Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Adeh..kena selesema la pulak. Dah lama aku tak sakit, alih-alih hujung tahun ni pulak kena. Nasib baik tak kena ambik MC. Alah, dok kat rumah pun bukannya buat apa. Baik gi office. Kat office pun bukannya ada kerja sangat. Office ni pun tak ramai orang. Semua bercuti. Kalau aku dapat carry forward cuti tahun ni, maknanya tahun depan aku ada extra 5 hari cuti. Ada la harapan nak gi holiday. (Bali ke, Jakarta ke...hmmm) Tu pun kalau takde projek penting. Kalau tak, terpaksa la berkurung dalam lab...
Ubat ni buat aku high jer...Achoo!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

A bouquet of flower

Category: My Post-It NotesAku dapat surprise yang memang tak disangka-sangka. (Inila yang dinamakan surprise, isk). Orang lelaki dapat bunga, mana tak terkejut. Samalah seperti kera mendapat bunga. Selepas kira-kira, ada 18 roses. Bawak balik rumah, tak tau nak buat apa. Langsung aku disassemble bouquet tu, nak tau macam mana florist tu susun. Lepas tu dah tak tau nak bagi cantik balik. Macam kera...Anyway, thank you to She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Muahs! Hehe. If you reading this, thank you to you. A bunch of thank you!

Friday, December 23, 2005

MAS The Flying Buffet

Category : Politics

MAS will soon be reporting 2nd quarter losses of RM260.0 million. The losses are actually close to RM300.0 million but MAS has been doing some creative accounting to make the Chairman Munir Majid look like he is doing his job. Certain 'write backs', 'overprovisions' etc are being used to make the red ink less.

Will this stop the rot at MAS ? Not likely. The company is in deep shit. The new incoming MD Idris Jala is supposed to arrive on Dec 1st - after the second qtr losses have been announced. That was the deal. But Munir is trying to delay announcing the 2 nd qtr losses and leave it to Idris Jala. This is not good feng shui for a new incoming MD - to start the day by announcing losses.

MAS is actually a flying buffet for the big guns. The company is owned by the Government. So it is not their own money. It is the Government's money. The big guns are ripping off MAS. The big guns are in just for the joyride. The Chairman Munir Majid - appointed sometime September last year - is ripping off MAS. Almost every weekend now Munir flies first class on MAS to London - for free of course. This is an abuse of his position as Chairman. He has a Mat Salleh wife in London who he is divorcing and maybe in the process of replacing so the free air rides to London come in handy.

Munir even has the dubious honour of making a day trip to London. He took the night flight from KLIA which arrives a.m. in London. Then he had a limousine with an English chauffeur pick him up in London airport and drive him to some condo. He kept the chauffeur waiting seven hours while he finished his 'business' in the condo. Then the chauffeur drove him back to the airport where Munir caught the evening flight back to KL. All this is paid using the taxpayers money. Anybody cares ?

MAS has its own company cars in London but obviously that is not good enough for Munir the top performing Chairman of the most successful airline company in Asia - now entering into its second quarter of multi hundred million Ringgit losses. Nothing less than a Rolls Royce or Bentley with orang putih chauffeur. After he became Chairman, Munir ordered office renovations totalling RM 841,000.00 for his office on the 34th floor of the MAS building in Jln
Sultan Islamil. This was at a time when MAS management already knew that MAS was going to report 1 st qtr losses of RM280.0 million in 2005.

Included in this RM841,000.00 renovation is kitchen equipment worth RM 33,515.00. Here are the details as per contractor's invoice :

Contractor : SI Corporation Sdn Bhd. 12 Jln Kenari 8, Bandar Puchong Jaya.
Batu 10, 47100 Puchong, Selangor DE. Tel : 8075 7788
3 MARCH 2005. RM 33,515.00

Contractor : Design Practice Consultants 3A, 48 & 50, 4th Floor, Block A,
Kelana Centre Point,
No 3 Jln SS 7/19,
47301 Kelana Jaya,
Selangor Darul Ehsan.
Tel : 7803 4328
Cert of Progress Payment No 3 24th March 2005
Contract Sum RM 760,000.00
Cert of Payment No 02
4th April 2005
Contract Sum RM 48,000.00 --------------------- Total RM 841,515.00

Well once you renovate your office for RM841,000 certainly you need some art works to grace the office. So Munir spent RM1,557, 000.00 (yes that is RM1.6 Million of taxpayers money, alright) buying art works.

