on when you hate the look of you partner, right?

Or am I correct in saying that love is something like a car? To keep you moving and heading towards your destination, you need the various parts of the car to perform its function. Sometimes you lose parts like side view mirror, or the wiper, or the seat cushions are all torn up, but the car still moves along, right? But what if you were to lose a tire, or if the engine is broke…should you still stay in the car or find another one?

Some may find that looks are as important as those seat-belt warning chimes, and some may think that looks are the fuel to drive their car forward. It’s up to us to find out what equates to the windshield wiper, and what constitutes the engine, in our relationship. At this moment, I kind of think I'm in a BMW M5 – gorgeous (yes, we are quite vain as a couple) yet understated, extremely quick (I still think she's sexy, even after 6 years) yet comfortable just puttering around town, expensive (ah, but what if I don't have the money?) yet still affordable and most importantly, built to last. I'm honest enough to admit it might suddenly lose a tire, or the gearbox in the future (most likely because of me...I blame my genes!!!), but nobody said you can’t repair a car, right?

p/s: Sometimes I feel the need to drive cars like the Bugatti Veyron (why must you be soooo gataaaallll...)…but it’s way too expensive for me, isn’t it?

This one's for my lover...
/


Corrine Bailey Rae's Just Like a Star

Something about death...really...

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Written on 4/21/2007 12:09:00 pm by sikapitan

Death hits you like a bullet train. But unlike those supersonic Japanese bullet-trains, death doesn’t have a ticket. Actually, it does, but you don’t have it with you. It doesn’t announce itself on the intercom (though the thought of a woman’s voice calling you out for the last time is pretty sexy…yet strangely scary…blame Jangan Pandang Belakang), but sometimes you get to see it coming, though I don’t actually know if it’s a good thing or bad. The train arrived to pick up my grandma last Tuesday morning after a bit of a delay, though this time no one could or should start staging pickets demanding better service and efficiency.

As stated in the previous entry, my grandma was in coma since Friday. I came back from Penang on Sunday. I went back to work on Monday. It was kind of surreal, especially when there’s a bit of a scandal involving some shortfall in the collection of legal fees…in the words of the great Shaggy, it wasn’t me. I came back early to get ready for UiTM’s Annual Law Dinner. Frankly, I wasn’t up for it, but I’ve made the commitment months ago.

While I was getting ready (surprisingly a subdued experience, in fact I was rather uninspired, which is unbecoming of a metrosexual), my parents informed me that they had to leave for Penang as my grandma’s condition was getting worse. They said I should go for the dinner, and if anything comes up they would inform me. I insisted that I at least send them to the airport, which they agreed.

One observation about the road to KLIA – abolish the speed limit! In fact, I would dare say that to keep within the speed limit is more dangerous. Why? It’s freaking boring, and when you’re bored you get sleepy, especially considering that the road to KLIA is almost slippery smooth and straight. The way back is usually worse – which is why I thank God for the smooth as silk four-pot German engineering marvel underneath the hood and the excellent surround speakers belting out tight tunes to keep me awake, and ultimately, alive.

The dinner was weird. Firstly, I have never seen my girlfriend sing at a function (I’ve missed her previous performances) even though we’ve been together for 6 years and she’s seen me countless times and yet on that night I get to see my girlfriend sing 3 different songs (maybe more) in public. I have to say she could even win one of those reality shows without breaking a sweat, especially if she gets to sing those melancholic Indon ballads that I love so much all the time. She’s brilliant, in more ways than I could ever describe…

Secondly, everyone knows we’re getting married at the end of this year, which is a problem actually, because I wasn’t planning on inviting everyone (in particular, one person whose name shall not be mentioned until 2008, at least). Thirdly, I had this nagging sense that all’s not well, which kinds of brings to head the whole contradiction theme going on in my mind. I had fun, but it’s a kind of fun that kinds of sticks on the throat – I kept thinking “what if this were the last thing I see?”

