ASEAN rugby test series


Written on 1/29/2007 10:18:00 pm by sikapitan

Let’s talk about football, or to the Malaysian National Team – rugby. I just knew that if Malaysia lose via a penalty shoot-out, everyone (and by everyone I mean the mass media) would use words like “unfortunate”, “unlucky” or “nasib”. It hides a fundamental flaw in the way Malaysia played that night, and over the course of the ASEAN Tournament.

To be fair to Malaysia, the rest of the nations participating did not exactly match up to the standards we are so used to (no thanks to Astro and its weekly collection of matches from Serie A, EPL, Primera Liga and even the Bundesliga). Some of the matches actually resembled a very good high-school football match. If this is the standard of ASEAN football, then we have a long way to go towards qualifying for the World Cup, let alone win it.

But I don’t really care about other teams. First things first, I must say that the new Nike kit that Malaysia wears is absolutely spot-on. I love it. It’s been a while since Malaysia played with a proper tiger stripes, and Nike has designed a stylish ensemble. Forget about the criticism about the lack of a Malaysian flag on the jersey. International soccer has moved away from flags and the emblem of the FA is good enough for me.

Unfortunately, only the jersey looks good. In a lackluster campaign that actually lasted longer because of Myanmar’s shock draw, Malaysia appeared to be stuck with the same problems plaguing the national team for so long. Their inability to string passes in midfield is a major drawback. Their enthusiasm for pumping the ball upfield warrants a closer look at Malaysia’s strategy.

There are two ways with the long ball tactic. One is lobbing the ball up to the center, for a big target man who can hold up the ball while others come and support. The other is pushing the ball down the channels for speedy strikers to stretch the opposition’s backline. Malaysia’s tactic is neither here nor there. They tried to play behind the backline, but the quality wasn’t there in the pass for Nizaruddin, Hairuddin or Samransak to exploit. The ball usually falls short, in other words the defenders get a clear header over our long passes. Why?

Simply because Malaysia’s opposition can sit deep. Just see how easy it was for Thailand’s backline to marshal Malaysia’s forward line in the group stages. They didn’t have to push up, because Malaysia did not hold the ball long enough to draw in the opposition. They can afford to have a big gap between midfield and defenders because Malaysia’s midfield never held the ball longer than 3 passes.

The match against Singapore (over both legs) was better for Malaysia, but not by much. The Singapore defenders weren’t the best I’ve seen in the tournament, despite being imported players. Despite that, Malaysia still failed to capitalize, by still relying on long balls, especially in the first half of the second leg in Singapore.

Nevertheless, there are some positives from this Malaysian team, and it is a youthful looking squad. I like no.7, Malaysia’s captain and centre-back. He’s commanding, and athletic enough to get over his height disadvantage. Thiru at right-back looks solid enough, and was alert anytime he had to tuck in with his central defenders. Nantha wants to be Michael Carrick, and he got all the right moves with the slow languid pace and nonchalant expression but he missed out on one important factor – passing the ball competently. Hardi Jaafar has a sweet left foot. Honestly, with the corners and free kicks that he takes, I wonder how Malaysia failed to score more from set-pieces. But his weakness is that he is pretty useless at defending, and he relies too much on his long range passing.

Ah, but what do I know. My experience at football management is hours in front of the computer playing Football Manager. But what I do know is that Malaysian football will forever be stuck in this mess if the general attitude of the footballers remains the same. Tidak apa seems to be our motto, and under-achievement seems to be our goal. People forget that Malaysia has the financial resources (which we have spent, to the tune of MILLIONS every year), the necessary interest from the population, and the available talent pool to be the best in ASEAN. Yet, we are still where we were 5 years ago. At least this time we failed with a local coach…


BMW - Boleh Makan Wang


Written on 1/23/2007 01:31:00 am by sikapitan

It’s been a weird weekend for me. It started off with a bang, and then ended with a whimper. Chelsea’s lost to Liverpool set up a possible title decider game for Manchester United against Arsenal, and I was really looking forward to United opening an almost decisive 9 points gap. Unfortunately, United failed to win at the Emirates Stadium, and crestfallen that I was, I actually thought it was an entertaining game and could swing either way. But the bitter taste of defeat lasted this whole Monday, added with the almost inept attitude of AutoBavaria.