First here are the details :

RUMAH SENI NUSANTARA SDN BHD 1st Floor, 17 Jln Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru,
59100 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel : 2284 2348

i. Sophia Vari (Coeur de L'Impenetrable ) RM 75,000.00
ii. Fernando Botero (Still Life With Violin) RM 1,140,000.00
iii. Fernando Botero (Still Life With Lobster) RM 342,000.00

---------------------- Total RM 1,557,000.00

Fernando Botero is a Colombian artist. All his paintings are a little gross because he 'blows up' or paints oversized depictions of his subjects especially humans. Here is an example :

Reproductions of his works can be bought for US25.00 (RM100.00) from - an Internet based art retailer. Surprisingly 'Still Life With Violin' is not listed anywhere in Botero's
collection. There is however a 'Still Life With Mandolin'. Have they got the name wrong ? Did they pay for the correct painting ? Here is a picture of 'Still Life With Mandolin'

One would assume that considering MAS' RM 540.0 million losses over two quarters, the new Chairman would at least try to balance his aesthetic tastes with a cheaper reproduction than buying the originals at over RM1.4 million. But MAS is a flying buffet. Everyone wants to feed off taxpayers money while the wool is still pulled over people's eyes. Not only the big guns but Senior Executives (AGM and above) have also been given an RM10.0 million car deal that will knock your socks off. Despite making such huge losses, MAS rewarded Senior Execs and implemented a scheme where it pays outright in cash for 75% of the purchase price of any car of
their choice for Senior Execs. And the remaining 25 % ? You guessed it. MAS gives a soft loan for the 25%. This is 100%.

And this is to reward Senior Execs for racking up losses of RM540.0 million for two consecutive quarters. Then MAS is also getting ripped off by poorly negotiated contracts especially with ticket agents. General Sales Agents hold monopoly franchises in certain countries to sell MAS tickets. But they often get unduly large discounts from MAS HQ in KL. Then because of these large discounts they are able to sell the tickets at two or three times mark up and make all the profit for themselves.

Why does MAS Sales give them such large discounts ? Some of the GSAs are also very friendly with MAS' Sales people. One of them has reputedly bought a condominium in KL for his buddy in MAS. Maybe this is one way of getting discounts. MAS is a flying buffet.

Then of course there is the famous food catering ripoff. Food is catered by Sky Chef, a company owned by the PM's brother. Needless to say, while MAS is making huge losses, Sky Chef is making good profits. Is this strange or is it not strange ? MAS has won some international award for Best Cabin Crew three years in a row. Someone has decided that MAS should also win the award for Best Airline Food !! So they launched 'Project Relish'. This is just another ripoff project. Lettuce from Cameron Highlands has been replaced with expensive, airflown lettuce from Australia. (No one stopped to think if Qantas has ever won Best Airline Food award serving Aussie lettuce)

Included in Project Relish is the redesign of their serving trays. Special design consultants have been engaged to redesign MAS serving trays. They would do better to ask their own air hostesses and stewards to design the plastic trays. But MAS is a flying buffet. Next we come to the 'con sultans' ripoff. Thus begins the story of Mazidah and Chris Andrews. Chris Andrews is a British consultant who was paid RM7,250 per day by MAS. Yes, this fellow was being paid more than the PM of Malaysia or more than the CEO of Sime, Maybank or anyone else.

In 5 days of work, Chris Andrews would earn from MAS RM36,250 which is about twice the annual salary of a graduate starting work in Malaysia. In slightly over one year, Chris Andrews has been paid over RM1.3 million in "con sultan" fees by MAS. These are the sultans of con. Who appointed Chris Andrews and what does he do ? Chris Andrews was pulled into MAS by one woman called Mazidah who is the head of Admin Support Services. For reasons that are becoming more clearer, she convinced MAS to hire Chris Andrews for RM7,250 per day to handle MAS' IT outsourcing.

