Post-GE13: An Open Letter To Everyone

To whom it may concern.

TO THE FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENTS

Congratulations on being given the mandate to administer the state and/or country for the next 5 years or so. Regardless of the political parties and officials that will constitute the makeup of the government, please try your hardest to keep the promises made in your respective election manifestos.  Continue reading Post-GE13: An Open Letter To Everyone

R.I.P. Michael Jackson (1958 – 2009)

Michael Jackson (1958 - 2009)

It’s been almost a week since the passing of the King of Pop, and everyday we see more tributes to his musical genius and reminders of how much of an impact he’s had on pop culture.

Continue reading R.I.P. Michael Jackson (1958 – 2009)

AMBP-RACKL Project Gift A Kid

Project Gift A Kid

It’s that time of season, where merrymaking and gift exchanging (not to mention the stresses of finding the right gift in the first place) is uppermost on people’s minds.

Yet, during this time of joy and festiveness, let us not forget about the less fortunate ones among us.

Recently, as I was at a cineplex in PJ, waiting to go in to the movie theatre, I caught sight of a booth near the cineplex entrance. It was a UNICEF stand. I wandered over to find out more details about what they were doing there, and long story short, I decided to become a regular donor to their cause.

Unite For Children. Unite Against AIDS.

Some people hearing this would think, “well, he must have been suckered into it”. I didn’t. I wanted to contribute to their cause. Despite the economic slowdown, I’m aware that I still have it better than a lot of poor, impoverished people around the world, especially innocent children. I still remember clearly the sight of bedraggled, dirty little kids wandering around the streets of Delhi in India, begging for a little change, something to eat, a little bit of attention, please.

It’s a hard, difficult thing to experience, and it’s made all the more uncomfortable – and unforgiving – when you’re in an air-conditioned car looking out into the harsh, polluted, sun-drenched landscape, to which these kids are exposed every hour of every day.

Which is why I did not hesitate to part with a portion of my take-home income towards helping these children in need, through a reputable organisation such as UNICEF. Hey, it’s also tax-deductible, so really, what reason do I have NOT to help? Like a good friend told me, “it’s better that your money goes towards charity than to the taxman”.

Anyway, if you’re keen on lending some support for another good cause, the AllMalaysian Bloggers Project (AMBP) are calling out to bloggers to help with a project set up by the Rotaract Club of Kuala Lumpur (RACKL) called PROJECT GIFT A KID.

RACKL aims to sponsor 100 underprivileged kids’ aged between 6 – 15 years old back-to-school educational needs (books, stationery, uniforms etc) for the school term 2009. The kids who will benefit from this are:

  • Children of Rumah WAKE 1 (a home for HIV+ children and their affected siblings under the Pertubuhan Wanita dan Kesihatan Kuala Lumpur)
  • Underprivileged schoolchildren from SRJK(T) Cheras (many of the children come from the surrounding low-cost flats and squatter areas and most cannot afford school uniforms let alone school fees)

How can you help? Well, you can:

Sponsor A Child

  • You can choose to sponsor a kid from as little as RM10 to the full pack of RM150. A small step from you goes a long way in empowering these kids’ futures.
  • Let your family, friends and colleagues know about this project and encourage them to sponsor a kid. Alternatively, you could pool your resources together too!
  • This season of giving, why not sponsor a kid on behalf of your loved one (sure beats having to think of a material gift!). We’ll give you a gift card which comes nicely packed with an inspirational quote and ribbon that you can pass to them. That way you’re giving two people a gift at once!

– From the RACKL info page

To sponsor a child, you’ll need to fill out a Sponsorship Form and send it either to RACKL or AMBP (c/o Star Publications). You can get the Sponsorship Form and details on how to go about sponsoring a child from the AMBP Project Gift A Kid page.

Blog About It!

Hey, it’s what you do, so why not wield that mighty pen (or keyboard, as the case may be) and lend your voice towards promoting a noble endeavour. Get more information on PROJECT GIFT A KID at AMBP or from RACKL.

In case you need more incentives, United International Pictures (UIP) has agreed to sponsor a number of movie tickets; your one blog post will send one of these kids to the movies!

And if you really REALLY need more motivation, you can participate in the AMBP-UIP Caption Contest. Just caption a picture from the movies (either Wild Child, or Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging) and you could win yourself some goodies courtesy of UIP and EMI.

Example like so:

Angus
Ommm.. oh dear, suddenly I feel a hankering for curry, sarees, and dancing the ancient art of bharatanatyam! Yoga, thou art teh evil!

Yeah, I know, not exactly prize-winning material, but I’ll bet you can do better. 😉

To ensure that your blog post is counted, don’t forget to post your link as a comment at the AMBP Editor’s Post: Help us help a kid go back to school.

Ok, c’mon, after all that, and if you still can’t be arsed to do even the slightest bit to help out here, well, be sure to say hi for me to the Devil when you see him in hell, won’t you?

I rd d post n now hv hdache oredi.