I’m glad my girlfriend was with me when I received the call from my sis close to midnight. I knew something’s was up. And that something was death. My grandma was still alive at that moment, but it was inevitable. I had instructions to book flight tickets for me and my two siblings for the next morning. It wasn’t a sleepless night, and to say otherwise would have hypocritical and dishonest. In fact I slept rather well, but my deep slumber was disturbed by a telephone call around 5 in the morning. Grandma had passed away…

We were her grandkids, but it’s not fair nor true to say how sad and blue I was on Tuesday morning. I kept myself busy with the travel arrangements, and we had a few laughs along the way. She’s old, and we knew it’s going to come anyway. It wasn’t a depressing trip. The mind is a wonderful thing, the way it influences how our body reacts to emotions.

So I made another trip from Penang International Airport. I kept thinking, could this be the last time I come to Penang? I mean, the only reason we go back to Penang every year was because she was the only Atuk left on either side of my parents, and now that she’s gone, it’s certainly more practical and logical for my two aunts to make the trip to KL for Hari Raya. Would Penang be just another memory? Would the number 14 in my IC mean nothing anymore?

There were already a lot of people hanging around in front of the house when I arrived. Of course there would, it was close to noon and Grandma’s been gone since 5 in the morning. It must be a depressing sight to see us three siblings coming down from the old white cab, looking haggard and in slippers no less.

What do you say to a son who has lost his mother? How should you act when you feel nothing? There was a sense of utter hopelessness at being useless that morning. I mean, what can we do? The answer came early when my mother called me and my uncle to “wash” Grandma. It was a ritualistic process, devoid of actual effect, because she has been cleaned by the experts and the female members of the family. But for those who think it’s scary, think again. It’s not, and there’s a pleasant feeling that you’re cleansing yourself as you let the water run down the body.

It was when the body’s been cleaned, wrapped and brought to the living room that emotions start to pour. The whole aura or energy of that room is one of depression and sadness. It’s hard not to get caught up with it. But I held on, trying gamely to focus on other things, like how clean she looked, and how sweet the smell of flowers lingers in the air.

It wasn’t until the body’s been placed inside the “coffin” and my uncle started his last words that I shed my first tears. Forgive and forget, he pleaded. And I kept thinking to myself how many people I’ve hurt, how many hearts I’ve broken, how many souls I’ve disturbed through my actions. It reminded me of my own future, of how I would have to say these words when my parents go away. It reminded me of my siblings, of how we quarrel incessantly over little things. It reminded me of my future wife, and how I can survive if she’s no longer by my side. It reminded me of my Grandma not being able to see me get married. She kept on saying that I’m too young to settle down, but apparently I didn’t settle down soon enough for her…

Something about death...

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Written on 4/16/2007 12:02:00 am by sikapitan

I received the call on Friday afternoon, at 3.00 pm. In fact I received several calls, but all unanswered as I sat there explaining to houseowners at Batang Kali on why they have to shell out x amount of money to transfer the land to their name. It was an exercise to appease our client, a property developer, and it wasn’t exactly necessary. But there I was, stuck in Batang Kali, when my mother told me that my grandmother was ill.

My first reaction was one which I expected – calmness. It isn’t in my blood to go bawling and crying my lungs out. In fact, I was pretty nonchalant about the whole matter, not realizing that my mother was actually telling me to stop whatever I’m doing and find my way back to Penang. This was a big problem actually, considering I didn’t drive my own car to Batang Kali.

So when I went back into the site office, I just continued where I left off. After one Chinese guy questioned the rationale of him paying for the transfer, I answered another call from my mother. This time it’s serious, and my family can’t even wait for me to come back to Subang.

I came to the solution of going by plane, simply because to ask somebody to drive me back to PJ, where I can pick up my car and then drive straight to Penang, from Batang Kali was unfeasible. I decided to take a Komuter from the Rawang station and head to KL Sentral where I would then buy the earliest ticket and head to KLIA through the KLIA Express. To be completely honest with you folks, I’ve never done these things before last Friday, except for taking the Komuter.