What did Chris Andrews do ? He got MAS to outsource all their IT support to IBM. Since this outsourcing of IT support to IBM about 2 years ago, MAS' IT costs have spiralled about three fold. Here is how it happens. Now when a computer breaks down, MAS staffers can call a Help Desk. The Help Desk is manned by guess who ? Why IBM of course - the IT outsource ! IBM will then advise what to do - say call in a software guy (IBM of course), service the hardware (by IBM of course) or change hardware (by IBM of course).

The IT outsourcing to IBM is so complete that IBM also issues and signs the Purchase Orders on behalf of MAS to ITSELF for replacement parts ! ! As MAS' IT Outsource 'ConSultant' as well as being the major IT supplier to MAS, IBM is in the enviable position of being able to decide what and how much MAS should buy from itself. Ini bukan 'mesin niaga' tapi ini sudah jadi lagi satu kes 'melayu tak tahu niaga'. While MAS is making losses, no one has bothered to check how much money IBM is making this year from MAS ? When queried by the Board why IT costs have spiraled up, Mazidah convinced them that MAS was paying the cost of catching up with the latest IT technologies.

This is what Mazidah and her boyfriend Chris Andrews have been doing at MAS. Did I say 'boyfriend' ? Talk is other than slowing takeoffs at MAS, Chris Andrews and Mazidah have been 'taxiing down the runway' for a while. Mazidah who has three children, has separated from her husband to become Chris Andrews 'girlfriend'. After about two years of taxiing, she has either married Chris Andrews or is still in a take off mode.

Lately Chris Andrews has been given a permanent position at MAS. He is now Senior GM in charge of 'Strategy'. People are wondering how a RM7,250 a day IT consultant can become Head of Strategy Group ? Chris Andrews (Strategy) and Mazidah (Admin Support) are also the middle aged couple who sit in at MAS Management Committee meetings - this is the ruling elite in MAS - which is more influential than the MAS Board of Directors inhabited by clowns representing Khazanah, the MOF and other such outfits.

About two months ago, Chris Andrews (IT 'con sultan' turned Strategy Head) convinced MAS to raise their 1 st Class and Business Class fares by almost three times. From having the cheapest 1st Class Fares, MAS is now among the most expensive 1st Class airlines in the world. Understandably bookings have dropped with some flights having almost zero 1st Class passengers. More red ink for MAS. This company is not going to turn around soon. Chris and Mazidah are also savvy at PR. On Friday 25 th November 2005 they threw a lavish and exclusive welcome party for Idris Jala. Only the selected and the few from among the ruling elite in MAS were invited. Those outside the ruling elite were left out. But the party was held at company premises, using more of company funds.

Idris Jala is said to have asked the Govt's blessing to undertake a VSS scheme in MAS. This is a good move considering that the airline is overstaffed with over 23,000 employees when it only needs about 13,000 people to run. But paying off about 8,000 people is going to be expensive. But not to worry. The Second Minister of Finance has agreed to pour in more money for MAS. A sizeable soft loan from the Govt to MAS is in the works. Many experienced staff who have slogged faithfully in the rank and file in MAS for the past decades are getting fed up and just waiting for the VSS to make their exit.

This will leave MAS with even less experienced staff and more at the mercy of the 'con sultans'. Stay tuned for more MAS news.

Hope for Pasir Mas

Category : Politics

credit to :
Ajemi Ismail
16 December 2005
Taman Seri Mewah, Kajang.

I did not plan to go back to my hometown Pasir Mas this time around but it so happened that I had to visit my mother-in-law this weekend. My sister, brother and mother-in-laws were about to leave for Mekah to answer God’s call for pilgrimage. It is customary that whenever members of your extended family go for Hajj, you attend the doa selamat and then see them off at the airport. This one is no exception. Everybody who did not want to be disowned made his journey home, no matter how far. And thus all members of my wife’s family gathered at the family house in our village in Pasir Mas. The eight hour journey through the interior of Pahang was not a stroll in the park, but it gave me a rare opportunity to talk to my brother who acted as co-driver.

I have made journeys like this countless times ever since I started working and living in the west side of the Peninsula. I wished they had built a four-lane toll-free highway from Kajang to Pasir Mas so I could cut short the journey by half. I am still wishing.