I wish people who post in forums would stop using SMS-speak (for lack of a better term) when writing their posts. SMS-speak came about as a necessary evil, a means to work around the character limitations of many older mobile phones’ SMS and text messaging features.

But such limitations don’t exist for posting in forums. So why do they insist on doing it anyway? Are they just plain lazy? Do they not know how to spell?

I’m not even saying that they should stick to proper English, or have proper grammar (though it would be nice). I make mistakes with my grammar all the time, so who am I to judge? But at least when you write clearly with correctly-spelled words, it becomes easier to understand, and a pleasure to read. Even if you use slang, having them written in its full forms rather than in abbreviated SMS-speak makes it easier to identify as slang, and therefore understandable.

A lot of first-time visitors to a forum would pay attention to such posts, while conversely be repelled by posts laden with SMS-speak. Which means that if you had some valuable information in your posts, they might not reach a certain cross-section of people for whom that information may be of great use.

It’s just so frustrating when you go into a popular forum like Lowyat.NET to read up on something that you consider to be important to you, and you have to spend half the time trying to decipher what the words are before you can even begin to understand them. (Note: Not all Lowyat.NET posters write like that. Some long-timers especially write great posts.)

Maybe this is just me showing my age, but dammit, sometimes clear communication is just a matter of common sense.

So please, if you’re a regular poster on forums, I urge that you write your postings in a clear manner, without using abbreviated SMS-speak, and you and I will get along just fine.

Thank you.

Facebook is killing this blog

Just a year ago, it would not have happened this way.

But let me start at the beginning.

A friend sent me a link to a Youtube video. It’s a tribute to the great Formula 1 ace, the late Ayrton Senna.

I like the video. It’s a moving tribute, lovingly created to honour one of sport’s greatest heroes. I’m especially impressed by the scenes where Senna pulls his car over in the middle of a race and gets out to assist a driver who had just crashed. How many drivers would do such a thing these days?

As a driver, he’s amazing, but as a human being, he’s even more so.

From Wikipedia:

Senna reportedly donated the bulk of his fortune to create the “Ayrton Senna Foundation”, with the aim of helping poor and needy young people in Brazil and around the world.

[…]

After Senna’s death it was discovered that he had donated millions of dollars of his personal fortune (estimated at $400 million at the time of his death) to children’s charities, a fact that during his life he had kept secret. His foundation in Brazil, Instituto Ayrton Senna, has invested nearly US$80 million over the last twelve years in social programs and actions in partnership with schools, government, NGOs, and the private sector aimed at offering children and teenagers from low-income backgrounds the skills and opportunities they need to develop to their full potential as persons, citizens and future professionals.

After watching the video, and reading the Wikipedia article about him as well as his tragic death, I decide to share it with friends and others.

A year ago, I would have immediately done what I’m doing now – I’d have blogged about it.

Instead, what I did was to log on to Facebook, posted the link with a brief comment of my own appended to it. I didn’t even think about blogging it.

This is not the first time I’ve chosen to use Facebook (FB) instead of my blog to publicly communicate my thoughts. With the myriad tools available on FB to share content and opinions, it’s a lot easier and faster to get my voice out there.

When once I would be logging into my blog to see how many hits I’ve gotten, or how many new comments have been posted, nowadays I’m logging into FB to see what my contacts are up to (based on their status messages), or who has challenged me to yet another game of Word Twist, or who has sent me FB mail, who has superpoked me, etc.

It’s crazy. It’s stupid. It’s laughably inane (superpoking?!). It’s also addictively fun.

When I started Facebooking (you know something has reached a special level of popularity when it’s name becomes a verb) not that long ago, like most newbies I’d be adding new applications and inviting others to do the same. Basically, I’d be spamming them.

Now that I’ve realised what annoyances these constant “invites” can be, I’ve stopped doing so. (If anyone continues to get invites from me to install an app on their profile, it’s not me, it must be the app itself. Please ignore it.)

As a communication tool, FB has surpassed this blog’s usefulness to the extent that this is the first time I’ve logged into sashi-isms in weeks.

Not only that, I find it a chore to crawl through the many hundreds of blogs that I’ve saved in my RSS feed reader. This weekend, I resolve to finally bring a hatchet to that giant list of RSS feeds, and hack out a majority of the blogs.

Back to this blog – what will become of it? I’m not going to just quit and delete everything. But don’t hold your breath expecting me to constantly update this blog either.

Maybe such a time will come when I find sufficient inspiration to become a regular blogger again. All I need is a muse…..

But for now, I’ll be over at FB, silently communicating with the masses.

“Sashi is logging off sashi-isms.”

Bloggitos

Don’t ask me what the title means. Consider it a filler title, just as the rest of this is filler material too.