I made two startling discoveries from my trip with KTM Komuter. First, it is cheap, dirt cheap. From Rawang to KL, it cost me RM3.60. It wasn’t even uncomfortable, at least if you start from the last stop like Rawang. Comfortable seats, but unfortunately no lavatory (which is kind of weird because the trips’ are pretty long between stations). Secondly, thousands of people depend on it. I didn’t know the Komuter to be as packed as it was on Friday evening.

My previous experience from Subang to Sentral was something akin to a train ride (which it should be). But this time, it was literally a sandwich can, with the officers trying their best to cramp as many people into the trains (hence the line, “Tolong beri kerjasama ya, semua orang pun nak balik…” – right, thank you officer, but can you please ask that man not to fart in the carriage).

It wasn’t unpleasant, mainly because I had a seat. But it took almost an hour before I reached KL Sentral. Now, many of my readers might not have been to KL Sentral on a working day at peak hours, so let me just tell you this – THAT PLACE IS PACKED. If there’s moans and groans about it being another ambitious government project, it should stop right away. Yes, the implementation of the public transport system isn’t perfect, but where would we be if we were still stuck with the Subang Airport or Pudu Station or government offices at Jalan Duta? I say, just get on with the mega projects.

Anyway, it was pretty convenient to check in at KL Sentral and be whisked away to KLIA in the impressive KLIA Express. The only thing lacking were stewardesses, but considering the recent standards which MAS holds on too, it wasn’t a big loss. It was 7 pm before I reached KLIA, and all I had with me are the clothes which I wore to work, a copy of the latest Autocar, and a pen. I haven’t had lunch nor breakfast, but my flight to Penang was leaving at 7.45 so no time for dinner.

I stopped by one of those duty free candy/chocolate shops where they have all these exotic chocolates and even Cadburys at KLIA, when I made another discovery – they don’t sell Snickers, which is rather ironic. So my dinner was a Famous Amos soft cookie, and I comfortably checked myself into my flight seat. It wasn’t long before I fell asleep, only to be woken up by MAS famous in-flight F&B – orange juice. They had the courtesy to serve peanuts (which I love), and anyone hoping for more must not have taken flights on MAS for years. Plus, the trip was too short for them to even serve sandwiches.

I paid RM38 for one of those airport limousines (which they are actually…30 years AGO!!!) to get me to Gleneagles Medical Center at the town center. I go back to Penang every year, at least twice, but I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t gone out to town for the past few years, and even when I did, it was on a sporadic and unmemorable basis. Thus when the cab driver said it’s near Gurney, I was pretty lost but nodded. You see, studying law make me realize how important it is to appear knowledgeable when in fact you know nothing about something.

I still wasn’t thinking of Grandma. Heck, she was just here in KL last week! She had dinner with me and my bride-to-be, and she was proud of the fact that at 77 years old, she was still driving around Brown Garden, Gelugor, Penang Island. So my grandma always had this aura of invincibility, plus she’s Chinese (and you know how long they live).

I reached Gleneagles, and headed straight for the ICU. Hospitals are depressing, but the sight of nasi lemak and KFC in the small waiting room filled with relatives allowed me to crack a wry smile. With Malays, it doesn’t matter what’s going on, as long as your stomach is filled…

My family had just gone back to the hotel to change and freshen up, so I’m there by myself with a couple of aunts. I decided to see my grandma. The smell of disinfectant, and of medications, filled the air of the ICU. I was still in my shirt and work pants and leather shoes. My feet were sore, and stomach empty, but all is forgotten as soon as I walked into ICU 2.

I expected it to be like that, to see my grandma, lying in comatose (she had a major stroke), face puffed up and almost unrecognizable. I even anticipated the whole oxygen mask thing. But I didn’t expect myself to lose it, just a little bit. There was another visitor in the room, a neighbor of my grandma, but I couldn’t help it. It wasn’t the sight of her sitting there, waiting for nothing, but rather it was the memory of her living that made me shed a few tears.