Nothing is interesting about this trip except for the fact that this town had just received nationwide attention after a bitterly fought state seat by-election last week. The election was forced by the death of Pas rep for the seat of N12 Pengkalan Pasir. Until last week, this town had been under Pas control for the past 15 years. It was one of their remaining strongholds after the big swing to BN in the last general election. The town looked different from usual. Its usually dark streets are now flooded with tall spotlights with visible signboards reminding people of which party installed the damned things. Election posters for all parties were still hanging on trees, power cable poles and buildings. The usual dacing and bulan purnama fought for space at every corner. The independent candidate, ex-Umno stalwart Datuk Ibrahim Ali chose umbrella as the symbol of his side, perhaps mindful of the frequent rain that can happen here all of a sudden at this time of the year.

This by-election was crucial for both parties. For Pas it was about maintaining their razor thin majority. For BN it was about showing the people that the tide of change from the last general election was inevitable and irreversible. Eventually BN managed to wrest the seat from Pas who had ruled over the last 15 years, thanks to postal votes. The majority was thin but at least the efforts of their federal leaders, including PM, DPM and various ministers, with the help of all government machinery, money and the media did not come to naught. Pas blamed it all on Pos Malaysia and phantom voters while Ibrahim Ali disappeared together with all his umbrellas. Some say the new rep is not wakil rakyat but merely a wakil pos. Somebody told me Ibrahim Ali spent two million ringgit to split the BN vote. They took his money but apparently did not need his umbrella. Pas offered RM15,000 to catch pengundi hantu but I am quite sure BN can double that to set them free again! Either side, they had the opportunity to make money. Big money.

It is one of the ironies of democracy. In a community where party politics run in their blood, sometimes victory is decided by a minority group. In this case, the small Chinese community vote was vital as the split among the majority Malay voters was about the same. Perhaps feeling appreciated by their community leaders who took time to visit, the Chinese community votes went to the BN. This would not be surprising outside Kelantan, but in this state, politics can go against the norm. It is not unusual to see non-Muslim Chinese campaigning for Parti Islam in Kelantan.

In the heat of the election campaign, both sides promised to bring changes to this town. BN promised to tackle traffic, drainage system and lack of cleanliness problems. Pas said they would build a flyover to replace the existing level crossing across the railway tracks. Both sides promised to make good on their election promises. And they better do it, or else they will see the people’s wrath in future elections.

As somebody who was born and bred here, but earns a living in KL, I only hope for the better. I think the people of this town also share my views. The barber I visited did not seem to care who got the seat. He just wanted to make a decent living. With cheap goods crossing the Thai border at Rantau Panjang-Golok, he could still afford to charge me six ringgit less than my Kajang barber did. The petty trader I talked to was certain he would go to the kenduri to celebrate BN victory even though he was reluctant to say who he voted for.

Politics apart, whoever wins, I hope they will bring the much needed development to this town. It used to be Kelantan’s second biggest town in 1970s but has since been overtaken by other Kelantan other towns like Tanah Merah and Gua Musang. The town has not had a proper wet market ever since the Pasar Besar was razed down by fire in the mid-1980s. Instead its market is located in wooden buildings next to the town railway station. Perhaps due to lack of funds its cleanliness has had to take a back seat. When it rains, especially this monsoon season, the wet market really lives up to its name as shoppers hop from one stall to another trying hard to avoid the puddles. It is not very much different from Pasar Besar Kajang on a wet day!

After three days of visiting family and relatives, I had to drive back to Kajang. This time I did not have a co-driver. My brother had to go back to Shah Alam for work one day earlier than me. I had to do all the eight hours of driving on my own. Plenty of time for me to think and ponder as I went up and down the hills of southern Kelantan and Pahang. Plenty of time too to compare the development of the town of my birth with the rest of the Peninsula. Perhaps wishing for a four-lane toll free highway from Pasir Mas to Kajang is too wild a dream. But I’d like to see that some of the promises of the last by-election become a reality the next time I go back to my hometown. I hope they will make it worth my while going through the long drive.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

PAS lost but Kelantan has triumphed

Category : Politics

BN should not be overly excited with the 134 votes
majority they got to win the Pengkalan Pasir state
by-election. Kelantan Umno chief must have thick skin
to claim such a razor-thin majority as a clear
indication that the Kelantan people has lost faith in
PAS governance. If we look at it a little closely, BN
may have won the battle, but everyone knows, it
actually lost the war.

