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RANDTS will last a thousand years.

- Albert

Me, Myself and RANDTS

RANDTS is dead!
Or dying,
and so near death it no longer makes a difference.

My point? I am going to make like a dirty ol' sailor an' yell to the cap'n...


But before i depart some apologies are in order...

Shine; sorry for dragging you into this in the first place. Hey at least you got to make fun of me to ppl you don't even know. :P

Albert; yea i know you intro-ed me to this place but heck it is getting boring.

Lastly Henry; I see you trying bro. I really do. And you are the better man for making this limp on as long as it will. It was indeed a pleasure my friend. Both to get to know you and write along side you.

Now that thats out of the way...

To Jared, Joe, HuiWen and all the other (ex)RANDTSters;
Jared; my fellow Poet and Sophist, and need i mention the Mr. Burns? but seriously and ~EeeExcelent~ individual.
friendly average Joe (who's a damn nice guy btw!), who i wish i got a chance to know better. ;)
and of cos
the lovely HuiWen; the only one of us who's artistry is unique to say the least and always an eye opener.
Dudes n dudettes; wish this turned out differently. See you around. It was tremendous fun.
Drop by my blog once in a while if you desire time wasting fiction. :P


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This isn't a real post but hell i doubt anyones gonna complain.
So lemme just get down to it.

Merry Christmas ya'll! N a Happy Hanukkah!
And remember kids it might be Jesus's Birthday n all but its ol' santa who does all the work this time o' year. So leave out them Cookies n Milk will ya! ;P
Owh n btw. Check out what o'l Santa's been up to since last holidays...


P.S. Does anybody have a Heavy Metal version of Jingle Bells? xD!

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Back then, SPM students with excellent results were allowed to bypass the STPM system to pursue tertiary studies straightaway after they obtain their SPM results. Later on, the Ministry of (Higher) Education issued a statement saying that SPM students are not eligible to apply for public universities and must sit for the STPM examination for the Pre-University level. And now, according to this article from The Star, the ministry once again permits students who have sat for the SPM examination this year to apply for places in public universities for the 2008/2009 session.

Little did they know that people who can do well in examinations may not have high IQ and that people with high IQ may not be able to do well in examinations.

To me, this seems to imply one thing, that the standard of the SPM examinations I sat for in 2005 was supposedly lower than that for this year. Therefore, because we are not well armed with the knowledge required before going to universities, we have to either sit for the A Levels examination (if you plan on going to private universities), the Matriculation, Foundation studies, AusMAT, Canadian Pre-U, or the infamous Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia.

However, looks like that wouldn't be necessary anymore for SPM students now. Starting November this year, students who have sat for the SPM examinations can now apply for university entry. Although they did not state specifically whether these students would be first taken into the university to do any foundation studies or just absorbed immediately as undergraduates, as far as I am concerned, there are no universities that are offering foundation studies yet. If there are, I wonder why didn't the ministry tell us so, instead of us having to do STPM examinations. Logical, isn't it? Correct me if I am wrong.

Most of us have already gone through the SPM process, and upon doing our Pre-University studies, we would have found how much lacking our knowledge is so much so that we know the reason why we were not allowed to directly apply into universities as undergraduates. The issue now is: Since we know that the SPM syllabus is simply insufficient for students to directly apply for undergraduate studies in public universities, based on what grounds does the ministry now permit SPM students this year to apply for public universities purely based on their SPM results?

Are they going to, once again, say that selection of students from the SPM level into universities will be based on the results they obtain, and that only the creme de la creme would be chosen. It certainly shortens time a lot for students, having to skip the two years in STPM, but this is like a repetition of the PTS case. Back in those days when PTS examinations were still around, we saw some of our friends skipping Standard 4 into Standard 5 because they supposedly have higher IQ compared to us, and therefore could cope even without having to go through Standard 4.

That's true to some extent. Little did they know that people who can do well in examinations may not have high IQ and that people with high IQ may not be able to do well in examinations. Perhaps they had not heard of savants back then. Hey, no offense to those who have succeeded in the PTS examination, but my point is just that a great number of those who skipped Standard 4 have also flopped in their examinations later on. Many who were regarded as potential genius in Standard 3 could not secure a straight A1 streak in their SPM examinations. Nevertheless, I must also add that getting straight A1's in the SPM examinations does not even necessarily reflect our intelligence nowadays.

So, now we have a similar situation where students who could score excellent results in the SPM examination would stand a chance to further their studies immediately in public universities. It saves money for parents to bring their children to pursue their tertiary education as public universities are far cheaper, and it saves time because they would not need to undergo STPM studies.

However, is that a good move? Many students who have gone through Matriculation and STPM studies eventually flop while pursuing tertiary education, too. Is it not too big a risk for SPM students to pursue undergraduate studies immediately? If they want to pursue any course in biology (medicine, genetics, biochemistry), what would they know about taxonomy (from kingdom to species), detailed anatomy and so on? If they want to pursue any course in physics (engineering, automotive), what would they know about statics, mechanics, kinematics, etc.? If they want to pursue any course in information technology (computer science, business), what do they know about programming, network analysis, problem solving, etc.? If they want to deal with language, what do they know about didactics, semantics, etc.? Virtually nothing.

Being Malaysians in a competitive era, we seem to favour short-cuts. We want to be over with studying. We want to venture into the working world as soon as possible. We want to start earning our first big bucks. STPM examinations seem to be for losers only. It is that kind of mentality that sometimes poison and eventually kill our minds, giving us the unnecessary distress that we could have avoided simply by being more patient.

Have I regretted doing my Foundation studies in UTP? Certainly not. I was offered the ASEAN Pre-U Scholarship too but I rejected it, knowing somehow that I would get the better offer from Petronas. But if Petronas had not offered me the sponsorship and I had rejected the ASEAN Scholarship offer from Singapore; and also assuming that I had applied for other scholarships but failed to secure one, would I go for STPM? Yes, and without any resentment. I wouldn't even consider doing A Level studies on my own. That's flat.

[


FINALLY! Something worthwhile from TM (formerly TMNut)

Some of you may have seen the advertisements for this service on MSN or maybe the news. It's basically a service where you pay a fixed amount of money every month, and you get to play all those PC games that they offer without a limit.

It's basically the same as the GameTap service offered here in the States.

I just recently checked out the games that JumboPlay offer and the only games I see worth playing there are Hitman Blood Money and the Prince of Persia series. Hopefully they will expand the list for new games soon (*cough Call of Duty 4 *cough).

Personally, if I were in Malaysia, I would subscribe to it cause I think the price is relatively reasonable by Malaysian standards, and any effort made to bring original games more accessible to third world nations is always a plus in my book.

Hopefully the download speed is reasonable. Shouldn't be a problem if the server is in Malaysia.

Conclusion: Be a proper gamer and support the game industry! Say bye to RM15 pirated games with no online features!

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I was tagged by Henry who was tagged by Jared who was tagged by Jasmine.
So here goes... BANZAI!

(FYI the numbering is in romanised Punjabi. Enjoy!)