She has had a wonderful life. Not many 77 year old lady could claim to have been to holidays all over the World, perform the Hajj, have successful and caring children (no Cerekarama style “anak derhaka” syndrome), and generally living a healthy life up to the moment when the blood vessel popped and blood started flooding her brain on 13 April 2007. In fact, on that morning, she had just picked up one of my cousins from school, and dropped another to the mosque for Friday prayers. Even I wasn’t as active as she is on Friday mornings.

It isn’t hard to imagine an old lady going through what my grandma is facing. In fact, it’s almost expected. You are dying as soon as you were born. Understand that and you’ll accept that death is inevitable. And yet, we are scared of it. That is why we cry when we see others walk through the valley of death. It isn’t all because we are sad they’ve or they will depart, it’s because we are reminded of our own mortality.

She is now in coma. The doctors said any operation is risky, and the chances of her recovering are slim and yet she’s stable. In other words, she’s a vegetable, caught between the dark light of death, or the chance of spending just one more day with those she love.

If you were to die tomorrow, have you done enough today?

(I was just about to update on what was a hectic week last Friday – Kanye West, Manchester United win against Roma, Jangan Pandang Belakang…but I hope readers understand my conundrum)

About AF5

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Written on 4/08/2007 03:17:00 pm by sikapitan

I know I’ve left the whole Akademi Fantasia/reality tv/Malay entertainment scene, but I have to give my two cents worth on this season’s Akademi Fantasia 5. Contrary to rumors circulating around the internet (hahahah), I HAVE paid my Astro bills, and therefore I DO get to see AF.

Although honestly speaking, with this season, I don’t know why anyone would bother to. It was a Saturday night, and since I wanted to be on my parent’s good books for this week, I decided for the first time in weeks, to just hang out at home. I was flipping through the channels between the US Masters and Chelsea v. Tottenham when I heard a commotion going on at the living hall.

Though my ass says I should just sit comfortably at the massage chair while watching glorious Premiership action on the beautiful Toshiba flat screen, my mind was more than curious to know what got the rest of the population (in my household) all worked up. So imagine my non-surprise when I found out that the AF weekly concert was just about to start.

See, my house has been filled for the past week with relatives from Penang who are here to go for their Umrah (or mini-Hajj for the uninformed) but who unfortunately had to suffer with some Saudi-style bureaucracy which resulted not only in them, but thousands other Malaysians, stuck without visa.

Just imagine: they could have been there by now praying in front of the Kaabah, but instead they’re here in front of the other flat-screen watching a talent contest. Should we still call it that? I mean, far from me being harsh on this whole AF phenomenon (considering that I was one of its biggest online proponent just a couple of years ago), but has the premise run its course? Has it gone on from becoming a truly sensational form of tv entertainment to a seriously flawed concept?

I know I had a lot to say when Mawi was leading the SMS standings and eventually became the champion a few years ago, but at least I admitted Mawi had his own natural charm and talent. My gripe concerns the almost lopsided voting trend that appears to have destroyed whatever reputation AF had as a talent contest.

Even when I was involved with Senikami, I understood the whole dynamics of SMS voting and how it’s not a true indication of talent. But at least in previous seasons, the favorites can sing, even for just a little bit. And together with their undeniable star quality to attract the crowds, it’s a package that sells.

Okay, back to Saturday night. I went out, and the first note I heard was already off-key. Mind you, this wasn’t the first time I tried to watch AF5. Every week I tried to catch it, to allow it to hook me in, but after last night, I can safely say I’ve totally been turned off. I can’t quite place my finger on why…oh, actually I could.

It’s Dafi. I don’t usually get worked up over students like him, and there has been a few of his kind every season (you know, the untalented but popular), but his almost surreal domination of the voting charts couple with his faint, child-like singing voice cannot help but make me want to throw something at the television screen. It gets even more irritating when people ask silly questions “Macam mana depa boleh vote untuk budak ni hahhh?” or “He can’t sing, why is he at the top?”.