Even before the day the by-election was announced, BN
machinery, especially Umno members from around the
country have ‘moved mountains’ to ensure they win the
seat. Despite the state being under PAS rule, the
playing field was never even. The TV channels and the
mainstream print media openly campaigned for the BN

Plus the colossal federal government machineries and
the exchequer vault is wide open for Umno’s spending
spree. All the resources combined, BN was in an
overwhelmingly advantageous position as compared to
the clean, elfin and fragile PAS regime.

Every minister had something to give from their
ministries plus promises abound. Even exam results
were announced in the constituency for media coverage.
Building a university has been the standard carrot
these days. Every Umno post holders from the party,
Wanita, Pemuda and Puteri were there day and night
coaxing simple and unsuspecting village people for
their votes. There has never been an election where
the deputy prime minister himself, despite being booed
in most places he visited, stayed camped to motivate
BN election workers.

Despite reaping more benefits in the nine days of
campaigning than what their wakil rakyat would have
otherwise given them in 30 years, Pengkalan Pasir
people proved far smarter than the Umno people. For
the amount of effort and money BN put into the
constituency, getting a majority of less than one
percent is a stark shame..

For 134 votes, Kelantan people caught BN in a catch-22
situation. Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib Abdul Razak
have to keep their promises for developments, for
university, for better infrastructure, for better
living conditions and they have about two years to
deliver. If BN keeps their promise, Kelantan people
might find they don’t need BN after all. If BN fails,
they lose Kelantan again.

They know the BN sandiwara all too well. The Puteri
chief was wearing a ‘tudung’! The Umno Youth were
painting the surau. The leaders were going around
inquiring the state of health of grandmothers. The MBs
were walking barefoot in flash floods. The people of
Pengkalan Pasir know, after this, these people will
never set foot on their soil again. And they also
know, at least PAS are the honest and sincere lot.
What you see is what you get. They don’t lie or make
false promises. They know the greater part of their
present-day suffering comes from BN sabotage of
development funds to the state.

The phantom voters that PAS feared of BN supposedly
did not work for them this time. But the postal votes
and the spoilt votes was enough to secure BN victory
when such a razor-thin situation arises. Despite being
against such odds, PAS getting almost 50 percent of
the votes is a great feat. Had this been a national
election, where BN resources had to be divided among
thousands of constituencies, BN could never have
beaten PAS. Luckily enough, PAS did not fall into BN
trap when they were challenged to dissolve the state
assembly. The BN could have swept the state away.

Given the above factors, if the voting is any
indication, in a situation of a national election when
it is called, BN has no chance to take the seat or the
state away from PAS. One can bluff the village once
but the Kelantan people will not buy the same
fairytale next time around. After all, what has
Abdullah to show in the economy? In religion? In
education? In good governance?

Malaysians know how corrupted Umno and the BN
administrations are. The rot in the police,
immigration, JPJ, local governments, in the finance
ministry, the APs, etc, are so very terrible. They
also know we have the weakest PM in history whose
brother spins his fortune from the misfortune of
Malaysia Airlines. What he makes from extra long
contracts with the Army is another feat by itself.

Malaysians already know the truth. Sermons don’t make
dreams come true. What is in hand is worth two in
promises. Kelantanese really know how to exploit
Barisan Nasional. Which ever way we look at it,
Kelantan won the Pengkalan Pasir by-election. They
just did.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Raining Day...

Category: My Post-It Notes
I feel like doing nothing today..Just sit, and enjoy the cloudy, rainy day

Friday, December 02, 2005

Emily the cat flies business class back home

Emily the cat looks through the
plane window before heading to
Wisconsin from Roissy airport,
north of Paris.


PARIS (AP) — Emily the cat is heading home, in style.
Emily the cat looks through the plane window before heading to Wisconsin from Roissy airport, north of Paris. Emily the cat looks through the plane window before heading to Wisconsin from Roissy airport, north of Paris.
By Christophe Ena, AP

The wayward tabby from Wisconsin who disappeared two months ago and wound up traveling across the Atlantic to France boarded a Continental Airlines flight Thursday — in business class.