Ek. I am NOT gay...
Or bisexual or a fetishist. Neither am i an Eunuch or a Transvestite or under any other sexual subgroup. I am merely a well endowed heterosexual man who likes women in the way most men like women (no i am not being sexist either). Sorry to disappoint those who i might have disappointed, disappointingly. Especially you Shiny-O. >;P

Dho. I hate to hate.
But i love to love. No i do not love to hate. But i do hate those that hate to love. Simple no? Yea well, we Bhais are simple folk after all. (Hater Hurter) =D

Teen. I wish i could be a Scholar, a very rich scholar.
I like languages. I like Poetry. I like literature. I like to read and write. I would love to sit around in my Hugh Hefner Bathrobe in a giant wingback chair smokin pot, drinking Bailey's/Brandy/Tea/(insert cliche English beverage here) while reading some 13th century leather bound book. So yes a scholar then... ^-^

Char. I hate religion.
Don't get me wrong though. Its not God who i have a problem with (although i would like to give him the proverbial Bhai sized knuckle sandwich someday). Its the somewhat less divine race of men who i have a problem with. Why? Because we all preach unity and then turn about and segregate ourselves in His name. <- The Original Blasphemy. _|_ -_- \m/

Panj. Trust me, I am a liar.
I absolutely adore conventional wisdom. Why? Because it makes me sound smart/deep/wtvr. and because it does bring some semblance of simplicity in this complicated world. Owh n btw... at least I'm an honest liar. ;P

Chee. I am NOT brave.
Yes Shine i still recall you complimenting the size of my testicles. Why? Because Bravery is the will to act against your fear. I know not fear, and so cannot be brave. And even if i do have a fear, i do not know it. :)

Satt. I will be a doctor. (<- Hope)
Why? Because i wanna be RICH! And i wanna siphon the sick of their MONEY! Muahahahaha!...
But seriously, i have always been intrigued by the role of the medic/priest/healer/(insert fantasy restore class character of your choice here). I want to heal the world. And i want to do it one person at a time. () :D

Atth. I hate to tag ppl.
So i shall not. If any of you desire to share your eight random facts please do so and notify me. I am curious myself. (actually i just ran out of things to say but wtvr rite?) :P

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Silent figures in the night
Walk in shadows, out of sight;
You can't see us but we're there,
Watching you from everywhere.

We crawl on ceilings and on walls
While always seeking empty halls,
Seeking, tracking, looking out;
Treasure's always somewhere about.

We'll always find a trace or two
And get to doing what we always do:
Taking time to find your place
To profit from your graceless haste.

And voila! here is your door,
Behind which lies what we're looking for;
A trinket, perhaps? Something new!
Of some things one can't have too few.

This post is dedicated to thieves around the world. May you be forever cursed by a thousand misfortunes for every item that isn't yours.

A lock in place? Oh dear, oh dear.
But from it we have naught to fear:
A swish, a crick, a gentle tug,
Oh this lock's less trouble than a small bug!

The gateway yields, oh what a shame!
There is no lock that'll keep us lame-
So, in we come while you're away;
The 'mice' are here to sing and play!

Wallets, watches, coins and bills,
Dollars, cents - oh, the thrill!
Laptops, iPods, books and mags,
Even your own stash of fags!

When you get back, you'll feel bereft
'Cos everything's gone and nothing's left;
We cleaned up well without a broom:
It's just as if we owned your room!

You'll never find us how much you try
Not even when you break down and cry;
We have no soul nor sympathy,
Only greed and lust and apathy.

Silent figures in the night
Walk in shadows, out of sight;
Our itchy hands will take away
Your favorite stuff and ruin your day!

[


Ladies and gentlemen, if you are a non-Muslim, do you have anything against the dome and the crescent moon found on mosques? If you are a non-Christian, do you have anything against the cross? If you are a non-Buddhist, do you have anything against the pagoda? If you are a non-Hindu, do you have anything against the statues, each representing every deity available in the Hindu religion?

We need to look back at why we need MPs for. Are they there in Parliament to discuss such irrelevant and sensitive issues? Have the MPs no sense for moderation of speech? While they are in need of wisdom, where has it gone?

If you answer yes to any of the questions above, then you do not belong to this country. Obviously, this country is not suitable for you, because you cannot even respect the traditions, culture and the theology of the various religions in the world. Also, you would believe that your own religion is the only correct religion in the world. People who think like this are the ones who will bring about social turmoil and unrest.

So, what has all this got to do with our Members of Parliament (MP)? Well, personally, I have nothing against them. It's just that sometimes it is indeed appalling to see how some of our representatives could not suppress their tongues from making foolish, baseless statements. It makes you think, "Have we chosen a wrong MP?"

On the 29th of October 2007, the Dewan Rakyat had its usual parliamentary meeting which started around 10.00 or 11.00 a.m. and ended at about half past eight at night. I managed to get a copy of the hansard which can be downloaded from I read most of the content (it was 147 pages long) and this one particular page got me interested. The following picture is a facsimile of one of the pages of the hansard:

Referring to the extract of the hansard above, you will see that there is this MP for Parit Sulong making an interesting statement. For those who do not know Malay, I shall tell you the gist of the extract. The MP for Parit Sulong made the following claims or allegations:

  1. Missionary schools such as Convent, La Salle and Methodist schools have Board of Governors that are partially administered by the Vatican City.
  2. The permission of the Board of Governors, in which part of it is controlled by the church, must be obtained first before a surau is permitted to be built within the premise of the school.
  3. Muslim parents who send their children to missionary schools complain because school sessions begin with the singing of church hymns (or church songs).
  4. Religious symbols are seen within the compound of the school and the MP for Parit Sulong feels disappointed to see the statue of the Virgin Mary right in front of the school should he be visiting, say, a Convent school.

The MP for Parit Sulong was then interrupted by the MP for Sri Gading, who stood up and said that a father informed the former that such missionary schools did not close during Hari Raya Aidilfitri. He then sat down, in which the MP for Parit Sulong continued to make the following statements:

  1. Not only are statues seen within the premise of the school, but crosses are often found as well. What the MP for Parit Sulong could not comprehend was whether the Education Ministry officials failed to see them or is it that allowing such statues or crosses displayed is within the base of the Constitution.
  2. Seeing it as his responsibility to himself, his religion, his race as well as his country, he proposed that the statues be demolished, the crosses destroyed and the church influence be stopped.