I mean, I don’t really like to talk about cars and such, because some narrow minded souls might misinterpret them as signs of showing-off, but I must tell my readers to think twice before investing in a Continental car. Their sales team is excellent, and my family can attest to that having bought two Beemers from the same dealer over the course of a few years. They will pamper you, coax you and treat you like a king for you to part with your money.

But things are not as rosy as it seems. I sent my E46 for Inspection 1 (that’s around 40000KM) to AutoBavaria Glenmarie and was disappointed that I had to wait more than an hour before a Customer Service Officer can come and collect the car from me. He was pleasant enough, and in fact I have no qualms over their manners, but still when you have made an appointment you expect nothing less than minimum waiting. As some of you might know, I am currently working (though that term connotes doing something, which I’m actually not) and I wonder how top-level executives deal with the fact that they have to wait, because time means everything now doesn’t it?

Maybe because they have drivers, and I guess that’s one of the problems isn’t it. In a lot filled with E90s and E60s, my chilli red darling perhaps isn’t the most important car to be worked on. Nevertheless, the CSO said that he’ll try to get the car ready by Thursday afternoon, but most likely it will be done before Friday prayers. He promised to give me a call. It was already close to 10AM. Thankfully, I had someone to pick me up from the service centre.

So I waited like a fool on Thursday, but nobody called. And when I called that afternoon, I was told that my CSO was away attending to another client. As I had already expected this to happen, I gamely waited for a cab (I do know how to take a cab, or a bus for that matter) which wasn’t as easy as I thought. 12 ringgit and a pleasant conversation with the cab driver later, I was back at home, thinking if I have to spend another 12 ringgit on Friday.

I went to work with my parents, and I had to make sure my driver dropped me off far from my office, because I’m already kind of embarrassed to be driving a Beemer while my boss prefers Kancil (he’s loaded, but kind of quirky – the Kancil has a driver!) without aggravating the staffs any further by arriving in another Continental car and Chauffeur-driven nonetheless. I called AutoBavaria 5 times the whole day, and suffice to say, my previous day CSO was on leave, and the Service Supervisor can simply tell me that “Siap Isnin la bang, esok cuti!”. I made a small fuss, he promised to call that afternoon, but of course he didn’t.

When I went out with Dan and Fredo the next day (that’s Saturday), I related my story to Dan because he’s currently serving his practical at another continental service outlet. He told me that that is quite typical of all authorized service centers. Behind the posh exterior and friendly CSOs is a group of overworked technician who must be cajoled by the CSOs to take on just another car while the technician is busy fixing up his 10th car of the day. It seems ridiculous isn’t it that for the amount of money you pay that these 3S centers (that’s Sales, Service and Showroom) cannot handle the cars that they proclaimed would receive special attention from AUTHORIZED SERVICE CENTERS.

I finally got my car Monday afternoon, and guess how much they charged me? Close to RM2,000.00, which would be alright if was for parts, but they’re charging close to RM600 for labor, and I find THAT amusing, considering how slow the whole system is towards achieving customer satisfaction.

In truth, I don’t mind the fact that it took so long. I can understand their predicament. Understaffed, overwhelmed. But I DO mind that they don’t bother calling me up as early as Thursday afternoon or even Friday morning to tell me that I won’t be having my car until Monday. People make plans, and people like me REALLY make plans. I’m kind of a nerd when it comes to that, and I get extremely upset when my plans are messed up by external factors. I mean, I’ve got appointments on Friday afternoon, dates to go, places to visit, things to do – all of which requires me to have a car. At least that was the plan. I can think that this problem is simple an indication of our nation’s general customer service attitude – TIDAK APA.

They can hold me at ransom because honestly, I don’t trust going to normal workshops. These Continental brands ingrain in the minds of its customers that anything less that Authorized Service Centers would result in your coolant be filled with urine and your tires with farts. I don’t even want to think about the exorbitant amount of money it takes to maintain what already is an expensive purchase. Isn’t it ironic that the more expensive the thing is, the harder it is to maintain? Just like dating a supermodel then…not that I know anything of that…

Of Arabs and Disservice...