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
Really fun movie, continues much of the great story and characterisations from the first movie. Why Guillermo del Toro is not considered quite the world famous director in league with Spielberg is beyond me. Hopefully The Hobbit will finally do for him what LOTR did for Peter Jackson. Fantastic effects, brilliant action, wonderfully natural down-to-earth performances by the cast (which is hard to do in a fantasy movie), and even villains for whom you might even want to root.
Verdict: 4.0

The Live Debate: Shabery vs Anwar
It’s the historic moment we’re all waiting for. To be telecast live on TV9, Bernama TV and Astro AWANI, starting at 9pm. Hopefully, nothing silly’s gonna happen before then, like maybe arrests of prominent people and all?

Also credit should given where it’s due. Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said this:

Ahmad Shabery said the debate had to be aired live so that the public would not have the perception that it was being doctored before going on air.

“The debate is to have a clear picture of the government’s decisions and policies as well as to correct public perception on the matter,” he said.

They could have shown a delayed telecast of it, or indeed, not shown it at all. But it’s gonna be live, and I appreciate the Information Minister’s determination to push this through. Hopefully, all your future decisions will help open up this country’s much stifled and often silenced communication channels.

Much Ado About Nothing
All that traffic jams, and disgruntled people coming to work late, and all for what? A perceived threat? A vague idea of hostile demonstrations that didn’t take place? Where’s the so-called evidence, Mr Home Minister? If you have it, show it! I’m starting to get really annoyed at all these posturing from politicians from both sides of the divide who keep talking about having explosive evidence of major wrongdoing and what-nots committed by this Datuk and that Tan Sri. If you have it, show it!

Trust and Credibility
On that same vein, I’ve now come to accept that no politician can be trusted. Even the much hyped DSAI. I know lots of his supporters would lynch me for this, but a lot of the events of recent weeks tend to be so ridiculous and overblown that it’s difficult to believe everything all these politicians are saying. Not DSAI, not Najib, not Pak Lah. Nobody. From now, I care not one iota for what you say, only in what you do. (Which would make me watching the debate a bit hypocritical, but the point of the debate – for me – is not in hearing what these people are saying, but rather allowing these people’s sayings to be heard).

Gandhi-isms
At times like this, one can only hope a figure like Gandhi would once again walk upon this Earth. No aggressive posturing. No lies or double-speak. Straight-up honesty from the get go. Peaceful, non-violent disobedience. And above all, an outpouring of love for everyone, whether friend of foe. A person like that, everyone will follow.

Biggest Regrets and House of Cards
Just 2 cool videos I found via Boing Boing. The first is Radiohead’s House of Cards video.

The other is this interesting video about regrets. Nice.

On The Allegations Against Anwar

When I saw the front page of today’s Star newspaper, my first thought was, “Not again!”

My second thought was, “Is this gonna be 1998 all over again?”

My third thought was, “Poor Ong Ka Ting – his big news ends up playing second fiddle to the Anwar story. Can’t the MCA get a break?”

Yup, any other day, the news that MCA’s boss is stepping down would have received significant media coverage in all media pages and screens, be it mainstream or multimedia.

Not today, though.

So, as things stand, Anwar is currently the guest of the Turkish Ambassador for his own safety (whether real or perceived, but who wants to take the risk that the threats are fake?), the Prime Minister has stated that the government has nothing to do with the allegations (sorry, chief, but given the govt’s credibility, it’s gonna be hard for people to swallow that one), the kid who made the allegations (he’s younger than me, which makes him a kid 😛 ) has been named and shamed all over the net, and everyone’s buzzing with conspiracy theories (I even heard one that went that this whole thing was orchestrated by PKR themselves. Sheesh.)

Do I believe this allegation? Hell, no. I didn’t believe it the first time around either.

But that’s kinda the funny thing, ain’t it? Why on Earth would anyone trot out such a lame attempt to discredit Anwar? The BN, despite their many goof-ups, are not that stupid lah. So it makes no sense for them to pull this dead stinking rabbit out of their worn-out hat.

Here’s one theory I read that piqued my curiosity. Could this stuff have been drummed up in haste without proper planning and without consultation with people who’d have at least half an IQ point?

Could it have been cooked up by a “musang berbulu ayam“, a young man who, having failed in academia, tried, and failed, to serve his political masters, and when caught with his pants down (figuratively, at least), tried to save himself and his mission with a last ditch, but throroughly hamfisted, effort to discredit Anwar?

Ah, conspiracy theories – the Yanks certainly do not have a monopoly on them.

In the meantime, I can only pass on the advice that is being passed on by everyone to everyone else – Stay Calm.

Don’t take to the streets. Even an orderly demonstration can be turned into anarchy, thanks to a few twists of the screw made by certain people in power. And then what do you get? A suspension of the political process, a dictatorship taking over to “steer this country through this troubled times”.

Let’s sit and wait. I trust the people we have elected to Parliament to do what is right (I’m referring to the Pakatan reps, of course), and to handle the situation properly.

And if you’re the sort to believe in God, then perhaps a prayer might come in handy. Not just for Anwar and his family (and perhaps for that 23-year-old kid as well), but for this nation too.