So much for his "factual" speech. Let me now correct all the above statements that the MP for Parit Sulong made and state them as facts:

  1. The missionary schools do have a Board of Governors, but they are NEVER governed by the Vatican City. Why would the Vatican City be interested with schools that are built here in Malaysia? Would it bring any economic growth to the Vatican City? For all you know, it will be a headache to them. So why, would they bother?
  2. No missionary school is unequipped with the surau. Permission to build a surau need not be obtained from the Board of Governors. It is just that perhaps relocating the surau from one section of the school to another section may not be approved so easily due to the lack of floor space available in the school. Face the fact, not all schools have plenty of space to waste. No school in Malaysia has a prayer room for non-Muslims AND non-Christians. So if you have one within the school premise, be contented about it and shut up (unless there are other reasons that would expedite immediate relocating of the prayer room). If you don't, then request for one.
  3. Never in my eleven years of study life in St. Michael's Institution (a La Sallian school) had I sung any church hymns or church songs. Complaints stating that church hymns are sung are simply a complete farce. If the singing of hymns did take place, why is it that the mass media never covered such stories, and that the Education Ministry never reported such cases? Also, why is it that other missionary schools never receive any directives regarding that matter? We would have been informed about it, would we not? By the way, while having our weekly prayers during assembly, we have a Muslim prayer followed by a non-Muslim prayer. See for yourselves how such schools actually respect and care for every religion and culture. The least you could do is show some respect to these schools and not just blurt out any baseless arguments in the Parliament.
  4. Not all symbols or statues are religious ones. The Paterfamilias statue standing at the foyer of St. Michael's Institution is not for a religious purpose. It represents a teacher imparting knowledge to a student. It also represents the commitment and the dedication that academicians in SMI would portray. Even if some of the structures, such as the cross, are religious symbols, does it kill you to look at them even if you are not a Christian? Also, why is it that you cannot enjoy and appreciate the diversity of culture and tradition that we have in architecture? Such structures are rare and some of them have even been sanctioned by the state governments as valuable historical sites. What the MP for Parit Sulong proposed was to eliminate such history! This is atrocity at its worst!
  5. The Education Ministry has nothing against the cross and the statues displayed in the compound of missionary schools. They have the wisdom in knowing that such tradition and display is rare and bear a meaningful beginning or legacy of the school. Thus, they should be left alone. If the Education Ministry does not even have anything against those structures, why should the MP for Parit Sulong even bother in the first place?
  6. His proposing to have the statues demolished and crosses destroyed is outrageous. Assume that a school is built with all the Islamic features available in a non-Islamic country. Now, here is then an MP who proposes that the dome be removed and replaced by a flat roof and the crescent moon be replaced by the symbol of a lion. I wonder how will the MP for Parit Sulong feel? If he is angered, what about the Christians who have now heard of his proposal to have the crosses and statues removed?

Ladies and gentlemen, did you know that many of our politicians, royalty and great personalities hailed from such missionary schools? I will name some: YAB Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia), His Highness Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah (the Raja Muda of Perak), YAB Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik (Minister for Energy, Water and Communications), YAB Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (former MP), Mr. Koo Kien Keat (Badminton champion), Mr. Ralph Marshall (CEO of Astro), Ahmad Farid Ridzuan (CEO of TV3) and many more! Why is it that the MP for Parit Sulong never bothered to inquire from the people available in the politicians sphere in which many came from missionary schools as well?

We need to look back at why we need MPs for. Are they there in Parliament to discuss such irrelevant and sensitive issues? Have the MPs no sense for moderation of speech? While they are in need of wisdom, where has it gone?

Members of Parliament have been chosen and elected by the people to represent them for various constituencies. They are there to see that our welfare and the economic needs are met. They are to report to the government whatever dissatisfaction that have occurred. The MPs are also responsible to help resolve certain dilemmas that are happening in their constituencies. We don't need MPs who can talk a lot of nonsense, we need MPs who can speak up for the people's rights and walk the talk!

The fact that they have been elected by the people as their representatives mean that the people put a certain amount of trust in them to lead them. However, from what we can see from the hansard, it's clearly a misuse of trust. We have elected MPs who go to the Parliament to invoke racial and religious sentiments and are so desensitised to the fact that people are hurt by such remarks. Do we need such people in the Dewan Rakyat? Clearly, ladies and gentlemen, we should vote them OFF from the Parliament. Why should we have such people wasting everybody's time with absurd, baseless, appalling remarks? It's time we get to see a show of maturity within the august House.

Our MPs really need to think first before they say anything in the august House. If they have nothing to say, it is far better that they just don't attempt to find a convenient (yet offensive) topic to speak about and just shut up. Nobody is going to penalise them for just keeping their tongue still. It is far better to keep quiet, rather than to let the tongue damage one's reputation. Better be led by wisdom rather than be led by the heart.

Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, my most important advice is THINK!

[


Or if you prefer to call it,

Shine's Horny Observation Of Running Girls

I have been wanting to post this for a while, since Jaspreet dared me, but I did not really want to, until now.

Why? Cause I feel like it.

Anyways, I was supposed to be studying Econs at that time, but as usual, my head wanders.

Why? Cause of this one picture of a girl running in the textbook.
And as usual,

Big tit, white girl + my mind = sex

So yeap, as usual, today’s rant job is primarily on sex.
But sex is a major topic, and I really don’t wanna share opinions regarding different types of sex, or sex in general.

So, to narrow down, I am gonna talk about the picture alone.
So yea, the topic is,

The Analysis Of The Female Running Form

Based on observations during sports practice back in high school, movies, escaping victims of rape, bla bla, I have come to train myself to observe the different ways in which a girl run.

Guys are definitely less worth noting, cause they are divided into three very obvious groups:
a) They run like guys
b) They run like girls
c) They run like Jaspreet (remember the angel hop, people? E-mail me for more info)

Lets start with the way that girls like the one I saw in the picture run. For easy categorization, I shall label this form as

The Flip-Flop

The reason why I call this style The Flip-Flop is because of the motion of their breasts, which I shall illustrate later.

You normally see this when girls go jogging, and much more noticeably, when they have an iPod dangling on their arms.

Regarding the posture of the run, the way to distinguish this way of running from the others which I am gonna talk about is the oscillation of the tits.

Observe the following diagram. Try to imagine the girl actually running.

As depicted by the arrows, we can clearly see that one breast always go in the opposite direction of the other. And as such, its pretty obvious that this motion is balanced, as we have momentum both upwards and downwards due to the chest, and hence, this is a very common, and intuitive way in which girls run when they are jogging, as it maintains a proper posture.

But this method of running is also VERY risky, as the constant opposing motion of breasts may be a cause of dislocation from the bra. Hence, it is highly advisable that while running like this, thy shalt not wear push up bras. Wear, simple tight ones (unless you want to make me happy).

Or just wear those ugly rubbery aerobic shirts.


The Pretzel aka The Infinite Loop

This style of running is most commonly seen in movies where the girl actually run for real. It is also the method of running commonly applied when a girl is running away from a rapist (eg. the scene in that softcore porn movie with Vivian Hsu in it, running away from some asshole who dry humped her) or when they are running away from Jasp... nothing.

Regarding the distinction of it compared to the others, observe the following picture.

First and foremost, notice that the picture seems as if the girl is jogging. But don't you notice how un-natural it is?
That's because she is running using The Pretzel aka The Infinite Loop.

Why do I name them so?
Obviously, from the oscillation of the tits.

Imagine the girl running, again.
Notice that the center of the chest of the girl will move in the motion described by the black arrow.
Effectively, the entire set of jugs (the blue circle) will then move accordingly to suit the motion, which is shaped like a pretzel, OR the infinite symbol, hence the name.