Written on 1/13/2007 04:24:00 am by sikapitan

I read in the NST today about these women who got entangled into relationships with men of Middle-Eastern origin and then was blackmailed with their nude pictures (but of course…).

I like Michael CHOng (bloody hell...), and I think whatever his motives are, at least people know that if there is someone who could speak up on their behalf, it’s him. Is there an equivalent in UMNO or PAS? Not that I’ve heard of. But the report in NST featured 3 different tales from 3 different girls with one common denominator – Middle Eastern men.

It’s hard enough to be an Arab nowadays, what with everyone thinking you’re fully strapped with explosives every time you stroll along KLCC, without being further implicated as some sort of kinky, blackmailing adulterer who takes no prisoner when it comes to loving Malaysian women.

It’s the same when we talk about Africans in Malaysia. All they seem to be associated with is fraud, fake money and selling fake Rolexes. But I’ve seen and met Africans and Arabs who are simply here to earn a living/getting their education/having a nice holiday And I can bet that there are more of these than there are those who sells fake Rolexes (or maybe not…). I don’t have Arab friends or African friends, so you can be rest assured that my motives here are simply to remind everyone to think twice before pigeonholing any particular race, gender or nationality.

On another, more somber note, the flood disaster engulfing various parts of our nation is estimated to have cost more than RM100 MILLION in damages. The Government has just announced a further RM500 for families affected by the flood. I am estimating that each family has now received around RM1000 after this RM500. Is RM1000 really enough to survive nowadays? I mean, think about it. We are talking about damages not only to living quarters but also, for some, to their livelihood. Farmers and such will be without income for the next few months! And they have to survive only on RM1000? For the WHOLE FAMILY???

Isn’t it ironic that the poorer just gets poorer? They don’t have that much savings in the first place, and whatever savings they have will be used to continue on living. This is the vicious cycle that people don’t realize. How can you think of buying your children books and those learning videos or send them to “child enrichment centers” when you’re more concerned with whether they have enough food or clothes to wear? Thus these children are at a disadvantage, leading to poor performance in school exams, which in our result oriented education system, will further limit their potential to learn. They become farmers just like their fathers and grandfathers before them. I have deviated from my desired course, but I think I need to make that point.

So should we give them more? Yes, I believe we should. And when I say we, I don’t mean only through donations and such. The Government must and should ease their burden. It’s too expensive, they might say. But expensive is relative. When you can spend RM500 MILLION on a summer camp, or millions on pretty streetlights or billions on over-priced projects, then perhaps RM5, 000 per family doesn’t seem too expensive now does it?

Forget about donating money then. What about more manpower?? The government agencies are doing their best but they are not being creative. What the affected States need is a group of young, hardworking workers who has to follow instructions and will serve the State for a couple of months. Not experts, but just able bodies who can clean up the mess, help families clear up their homes, rebuild houses and other menial work FOR FREE!!! Where do we get them from?

Remember this group that the government rounds up everyone year, and send to camps all over the country, under the banner of National Service? Let me spell it out for you – N A T I O N A L S E R V I C E. Servicing the nation (well, that doesn’t sound quite right…) is their motto. But what do they do besides getting stuck waiting for buses? Yes, they do go around doing “gotong-royong” but here is an opportunity for the Government to really emphasis that the trainees from NS will be useful and IS USEFUL. Just think of it as another gotong-royong, just that this time, they will be really helping those in need.

You Will Be Served Shortly...


Written on 1/08/2007 02:33:00 am by sikapitan

Almost everyone will do it at least once in their lifetime, while most do it at least once a week and a small percentage of our population will do it every day. Now some of you might be feeling a little bit sexy after reading that first few lines, and the more conservative of you lot will probably be slowly reciting some prayers THEN continue reading…but unfortunately for you horny souls, I am not talking about sex. In fact, it is something so far removed from sex it’s like relating cows to Jessica Simpson…well, maybe there is a relation there….