Travel conditions leaving Europe promised to be a bit more comfortable for Emily, who arrived as a stowaway in a cargo container after straying from home in Appleton, Wis.

"I don't think she'll drink champagne but I think she will be happy to rest," said Continental spokesman Philippe Fleury, at Charles de Gaulle airport to see Emily off. The airline offered to fly the cat home from Paris after her tale spread around the world and she cleared a one-month quarantine.

"This was such a marvelous story, that we wanted to add something to it," Fleury told AP Television News. A full-fare ticket for Emily's seat would normally cost about $6,000 and the airline provided a company escort for the cat.

Emily vanished from her home in late September. She apparently wandered into a nearby paper company's distribution center and crawled into a container of paper bales.

The container went by truck to Chicago and by ship to Belgium before the cat was found Oct. 24 at Raflatac, a laminating company in Nancy, France. Emily, who turned 1 year old that very day, was thin and thirsty but still alive.

Workers at Raflatac used her tags to phone her veterinarian in Wisconsin, and the vet called her owners.

Emily faced one last packed day of travel before her homecoming. She was due to arrive in Newark, N.J., later Thursday, board a connecting flight to Chicago, and then be driven home to Wisconsin, Fleury said.

Emily's escort, Newark-based Continental employee George Chiladze, said he was thrilled to be taking Emily back across the Atlantic.

"I will make somebody really happy to deliver this poor traveler back home," he said.

Feline takes long trip to France

emily & family
Originally uploaded by swisscobalt.
from Appleton's Post Crescent

APPLETON, Wis — Emily always has been an adventurous cat.

The Lesley and Donny McElhiney family got the cat last Christmas, and Emily has gone missing before, even ending up “jailed” once until the family bailed her out of the Fox Valley Humane Association.

So when she disappeared four weeks ago, the family began checking the humane association shelter every Monday, expecting the little tiger to show up.

It turns out they were looking a little too close to home. Emily showed up all right, but this time it seems she went to France. As in Nancy, France, about 175 miles east of Paris and not far from the French-German border.

As the crow flies, that's more than 4,200 miles, although Emily was shipped, not flown, across the Atlantic Ocean.

Employees at a French lamination company found her in a cargo container, checked her tags and called Emily's veterinarian at Tri-County Veterinarian Center in Kimberly. Emily's vet, John Palarski, called Monday to tell the McElhineys that Emily was safe, although a little thin and a little thirsty.

Oh, and she was in quarantine — in France.

"(She) probably had access to food and water," said Palarski. "I doubt if (she) went three weeks without it. There must have been a lot of mice on the boat.

"Even if (she) was in the cargo department, you would assume there was water down there. She had to have something."

The McElhineys are guessing that Emily ended up in the cargo container while she was prowling around a paper warehouse near their home on S. Fidelis Street near Kensington Drive.

From there, the container was shipped to the East Coast and across the ocean before it was unloaded in France and trucked to Nancy.

"She was probably hunting," Lesley McElhiney said. "She usually comes home. She's run before and we found her at the humane society."

This time Emily's return won't be so easy. The veterinarian has faxed Emily's vaccination records to France hoping to get her out of quarantine, but the McElhineys aren't quite sure how she will get home.

The friend of a co-worker is headed to Germany next week, and the family thinks that maybe the friend can bring Emily home. "The only thing we can think right now is buying a plane ticket," Lesley McElhiney said.

"She already cost us some the first time we got her from the humane society. She's getting to be an expensive little thing."

The children in the family ages 5 and 9, just want Emily home. The family has two other cats, 11-year-old Tori and 7-year-old Ringo. Tori “goes out but she doesn’t run away,” McElhiney said, and Ringo stays inside.

Emily, she said, is "an adventurer and she's a lover and she makes friends."

Palarski said Emily will need a health certificate from France to return home, and she'll have to go through quarantine again when she enters the United States.

And that's not the end of Emily's troubles. McElhiney said when the family gets Emily back, she'll be grounded.