I have considered the probability that the motion may not be like a pretzel, but more of like side to side, like your eyes when you shake your head, but then I realize that THAT is a different category, which I shall describe later.

Now, now, I sense that people may argue with me regarding the similarities between The Flip-Flop and The Pretzel, but to prove my point, notice the positions of the hands in both the pictures above.

Realize that the angle of which the forearm makes with the horizontal plane is different, in which The Flip-Flop is obviously higher than The Pretzel. This IS significant, as the movements of the arms is, in a way, related to the motion of the tits. I know nothing about the muscles in the chest, but there is a reason why their tits AND arms move differently.

Now, onto the next one,

The Manual Transmission

This is a very very unique form of running, as the only instances which I have observed them to happen was in high school, during sports practice when the girls sprint the 100m thingy.

And as such, I apologize that I have no picture of them, unless someone can send me a video of sports practice. But fear not, as I have a replacement picture.

The motion for this one is considerably difficult to describe. But imagine the girl above running, and the center of her tits move in the motion from point 1 to 4, then from 3 to 2, then repeat.

Yeap, you guessed it, like a gear stick in a manual car, hence, The Manual Transmission.

NO! It is NOT oscillating like The Pretzel nor The Flip-Flop!

The motions are quite jagged and not as graceful. It seems as if their tits are gonna jump out of their orbits pretty soon and fly across the field.

Another feature of this form of running is that the hands of the people tends to move parallel to each other, like swatting flies with both hands to the side of the other end (???)

As I said, this is hard to describe, they need to be seen to be appreciated (repeat: appreciated, the female form is an art).

Another not-so obvious feature is that their hair tends to swing like the image as well.
For the previous motions, the hair either moves up and down, or gracefully swing from side to side.

For The Manual Transmission, it looks like a broom. Literally. Like the picture.

This form of running is very common among 'little' girls. No, not that they don't have tits, its more like they are running like kids.

And finally, one of the MOST common in Malaysia, is

The Hormonally Deficit

Yeap. The hormonally deficit. This is pretty easy to describe. Observe the following picture.

For this motion, the girl runs like a guy. Hence, The Hormonally Deficit.

You may be surprised as to why I did not name it based on the motion of the oh-so-godly tits.


They don't have any.
They lack the hormones.
The Hormonally Deficit.

Girls who run like this have their breasts (or whatever that's left in between their arms) moving left and right. Like a guy.

I feel a very bad aftertaste in my mouth describing this right now. Its like explaining how an 8 year old boy runs.

Girls who normally run like this are either motherfucking thin, or girls who are actually in running competitions. Or girls who are hormonally deficit.

There, that's about it. If anyone care to remind me of ones I missed, or if there are any arguments, please do reply. But of course, I expect diagrammatic and constructive proof. Go ahead and burn me, bra-tearing feminists.

The images are copied and pasted from Google images, and modified with Microsoft Paint.

I can't take 8 megapixel pictures and use Photoshop for nuts.

[


I wonder whose fault it is or could she have willingly done it?

One thing about the elders, they never seem to get enough care especially when their children are busy working. That is how most old people end up in the old folks home or so. I took this picture when I was paying a visit to my brother.

She collects boxes left by the supermarket and my guess is that she sells it to earn a living. As much as I wish that I could help her, I couldn't. This gives me a really sad feeling. They could have lead a better life. Did she have to do this? What about her children? I just feel that this is not fair, not only to this lady but to other old people who suffer the same fate. We might not read them in the newspapers but this doesn't mean it isn't happening.

(Sorry guys, I got a little emo...)

[


As dirty as it may sound, you're not even close to guessing what I'm talking about...

What do we do in cars?

  • We read magazines while we wait for someone
  • We listen to the radio and perhaps call when there is a cue to call
  • We probably SMS our friends
  • We probably look out and enjoy the beautiful view
  • or, we just sleep (which is what I do most of the time)

But, today, something unexpected for me happened. A man was changing his clothes while driving. I didn't mean to look at it but heck, I was initially appreciating the scenery of the city at night. And right before me was a man who took off his shirt and quickly changed to another white one (while driving!) He obviously didn't wear his safety belt.

Think about how dangerous it is. He could have bang someone's car or hit a pedestrian who hurriedly crosses the road. Oh well, I hope there won't be more of these.

Was he in that much of a hurry to go visit someone that he had to change his clothes in the car?? Hmm, I wonder...

[


This is Muhammad the teddy bear.

Apparently naming a teddy bear Muhammad will get you arrested in Sudan according to this article.

~multum in parvo~

[


A Comic

This picture made me laugh and cry at the same time. Maybe it's just something I can relate to. If you do not understand, there are two probabilities:

a) You don't know me well enough.
b) You are a girl.

[


As we dropped altitude and closed in on the beachhead, the Spectre groaned as Cowboy banked hard to the left. The call sign suited him well. He always wore an old straw farm hat, and those non-issue chrome plated sunglasses. I could never figure out how he got away with having them. He was always smiling, and he was the best pilot I had ever known.

Tommy the crows nest operator tapped me on the shoulder, and as I turned, I noticed a screen shot of the area we had just past. He shouted to me over the roar of the cannons.

"Do you recognize this geographic?"

"Yea we just flew by it," I called back to him.

"First CAV is about to get a rude awakening down there. We got Cubans flanking from the left, looks to be 30 or 40 men. The CAV's pinned down hard right now, and the Cubans are closing fast. When we make the next pass, paint the mark."

"Got it," I shouted.

"Remember, we are gonna be in close proximity to the big red one, so make sure you don't hose the whole place down."

"Give me a shout when we reach the mark," I said. I was exhausted from strafing the area with the chain gun. The vibration of the ship melded together with the constant side-to-side motion from the 105 mm howitzer, and the cannon fire could wear a man out in no time. Not to mention that god-awful hole at my feet, a result of the last burst of flak. It was making a horrible sucking sound now, as if it wanted to take my very soul.

Tommy motioned me again and said, "Here goes, sport. Be ready."

I blinked to clear my eyes and peered into the sights of the gun. The ground movement looked like a group of tiny ants marching in unison. It seemed as if they were going to make a single mass movement towards the first CAV. I didn't think they had a clue as to what was in store for them.

Tommy shouted "FIRE!" and I squeezed the trigger. Every seventh round was a tracer, but the Vulcan fires so quickly all you can see is a single arch of red light from its barrel. The frantic movement on the beach instantly stopped.

Tommy said, "You got 'em all man! No movement on FLIR!"

I felt a momentary sickness wash over me. Yes, I knew what they had planned to do. I couldn't let them massacre our people on the ground. My only thoughts were I had just done to them what they had wanted to do to us. I had to forget it. Clear my mind for now.

The Spectre shuddered hard from a violent blast of flak, and the aircraft waffled wildly from side to side. The tail rudder had been hit but the damage was minimal, and the ship slowly regained its posture.

The VOX radio channel crackled, and I heard cowboy tell the control aircraft we were heading to a higher altitude to re fuel. We started to climb and the AC130 moaned loudly. I wondered how much more we could take once we returned to the beach.