I am actually referring to the activity that is so ingrained in our psyche that we tend to not realize its impact on our daily lives – going to the bank. YES! Going to the bank sounds innocuous enough, but without us realizing it, a significant portion of our adult life is spent at the bank (and this includes ATM transactions) AND most importantly, most of us ARE actually living because of the banks.

It’s crazy how banks have spread its tentacles into almost everything we do. I mean, without the car loan you might just be riding on a bicycle, or become a mat rempit. Housing loans, study loans, personal loans…even getting married nowadays sees some people taking out loans from the bank. Even if you’re lucky enough NOT to take up loans from the banks, you still have to deal with them. Where else would you employer deposit your monthly wage? So you take in cash, where do you keep it? How do people transfer large amount of money?

Heck, if you think about it, the shops where you buy your clothes, the services that you use, the businesses that you deal with, even the company you work for…they will all deal with banks, even depend on banks for their survival. So why on earth, for something that is so fundamentally important, did they make going to the bank such a godless chore?

Honestly, can someone please do tell me why are banks located at commercial centers which cannot cater to the number of people who you would normally expect to come to banks? I guess the theory is that it is easier to locate banks at commercial centers so that the consumers can do a whole lot of their business at the same area. But it seldom works that way, now does it?

The vision is for you to go to the bank during your lunch break (since it is so conveniently located near your office), take your number, wait at most 10 minutes, do your thing at the counter, then head out to the Maxis office to settle your bill (again, not more than 20 minutes), then go have a nice lunch and be back at the office before lunch hour is over. If this is how you describe your own personal experience, you must be doing your banking in some rural backwater.

Tell me if this sounds familiar. You leave your office at 12.30pm for a 15 minutes ride to the nearest commercial centre (let us say Taipan, USJ or SS2, PJ), but of course the commercial centre is called a centre for a reason and that is because EVERYONE IS HEADING TOWARS THE SAME DIRECTION! Do content yourself with a bit of a jam before arriving at the area, then upon reaching there, you spend another 30 minutes trying to find a parking space, and you seldom will.

Forget about parking near the bank, because it’s usually double-parked. So then you find a spot that runs a yellow line, and even these illegal spaces are filled with cars. You run down, and head straight to take your queue number. It reads 346, but most importantly it shows that at that moment, the bank is serving customer number 306. There’s at least another 40 people ahead of you, but its okay, because now you can run over to the Maxis centre to pay your bills.

Unfortunately, and in spite of the general idea being to bring all the services closer together, it takes at least a good 10 minutes of good brisk walking to reach the Maxis centre. Even if you plan only to use the automated payment machine, you still have to wait for a while. Lo and behold, sometimes you’re “lucky” enough to have the machine breaking down on your visit, so you run back to the bank.

Apparently, this time the bank decides to be efficient so number 346 has already passed, and you have to take another number. This time you vow to wait inside the bank, but there are no seats left! You stand around, filling up all the forms (at least you brought your own pen), and eyeing up the rest of the customers. Isn’t it odd that you find mostly people in casual clothes going to the bank? I mean, if the whole concept was to have an all in one commercial centre where people can work, and do their banking, doesn’t it seem odd that banks are mostly filled by the average housewives, grads, runners and other non-working individual?

By the time you’re done, it’s more than likely to be more than 3 hours from the time you left your office. Remember, you only managed to complete one simple transaction. So much for being convenient. There is nothing convenient about going to the bank in areas like Taipan or SS15,Subang or SS2, PJ or PJ New Town or wherever else in the busy cosmopolitans all around Malaysia.

One solution is the emergence of Internet Banking. It works, and my mom is a great believer in Maybank2U. I’m sure the pick-up will be greater if it wasn’t for the lousy internet penetration rate and even lousier service provided by the telco companies…but that’s a story for another day.

There are more ways to work around this problem, but this entry is getting a bit too long. So I hope readers can give suggestions or comments on this. Oh yeah, before you leave the commercial centre, as you enter your car, you realize there’s a piece of paper on your window, so you pick it up only to realize its one of the MB or MP or DB giving you a ticket for not parking in spaces that was NOT AVAILABLE in the first place!!! Go figure…




Written on 1/03/2007 12:46:00 am by sikapitan

YOUR 2006
It’s 2007, and I wish I could say a Happy New Year to most Malaysians, but I guess what with the increase in toll fares and utterly useless decrease in road tax, it doesn’t seem to make good reading for us regular motorists. Yes, don’t be surprise when you drive to work on Wednesday morning just to find your small change don’t quite add up to the fares.