Memang calon menantu...
if you don't mind your daughter being married to someone prettier ...hahaha

Duh. Just look at him!!! He’s like the poster boy for every pre-pubescent girls, and makciks (with a few pakciks thrown in). There’s NO other reason. Anyone who says otherwise must either be delusional, or suffer from acute lack of talent appreciation. People who vote for Dafi should be honest and say “I vote for him because he’s cute/handsome/bersopan santun/calon menantu yang baik”. Heck, if I were a form 3 girl, maybe I would go crazy for him too, but I’m not.

Instead I have to content myself with the fact that it’s getting harder and harder to see chun girls on reality tv programs. There even seems to be a dearth of upcoming hot young hosts. Maybe it’s just a sign that I should stop being so “jantan”, and settle down for my upcoming wedding. GO FIGURE

(The ironic thing about this post is that it's still publicity for Dafi...which goes to show, there's no such thing as bad publicity)

Something about my work...

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Written on 4/04/2007 07:11:00 pm by sikapitan

Football fans all over the world watched in horror as Italian police brutally attacked Manchester United supporters in the terraces of Roma's Olympic Stadium. Though United fans are not to be applauded for the reaction to Roma's fans provocation, it certainly seem highly unlikely that a bleeding man lying on the ground constitute any threat towards the police for them to continue hitting on him, time and time again.

The story continues well after the game, where police abandoned Man Utd supporters instead of escorting them to safety, resulting in a group of United fans being ambushed by Roma's famed Ultra fans. Knives and machetes were apparently used, with one Man United fan admitted to hospital for stab wounds.

I personally like a bit of argy-bargy on the football pitch, and even some emotional reaction from supporters, but perhaps football fans should reflect on themselves and see whether there is any purpose to these violence.

Now back to me!

The wall is a musty shade of what must formerly be blue. To my left are piles and piles of files dating back to the mid-90’s, and law journals that are surprisingly quite recent, but dusty nonetheless through lack of use. A simple fluorescent light hangs bravely to my right, while a lonely air-conditioner sits right atop my head. It’s never switched on since I started occupying this room. Blame global warming, or just the natural feeling of cold felt by formerly chubby people who suddenly lost a lot of weight (I keep on saying that, although I’ve had the same weight since my SPM – 6 YEARS AGO!...my body should have adapted, shouldn’t it?).

I have an office. That’s more than what most pupils (most commonly, and wrongfully, referred to as “chambies” - short of chambering students) can say. While my former colleagues are stuck in nameless cubicles or share a room with other pupils, I have my own office. It sounds glamorous doesn’t it? (Fergie goes G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S…is there a spelling competition nowadays amongst hip-hop stars?)

Truth be told, it is as great as Kevin Federline is cool (not very then). I could blame the lack of internet access (can you believe it? This is as ancient as it can get) or the less than pleasing d├ęcor, or the flawed bathrooms (when was the last time anyone had to use a pail?). I could even say it’s the fact that I can never close the door to my office, because apparently at this law firm, there are no secrets (but I just want to sleep…).

But the reason why I’m sitting in front of this PC (surprisingly it’s a Windows XP…I half expected it to be based on MS-DOS), and write this piece is the utter frustration of being…useless. The feeling that I am alone, at this office, at an emotional and intellectual level is beginning to gnaw at me, but that I can handle. It’s the fact that day in day out; I come to office, go into my most glamorous office, switched on my PC, and just stare at a blank screen.

There’s simply nothing I could possibly do. Yes, sometimes I’ll ask the clerks for a bit of work, and I’ll get to do some conveyencing (land matters like transfer of titles, charge…etc2) files. But they seldom come to me, simply because it’s the easiest thing in the world to do, just a bit tedious and require concentration. In their mind they would think why a law graduate would want to bother himself with something that they, clerks with SPM certs, can do without a hitch, and do it better too.

And they are absolutely right. There’s NOTHING much to learn from conveyencing. It is paperwork, and loads of paperwork, with procedures, which can be learned from an experience clerk in ONE week. So I’m left to do tasks which are “white peanut”, and utterly redundant in terms of gaining quality legal experience.