The Raven was a late 60's model, and I had no Idea how much combat repair she had undergone during Vietnam. I knew the fuel cells were still weeping from the botched repair at Hulbert Field, and I worried she might split her tanks at any moment.

Silence filled the ship as we rose above the 3000-foot mark. The looks of the faces on board were varied at best. The cannon operators were sweeping shells up, laughing, and joking. Tommy surveyed his information and went over charts with his usual conviction. Tipper, the loadmaster seemed nervous as he looked at various hard mounting points and checked the landing gear. I did some light maintenance on the Vulcan as I crossed myself, thankful I was still alive.

VOX crackled again as the KC135 tanker operator urged Cowboy to hold the Raven as still as possible to avoid a collision. It was plain to see this was not as easy as it sounded. The tail section must have been damaged worse I thought. After some harrowing moments, the connector was uncoupled, and we pulled away.

The Raven banked right and started her descent. If anyone had told me that I would be here 3 days ago, I would have laughed aloud, but it was real, and we were in the thick of it all.

Tipper's voice shattered the silence. "Are you alright Ark?"

"Yea buddy," I said. "I'm just trying to rest a moment and re group before we head back into the storm."

"Ok brother" he said. It looks as if this ol' girl has seen better days."

"What do you mean, Tipper?" I said.

"I think the Raven is damaged worse than any of us realize." he said. "We're leaking hydraulic fluid from the main and secondary cylinders, and I noticed a lot of slack in the tail rudder control wires."

"Thing is Tipper, This bird has never let us down unless you count the fuel cell repairs at Hulbert." I said. "I'm sure if we were in any kind of real trouble, Cowboy would find a nice soft place to set her down."

Tipper smiled and shook his head.

"No place to soft land here, kid." He said.

He headed off towards the rear of the Raven, and left me alone with my thoughts. I hoped he wasn't right, but he always was on this sort of thing. There was no way we could set down on the runway at Salinas. The Cubans still had ground control, and it might be hours or even days before anyone could land there. With all the ordinance we had dropped in that area, it might be damaged so bad that it was impossible to land on the island.

We dropped altitude again and Cowboy circled to the right. I checked the Vulcan and loaded a fresh volley of ammo into the breach. Everyone seemed anxious to get back, and I was worried about the lack of ground support since we had left to refuel. With only two spectre's circling the island, the "Crow" was the only one there at the moment. Sure, one spectre could do a lot of damage, but two were guaranteed to keep the wolves at bay.

We dropped the last few hundred feet and started to circle the island again. Immediately the flak burst and anti aircraft fire lit up the sky all over again. The next few hours seemed to race past as we continued to try to keep the enemy off the backs of our troops on the ground. We took several hits, but managed to stayed air born.

Suddenly I heard ground control's radio message to Cowboy.

"Areca to Raven" the controller said. "The runway is clear for you to land."

I waited for the reply from Cowboy, but there was only silence from the cockpit.

"Areca to Raven" The controller called again. "Do you copy? The runway is clear."

Again, the mic was silent. A million things went through my mind at that moment.

Did Cowboy not hear the radio transmission? Could everyone be dead in the cockpit? What was going on?

I unbuckled my harness and tapped Tommy on the shoulder. "I'm going up topside." I said.

Tommy looked around and said, "Hope everyone's alive up there"

I climbed the crew ladder slowly not knowing what I might find. If they were all dead, we were in a world of trouble. We all had a few hours of flight simulation, in the event that we had to limp home without a pilot but I prayed none of us would have to find ourselves in that position.

I looked around the cabin bulkhead, not wanting to see what I might find. As I looked I was thankful to see them all alive. The co pilot and Cowboy were having trouble controlling the plane and the navigator was frantically pouring over his charts trying to find the right approach to set the Raven down.

Cowboy looked back and saw me standing there, scowling.

"Why the sour look, Ark?" he asked in his usual unconcerned way.

"What the hell is going on up here, Cowboy?" I shouted.

"I ain't gonna lie to you," he said. "We are in a world of shit right now. The outside starboard engine is about to give out, and we've got major prop damage on the rest of them."

I could see that they were doing all they could to try and steer the Raven, but it looked like a loosing battle. We had too much damage, and there was no way we could stay in the air much longer.

At that moment, the engine died, and the prop feathered to a halt. As I looked out the starboard window, I could see the engine smoking lightly. Cowboy hit the extinguisher switch and the smoke dissipated into the slipstream. The prop on the engine was bent and chewed up, as if a huge dog had used it like a chew toy.

"You had better get strapped in back there, Ark." Cowboy said. "We are gonna try and set this big bitch down at Salinas."

I made my way back down the crew ladder and Tommy was standing there waiting for me. I didn't want to tell him or the others, but there was no turning back now.

"What's going on up there?" he asked.

"I gotta tell everyone." I said. "Listen to your headset"

"Listen up guys!" I said as I keyed the mic. "Were done up here. We've lost an engine, and we got major prop and control damage. Everyone needs to secure there weapons and strap in. Looks like we are gonna have to brace for impact at Salinas."

Jack, the new kid that operated the 105mm howitzer, said, "Crash? Damn man you got any good news to tell us?"

"Sorry kid" I said, that's all I got for the moment.

"I didn't sign up for this shit!" he whined.

I secured the Vulcan and buckled myself into the jump seat. I could not believe this was happening. Yesterday I was at Hulbert field happy as hell, and now I was going to crash into some god forsaken Caribbean runway and die in a thousand pieces. I thought about all the things I would miss. I could not believe I wouldn't live to see my son being born. All of this was just too much. I knew Cowboy would do everything he could to set the Raven down in one piece, and freaking out now wouldn't do me any good.

I though about what Para Rescue had done for me. It had taken a small town kid with no real direction, and turned him into a good man. I had learned so much about myself in the last few years, and I was proud to have been a part of all this. If I died and never got to see my son, I hoped someone would survive to tell him that I had tried to make a difference in people's lives. Tell him his dad had died doing what he loved. I hoped he would know that I loved him more than anything and that I had given my life freely so that he could live in peace.

We started our descent towards Salinas's airport. The ground control operator told us that the runway was clear, but that wasn't the case. The sky lit up around us as we rolled into position for the landing. I knew they were doing all they could down there to help us get down in one piece.

"Hold on to your asses!" Tipper cried out. "I can't get the rear landing gear all the way down. This shit is gonna hurt!"

The Raven slammed down hard onto the tarmac. The impact jammed me upwards towards the ceiling, but the jump seat straps held fast. I felt as if I was being compressed into a small box. Cowboy threw the turbo props into full reverse, and the sound was deafening. [At that moment, the nose gear gave way, and the Raven pitched downward towards the ground, the nose gear tore into the asphalt and shook the ship violently.]

"This is it." I thought. "Once the sparks from the gear start hitting those leaky wings, we will burst into flames."

Thankfully, this never happened. The Raven had slowed a bit, but not enough to make a complete stop on the runway. We missed the last stop markers, and plowed into the sand breakers at the end of the runway. The Raven continued along, and the jungle was closing fast in the cabin windows. To this day, I don't know how he did it, but Cowboy pulled up just short of the tree line. The AC130 ground to a screaming halt, and he killed the ships power and switched to auxiliary. The Raven would never fly again.