Being the supposedly intelligent, well-educated University graduate that I am, I can understand the burden that the Government is going through subsidizing us all…or do I?
Maybe I could, if I no longer bother about the RM500 MILLION RINGGIT spent each year SUBSIDIZING a bunch of teenagers on a summer camp that aims to promote integration without realizing that integration should last longer than 3 months. Being more than acquainted with a bunch of kids who had gone through the National Service in the past, let me assure you that the happy RTM-friendly multi-ethnic pictures being promoted is the exception, not the general rule.

Maybe I could accept this whole price increase phenomena if it wasn’t for the fact that I kind of feel that Malaysia, as an economic and world politic entity, is heading towards the abyss. I mean, gone are the days when investors pour into Malaysia building up factories and offices, or when Malaysia was the darling of the foreign press – for the good things and the not so good things. Malaysia is slowly turning into some kind of Luxembourg or Oman…it exists, but it isn’t that relevant now is it?

I don’t see a grand economic master plan that could radically transform Malaysia into a leading global economic powerhouse. Okay, maybe I am expecting too much, so maybe Malaysia has a plan to become Asia’s economic giant…wait, we don’t have that either. How about ASEAN’s roaring tiger? Nope. But hey, the rest of the region is having a bad time too. At least I’m not from Thailand or Indonesia. Even Singapore seems to lose its zeal in the year 2006. I guess an optimist would say it could only get better!

MY 2006
How can I best describe my OWN 2006? I guess it was a year when I finally, honestly and truly, grown as a man (not literally though). The Jessup competition was a turning point, but where it turned me to I still haven’t decided. Heck, it made my life a bit more difficult. I guess it made me realize that I’m kind of good at being an advocate, and suddenly the thoughts of becoming the next Karpal Singh (for lack of a better-known reference) seems a little bit more appealing.

But too bad I had to endure another 6 months after THAT best mooter win before I graduated, because it took me that time to suddenly re-discover why I don’t find doing law as something appealing. There was even this one talk, organized by UiTM, where young members of the KL Bar Council came over and supposedly try to help us find our career path. What it did was to convince me that, even with MY OWN BLOODY FIRM, I won’t be making as much money as I should, and confidently believe I should.

Oh yes, I HAVE graduated. It wasn’t something that was so unexpected, but I ran into some trouble with the Disciplinary Board (a real big trouble) that apparently had the rest of my colleagues into some panic attack. Funnily, I wasn’t that bothered, and I guess that kind of pisses off the powers that be ie. Encik Adlan and Assoc Prof Saudah (I can say your bloody names now). So there was a bit of a risk at the end of the semester that some form of retribution might be in order, but it turned out all right. Guess I should start my pupilage soon yea? Another 9 months wasting time earning as much as any entry level marketing officer could. Sheesshhh…

On the personal front, I have officially closed out my Senikami blog which has given me so much pleasure and at the same time burden me with its uncalled for expectations. Or maybe I am just full of myself with regards to Senikami. I mean, even at its height, I realized that I was there serving a function, rather than actually articulating my thoughts and feelings. Should an online blog be that way? I don’t think so but Senikami was never a blog in its purest form – it was another kind of e-magazine I guess. But on the same note, I have to admit that one of the best, most exciting times in my life was during the Senikami reign – the fans, the glam and most importantly, the friends that I made during that time.

Moving on to my girlfriend – you guys do know that I have one right? I think I was trying hard to make this blog less “drama” like most blogs out there that I don’t talk about her that often, but I should, because the date’s been set for the end of 2007 to also be the end of my bachelorhood. Touchwood. I don’t want to jinx it any further by spilling out any more details. Too bad, because I can write at least another five 500-words long entries on the subject of relationship.

2006 was also the year when I finally got my groove back... ambiguous? Too bad, I think I’ll end it that way.