The staffs here (this is a sole proprietorship firm with only one lawyer, affectionately known as “the Boss”) are kind of sympathetic to my plight, I think. They, of all people, understand that in this firm, it’s the conveyencing files that bring in the money, and you don’t need a lawyer to handle that. Maybe some of them may even resent me for receiving a healthy remuneration, just for sitting on my ass all day. Plus, I come to work at any time I like, and go back almost 99% of the time earlier than anyone else, even the Boss.

But I have settled the whole remuneration conundrum myself. Yesterday, I pull aside the firm’s accountant, and told him that I feel guilty receiving so much for so little work, and ask him to just cut down my remuneration by half beginning this month. He understood my situation, and agreed. A 50 PERCENT REDUCTION in wages, and I asked for it!!! Some of you might think I might be losing my head, because if the Boss isn’t complaining, and the staffs are really nice and sweet, why would I want to cut off RM500 of easy money?

I’ll try to explain it. There’s something known as pride, and I think I’m experiencing something akin to losing my pride every time I received a cheque from the firm. I’ve said if before, and I’ll say it again – I am the best judge of me. And when I look at myself, at what I did or didn’t do for the month, I reached a startling conclusion that I’ve been overpaid…grossly overpaid.

Is it my fault I’m overpaid? No, you’re right. It’s not. Why should I volunteer for a discount when I’m here, ready and able to work, but the firm has no work for me? I don’t know, but I guess it has something to do with this whole idea of pupilage in the first place, or rather my lack of enthusiasm of the idea.

You see, although I’ve always done well in my studies, I have had moments, intense moments, where I am utterly clueless as to my next step. It has to do with my goal, my first goal. It’s not noble, and in fact it could be considered vulgar by some with a higher moral compass than I do. But the goal is my goal and the goal is this: to earn RM30, 000 per month clean by the time I reach 30 years old. It’s a simple goal actually, unlike climbing the Everest or going to bed with Nicole Kidman, but it’s the simplest goal that seems the hardest to achieve.

Do you know that law graduates have to complete 9 months of pupilage before they can call themselves advocates and solicitors? And in this period, the firm can pay as little as they want. I’ve heard of small firms paying RM400 per month. The bigger firms will pay you around RM1000 –RM1200. So you’ll be on that pay scale for 9 months after you graduated – basically a year gone down the drain.

Now for the big surprise: the most I’ve heard a new legal assistant (meaning lawyers) can make at a big law firm is between RM1,800 to RM.2,400 (of course there are exceptions like Wong & Partners, but try getting into one of those…). That’s a lot of money, you would think. It’s not enough actually, and it’ll never be enough as long as you work for someone (yes, it is trite, but needs to emphasized).

So what I decided to do was to complete my chambering period at a “friendly” firm, with a “friendly” master. Basically all I wanted to do was finish off this 9 months period so that I could be admitted to the Bar and at the same time developing my own business strategies to further my goals.

The premise was great – I get to do whatever I want but at the same time I’ll still be in a period of pupilage. The problem started when I got my first paycheck. It was way too much, and it kind of made me feel obligated to come to office, pretending to do some work, when instead I have one hundred other things to do (mostly related to my restaurant, which is a story for another day).

So by cutting the amount myself, I have liberated my tortured soul from the misery of guilt and pride. I might be losing RM500, but I get to do other work where the returns, insyaallah, should be greater. Maybe now you guys don’t think I’m losing my head…

By the way, it’s 11.30am. Time to leave the office for lunch (Melayu betullll laaaa)…

In-gur-land

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Written on 4/01/2007 12:49:00 pm by sikapitan

What’s wrong with the England national team? Plenty, if you were to read the reports and reviews by every football scribe with a pen and/or keyboard. I tried watching the Israel-England game a few days back, but I struggled with boredom at the total lack of imagination shown by the English side. Hence, with Phil Neville and Jamie Carragher manning the flanks for England, I cannot help but fall asleep with just 10 minutes of the game gone.

Again I tried to watch the England – Andorra game, convinced that against a nation 100+ place below England in the Fifa World Rankings, England would not only win but win it in style. I was half expecting Rooney to chip in a delightful finish just like he did so casually over David James a month ago, or even John Terry to come up for a corner and smash the ball into the back of the net with aplomb. Heck, I even thought I might see Owen Hargreaves notch up a goal or two.