Cowboy called out "Report in! Is everyone alright back there?"

Everyone had survived the crash, maybe a little banged up, but OK. The emergency lights and warning signals made the inside of the Raven look like a Christmas tree. Cowboy killed all the alarms, and we all got ready to exit the plane.

"There's a lot of gunplay going on out there." Tipper said. "Everyone get there flak jackets on and be ready to run for shelter. Get your game plan ready before I lower the rear hatch!"

Small arms fire was hitting the side of the Raven. We all huddled into the tail section.

Bill, the other howitzer operator was an old veteran to this sort of thing. He looked at me and said, "You want to make it out of here alive?"

"Is that a trick question?" I said

Don't be a smart ass boy!" he said. When the hatch opens, I'm gonna flank right with grazing fire, and Tippers gonna flank left. All of you need to stay low and head straight out the back of the plane. Intelligence told us there is a bunker that we control about sixteen to twenty yards right behind us."

Jack said, "Hey old man, I can fend for myself. I'm gonna run to the left and take cover behind those sheds we saw coming in."

You'll never make it there, kid." Bill said. "You'll get shot before you get ten feet."

"I'll take my chances." Jack said.

"Suit yourself!" Bill said.

"Ark you run as fast as you can towards that bunker," Bill said. "If you do what I tell you, then you'll make it there. We can't loose our only medic."

"You don't have to tell me twice!" I Said. "I got you the first time."

Tipper hit the release mechanism on the tail bulkhead, and the door hydraulics started to whine. This is it, I thought.

All the training and hard work had come down to this moment. I had never been so scared, yet so alive in my life. There was no time left to contemplate any of this. It was time to go. I said a silent prayer as light streamed into the cabin. The bi fold doors opened even wider.

"God, please let me make it home alive."

[


Picture taken with friend's Nikon D50 and Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 (I think) during a visit back to my hometown (Kedah) in mid-August. Cropped picture into a square, applied vignetting at the corners, and tweaked curves to boost contrast as well as colour.

[


I find this interesting… here are SMS abbreviations that would be such a helpful thing to all you lazy suckers out there. haha..

AFAIK As Far As I Know

AFK Away From Keyboard

ASAP As Soon As Possible

ATK At The Keyboard

ATM At The Moment

A3 Anytime, Anywhere, Anyplace

BAK Back At Keyboard

BBL Be Back Later

BBS Be Back Soon

BFN/B4N Bye For Now

BRB Be Right Back

BRT Be Right There

BTW By The Way

B4N Bye For Now

CU See You

CUL8R See You Later

CYA See You

FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

FC Fingers Crossed

FWIW For What It’s Worth

FYI For Your Information

GAL Get A Life

GG Good Game

GMTA Great Minds Think Alike

GR8 Great!

G9 Genius

IC I See

ICQ I Seek you

ILU I Love You

IMHO In My Honest/Humble Opinion

IMO In My Opinion

IOW In Other Words

IRL In Real Life

KISS Keep It Simple, Stupid

LDR Long Distance Relationship

LMAO Laugh My Ass Off

LOL Laughing Out Loud

LTNS Long Time No See

L8R Later

MTE My Thoughts Exactly

M8 Mate

NRN No Reply Necessary

OIC Oh I See

PITA Pain In The Ass

PRT Party

PRW Parents Are Watching

QPSA? Que Pasa?

ROFL Rolling On The Floor Laughing

ROFLOL Rolling On The Floor Laughing Out Loud

ROTFLMAO Rolling On The Floor Laughing My A** Off

SK8 Skate

STATS Your sex and age

ASL Age, Sex, Location

THX Thank You

TTFN Ta-Ta For Now!

TTYL Talk To You Later

U You

U2 You Too

U4E Yours For Ever

WB Welcome Back

WTF What The F…

WTG Way To Go!

WUF Where Are You From?

W8 Wait…

7K Sick

click here for source

well, that’s all for now. so i’ll ttyl while i go lmao somewhere before i get 7K. :p hahahah. ok i’ll stop that. bye!

[


Yeap. Thats right. Believe it or not. Existence as you know it is THE lowest rung on the metaphysical level of all things good, bad and shine.

Why you ask? Well let me enlighten you.

First we look at Hell's composition. Fire, Brimstone, Demons, Gore, Suffering bla bla bla (insert Sunday school image of choice here)
You get the picture right?

Now try imagining each of those elements...

I guess you could say its a lot like this...

Look familiar? You'd bet your last pair of panties yes!

So... if hell is here then where is good ol' planet Bob?

Well... Let me say this;
People we do not elect rule the through sheer tyranny and the whip that is political correctness.
Of all things that are certain in this world inevitable eventual failure will ALWAYS be one of them.
God appeared to us "ONCE" in mortal form and we crucified him.
And well nobody's perfect. And we WERE created in Gods image. Ipso-facto he ain't perfect either. All powerful sure. Sadistic sure. But perfect? Pshaw!

Perfection is a hoax. How can everyone be perfect? Be PERFECTLY pure and PERFECTLY corrupted all at once? Pure Corruption i say.

God created all things. Perhaps. Which means he created evil too. Sure he gave us that carrot on a stick you people call hope but seriously; the murderer who grows flowers is still a murderer first and foremost. So...

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

Don't get me wrong. I bet most of you are thinking why the fuck the "Turbanator" bothers with his cultural mane of furry fur when he rants so much about hating the big Kahuna? Well you just answered your own question. Culture and Religion are two different concepts that are two separate, though significantly interwoven, entities. Sorta like politics and lying.

I keep my beard as a sign of respect to my forefathers. It is a symbol of my people. A part of their identity. Not a sign of my devotion to any one deity.

Also i cannot for the life of me understand the concept of faith. What i say i believe and all is forgiven? I say i believe and i am accepted? Why does God ask this of us? Does the father ask the fetus to show faith of existence outside the womb before he may be born?

Or worse. The fanatics. If you are not of our faith you are doomed to hell! And so we convert. Insincerely choosing a faith over gospel truth. Thats okay? What kind of segregation is this?

Didn't god want us all to be together? One big happy incestuous family? Then why the prohibition of inter marriage? More shit from the bull i say!

Conclusion; I hate God. Why? Coz he deserves it. What right do i have you ask me? What right don't i have? He put me in this shithole! I dint ask for any of it. Didn't anyone ask what I wanted? Sorry let me rephrase; Did anyone who gives a shit and actually makes an effort to help ask what i wanted?

P.S. This was a rant. I don't give a quarter pound of turd whether you were offended. So there! Swallow it.

[


When I read this piece of news I was stunned by the intolerant stance taken by Beijing. Apparently "security reasons" is the cause of this ban. To me this is absolutely unacceptable as it borders on the ridiculous and shows how extreme the officially God forsaken country is. Athletes are also prohibited from bearing any kind of religious symbol at Olympic facilities.

Well if Bibles are banned, are Korans banned too? Well I would think Muslim athletes will surely be denied their sacred book too. As far as I know devout Muslims will not accept such nonsense. This seems like an insult on Islam itself. To take it further are Muslim headscarves banned to? They certainly are a religious symbols and they will be banned unless Chinese are hypocrites.

Furthermore, what will happen to Jews and their skullcaps? How about the Sikhs and their turbans? Well it can go on forever but the whole message Beijing is giving that they are bigoted Mao Tse Tung butt kissers money worshipers. Good job Hu Jintao your men have insulted the whole wide world.

Of course this can only culminate in one thing - the mass boycott of the Beijing Olympics. To me this would surely make my day as I have already decided that the Chinese government has absolutely no ethics and is one hundred percent morally bankrupt. All because of oil and money China ganged up with Russia to support the rape of Darfur. Genocide takes place there because they block all international efforts to stop the Sudanese. Remember the Burmese who died in their struggle for freedom! China and the Asean especially despicable Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore gave the finger to the democracy movement.

May you burn evil China!

~multum in parvo~

[


From the BBC News website:

Attack on giant Pakistan Buddha

Suspected pro-Taleban militants have tried to blow up an ancient carving of Buddha in north-west Pakistan. The statue, thought to date from the second century BC, sustained only minimal damage in the attack near Manglore in remote Swat district. The area has seen a rise in attacks on "un-Islamic" targets in recent months. This is the first such attack in Pakistan and is reminiscent of the Taleban's 2001 destruction of the giant Buddhas at Bamiyan in Afghanistan.

[ Read article ]

The last time this happened was at Bamiyan, Afghanistan [ read article ], where the world's largest Buddhist statues were destroyed by the then-ruling Taliban regime for being "un-Islamic". Although the Taliban are now no longer in power, and on the run from US-NATO forces pursuing them in the mountainous regions of Afghanistan bordering Pakistan, already new extremists have stepped forward in Pakistan to continue their heinous crimes.

..the Bamiyan Buddhas survived for sixteen centuries in the remote fastness of the Afghan Hindu Kush. Neither the ravages of time, nor the conquering armies of Islam--not even the scourge of Genghis Khan--had laid them low.. - Andrew Forbes,

Supposedly following the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, an international organization was established to protect and conserve religious sites worldwide [ read article ]. Granted, their jurisdiction probably accounts for nothing in the tribal-controlled border regions of Pakistan. Still, this startling lack of action on their part (aside from the expected cries of outrage and condemnation) is worrisome, as it demonstrates the terrorists' capability to continue their activities unimpeded, despite the world's opposition and horror.

It is obvious enough that the terrorists possess an agenda against all those who are not Muslims. Even better, considering events in Iraq (and the Middle East in general), they're more than willing to wage war against Muslims as well who do not see their side of the coin. Isn't it any wonder Islamophobia is at its height, and the United States is taking an increasingly hardline stance against nations suspected of harboring Muslim terrorists?

[


i was searching for 19th century photographs, and i came across this website of which i find utterly interesting. its title, Women’s History Then & Now : Women’s Mental Illness.

you can go to this website for more info on the subject.

i find these few mental illness as being downright interesting and decided to post some here in my blog. for future reference or sort. idk.


Anorexia- The Fasting Girls

Anorexia, though prominent for many years prior, was officially recognized Fashionas
a disease in 1873 (Ussher 77). It flourished during the nineteenth century as women wished to exemplify their femininity. In denying food, a woman could truly be passive and become a weightless accessory for her husband. The physical and spiritual ideal of anorexia also became a status symbol for many women. Working class women had to eat in order to have energy to work. Thus, only middle to upper class women could afford to be anorexic. Cures included being admitted to an asylum where women rested and were excessively fed.


Spinsters and Lesbians

Spinsters and lesbians were considered a threat to society during the nineteenth century as these women chose an alternative lifestyle. They went outside the social norms of women as passive housewives, and instead made their own decisions. They were thought to be mentally ill, as doctors claimed being without continued male interaction would cause irritability, anaemia, tiredness, and fussing. These women were also controlled by the term “frigid” which was used to describe them. Women did not want to be “frigid” and thus married to avoid becoming labeled this manner (Ussher 81). Those who were admitted to the asylum for being a spinster or a lesbian were submitted to forced marriages by family members or even encouraged sexual encounters where patients were sexually abused or raped under the care of their doctors (Ussher 81). It was assumed these women could be cured by repeated sexual interaction with men.


Nymphomania (hypersexuality)

The idea of nymphomania developed during the Victorian era. One-third of all patients in Victorian asylums suffered from this mental illness. It was described as an irresistible desire for sexual intercourse and a “female pathology of over-stimulated genitals” (Goldberg 80). Nymphomania included much more than a simple sexual drive, however, as it was also associated with a loss of sanity. It was described as an “illness of sexual energy levels gone awry, as well as the loss of control of the mind over the body” (Goldberg 86) and included women who allowed their bodies to become subject to uncontrollable movement as nymphomaniacs “threw themselves to the floor, laughed, danced, jumped, lashed out, smashed objects, tore their clothes, grabbed at any man who came before her” (Goldberg 89). It was also believed that those who suffered from this madness would, without treatment, eventually become a raving maniac, robbed over her mind (Goldberg 87). Gyno ExamA woman could be placed in an asylum for nymphomania if she was promiscuous, bore illegitimate children, was a victim of an assault or rape, was caught masturbating, or suffered from man-craziness, a term used during this time period to describe flirtatiousness. When a woman was brought to the asylum, she was subject to a pelvic exam where the doctor claimed she had an enlarged clitoris the size of a penis. Upon later inspection if the clitoris had returned to its normal size, she would be released and deemed cured. Cures for nymphomania included separation from men, bloodletting, induced vomiting, cold douches over the head, warm douches over the breasts, leeches, solitary confinement, strait-jackets, bland diet, and occasional clitorectomies.


for these and more, go to the website.

[


English has always been a language of concern in our country, especially for the fact that we are considered as a nation whose proficiency in English is fairly good. However, in my opinion, this consideration is greatly flawed.

Their standard of English is a shame in itself.

It is indeed discouraging to know that while we pride ourselves in being a multi-linguistic society, meaning that one is able to converse in at least two languages (Bahasa Melayu and English) or more, our mastery in languages is somewhat poorer than anticipated. We see that people, in general, are able to write well, but they are not able to speak just as well as they could write.

My main focus here is on English, and although we take English as Second Language in our country, still its emphasis as a medium of instruction in schools and universities is great enough for an enormous amount of attention.

It is simply appalling to see students, especially university students (including those in my campus) who are expected to have a good proficiency in English, to be making mistakes that are now considered unforgivable in terms of language. To make the most fundamental errors in grammar such as the subject-verb agreement "is" and "are", tenses and so on are simply an atrocity in itself. Our teachers have taught us English since kindergarten or primary school, and to see the fact that throughout their eleven years or so of education and yet their English is as if they have not even gone for the first lesson in English is simply unthinkable. Is English such a difficult language to learn? If people of other nationalities can master English, why can we not do that as well?