Alas, after 15 minutes of some slack positioning, bad passing and even worse approach play, I fell asleep. It’s not always like this you see. I used to be able to catch these early morning matches without blinking an eyelid. But since running a new restaurant (something which will be a surprise to many of my readers), plus my pupilage period in a private law firm, I haven’t had a decent rest.

Enough about me (which this blog never was anyway), and back to the England national team. I’m sorry, but the last time England entertained me was way back in 2001 when England beat Germany 5-1 in Munich. England’s performance after that period has been impressive in patches, but most of the time they have been nothing but mediocre. They reached the quarter-finals of the last World Cup, but does anyone remember a single impressive play by any of their players?

Sure I had a good laugh when Paul Robinson’s goal kick went high enough to hit the hanging giant screen, and it was heart wrenching to see Owen’s knees got injured the way it did. And I’m sure everyone remembered the sly wink Ronaldo gave when Rooney got sent off. The worse part of it all is that England has the temerity to claim that Rooney’s sending off was what cost them a place in the semi-final.

The truth is harder to swallow. England is in a unique position in that they are not bad enough to be ranked together with the likes of Macedonia, nor are they that weak until they’re bunched with the Irish, but at the same time they are definitely leagues behind the likes of Germany, Italy and Brazil. In short, they’re not world champions or even contenders for the king of Europe, but neither are they chump. They are at best, a quarter-finals kind of team, and at worst, a second round team.

I think everyone kind of know this. It’s just hard to accept when they look at the team-sheet that the English put out every game. At every department there’s a player that’s all too familiar to football fans all over the world. Heck, even the likes of Andy Johnson and Stewart Downing are known all over the world.

Why? Because the English Premier League is the best marketed league, and arguably, the best league in the world as well. And though there will be those who argue for the Spanish or Italian league, I personally think that the English league has overcome its initial technical deficiency to become an almost complete league. But therein lies the problem.

The rise of the EPL can be traced back to the way the league has been marketed, which makes it a cash cow to buy players, which means that more and more top-class talents are heading towards the EPL, which then means that though the English Premier League’s standard is rising, it doesn’t necessarily mean the same for the English National Team.

It’s not that the English players are bad. Far from it. As the Champions League has shown, the English players can compete with the very best that Europe can offer. The likes of Gerrard and Lampard can walk into any team in the world. Nevertheless, their club form has been aided by the contribution of FOREIGN PLAYERS, not English.

For example, Rooney shines the most when Ronaldo is playing at his best. But Ronaldo, on the other hand, plays well regardless of whether Rooney is at his best or not. Same goes for Gerrard, who looked somewhat lost when Xabi Alonso was hassled off the park my Manchester United midfielders. Rio Ferdinand isn’t half as impressive without Vidic winning all the headers. Lampard cannot function without Essien or Makelele covering his ass.

So the true footballers in the England team, in fact, aren’t actually that good without the system and players around them. Which leaves England with the likes of Terry, Neville, and Hargreaves…players who are the spine of their respective club side, and perform admirably for the national team, but who are not expected, nor are they able, to conjure up goals for fun or even set up a decent approach play.

Everybody has heard of Andy Johnson because he plays for Everton. And no disrespect to Everton fans, but most people get to see Andy Johnson because most people watch the likes of Man Utd, Arsenal or Chelsea go against Everton. Thus, he is popular, in a sense. But popularity and ability does not go hand in hand. Is he famous because he is really good (which I kind of think he is) or because he plays in the EPL?

The problem is that when people see Andy Johnson, Theo Walcott, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Phil Neville, Stewart Downing, or Aaron Lennon, they immediately assume that these are better players than the likes of Luca Toni, Iniesta, Metzelder, or Tiago…but they’re not. They’re just more famous.

So England is a famous team consisting of famous players. But is it a good team filled with good players? The last two years seems to indicate otherwise. Go figure.


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