What discontented me very much is the fact that during presentations, people often stumble themselves groping for words in their vocabulary, and while doing so selecting words that are not suitable in terms of meaning and perhaps even grammar. Also, it is disheartening to see that students, especially university students, making the simplest of pronunciation errors and though they know that their pronunciation is wrong, they never made the slightest effort in correcting themselves. How would you pronounce "determine" and "lethal"? I tell you the truth, out of 10 students who are tested, I can say that at least six of them will get either one of the words wrongly pronounced, with the word "determine" being mispronounced the most.

Come on, people! A lot of us are university students now, and we are required to make a lot of presentations. One way to impress your audience is the proficiency of English that you possess. If initially we say that while presenting it does not even matter if your English is broken, that is because we believe that in the early stages of presentation, you might be nervous and this can cause some difficulty in structuring your sentences. However, by now, since our medium of instruction is only English, our proficiency should reflect those suited for at least a Band 5 or Band 6 standard of English, according to MUET grading, more so as we have had English lessons all this while for the past twelve or thirteen years of formal education!

As if the poor proficiency in English among students is not enough, even lecturers themselves have such a poor level of English, and I am not just referring to lecturers in public universities, but also private universities such as Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP). UTP has always prided itself in having the best amenities and facilities for students and staff; it is indeed undeniable, but the standard of English that a lot of students and lecturers possess here is simply a mockery of themselves. Quite a number of my lecturers make lots of grammatical and pronunciation errors. Some say, "How do I say you?" when he or she really meant "How do I put it for you?" or "How do I explain it to you?" As a lecturer, it is expected that they are able to converse in English almost flawlessly. Needless to say, quite a great number of our local lecturers themselves urgently need English proficiency classes. They may refuse to take it due to reputation reasons, but if I were the chancellor of my university, I do not care tuppence about their reputation! To have lecturers and administrators whose English is poor would ruin the general reputation of the university as a whole. It is far better to send these lecturers for English training courses, degrade their images for a moment and then send them back to work with a new and better impression formed.

A good proficiency in English is vital especially to academicians who need to impart knowledge to students. Lecturers with poor proficiency in English may be prone to giving wrong information unintentionally due to the wrong words used, or the misinterpretation that may be caused. As such, lecturers, who definitely have much more exposure in terms of linguistic development, should and must have a good level of English. They must be able to speak and present like a Band 6 or Band 7 MUET candidate. The requirement seems very high, but extremely necessary.

I am tired and fed-up of being appalled by the standard of English portrayed by so many students and lecturers in my campus. Even the authorities themselves make silly spelling and grammatical mistakes while issuing bulletins, notices or announcements.

I am indeed sad to say that while the English teachers have put in their hearts and souls in the teaching of English to students, little do they realise how much they have failed miserably in ensuring that our standard of English is on par with many other countries around the world. The Ministry of Education on the other hand should raise the standard of English in terms of grading and marking for papers, as well as setting a stringent assessment scheme. It is definitely necessary to lower down the number of A's for English in PMR and SPM examinations. The A that they obtain in their public examinations simply does not reflect the standard of English that they possess. Their standard of English is a shame in itself.

[


The premise of 'A Scanner Darkly', based on Philip K. Dick's sci-fi novel of the same title, is that of a bleak future where drugs have corrupted 20% of the population. The drug is Substance D, or "Death". Overseas, the government wages a war against drug terrorists worldwide. Within the country, however, the government watches and records everything we do, even in the relative safety of our homes.

Robert Arctor (Keanu Reeves) is the boyfriend of Donna Hawthorne, a Substance D dealer. Robert Arctor and his housemates, Barris (Robert Downey Jr.) and Luckman (Woody Harrelson), are all heavy drug users and spend much of their time having drug-induced conversations.

However, in secret, Arctor is an undercover operative for the Anaheim Police Department. Wearing a scramble suit that disguises his identity (even from the other police officers with whom he works), his task is to uproot the dealers of Substance D in the government's increasingly disturbing war against the dregs of society.

How did I get here? The pain so unexpected & undeserved & for some reason cleared away the cobwebs. I realized I didn't hate the cabinet door, I hated my life, my house, my family. My backyard, my power mower. Nothing would ever change, nothing new would ever be expected; it had to end, & it did. Now in the dark world where I dwell ugly things & surprising things, & sometimes little wondrous things spill out at me constantly, & I can count on nothing. - Robert Arctor, 'A Scanner Darkly'

Codenamed "Fred", he is trying to get close to Donna to identify her supplier, but she's refusing his sexual advances, and Arctor's housemates are beginning to suspect the reality of the relationship.

Things begin take a turn for the worse when "Fred" is ordered by his superior, "Hank", to spy on Arctor because the police suspect Arctor is the key to busting a major drug operation. In the meantime, Arctor's housemates are becoming increasingly paranoid with the idea that the police are out to get them.

And so begins a strange cycle where the hunter is hunting himself, yet doesn't seem to realize the true nature of everything going on around him. The film centers a lot around the concept of paranoia and the effects of drug abuse, accentuated further by the fact that the entire film is rendered as an animated graphic novel. It seems like the whole world is being viewed through the eyes of an addict, and thus adds another layer of interest to the entire serving.

The ending might not be to many people's liking, but, without giving too much away, it also raises a few more interesting questions of ethics and 'doing the right thing for the greater good'. However, overall, I enjoyed the movie despite its overtly dark and depressing mood. Comic humor is provided by the inane conversations between Arctor and his housemates, as well as the idiosyncratic Freck, who's hallucinations are always a source of comedy.

Ultimately, if you're into twisting conspiracy theories or have a taste for intelligent fair like this, I'd definitely recommend this movie. Be prepared to not understand a lot of parts, though; as Arctor becomes lost in the convoluted world that becomes his reality, things might just be just as blur for you.

- saintmaverick -

[


Chapter 2. Day of Judgement

According to the preacher's texts, The Holy revealed His new calendar when Bandar the Wanderer entered the seaport city of Punta Arenas at the southern end of the ancient and mythical country of Chile. He came less than a month after the War of the Burning Metals and the blazing of Shaitan's fires across the globe. Eight years later the Holy revealed Bandar as His preacher and anointed him Bel'dar, creating the first of the Cunif Califar.

We are all taught geography as children of course. It is fascinating to think what life must have been like back then, with the survivors of the war forming a global refugee population. The southernmost areas of the globe suffered by far the least of the fallout, and for decades they were the only regions habitable. The place that eventually became Bandar Arenas had one of the lowest radiation levels in the world outside of Antarctica, and it was a magnet for humanity.

It's difficult to imagine how small the city was at the beginning. The Book of Bel'dar suggests its population was only about 100,000 before the war, 2% of the present size of five million. By current law, both the world capital and the Priesthood contain one fifth of the world's population.

It took the Earth several hundred years to recover from the war. Two of the most serious isotopes in the fallout were cesium-137 and strontium-90. They both have half-lives of about 28 years. It also took several centuries for the ozone layer to recover from being destroyed by the nitric oxides produced by the bombs. The primary lingering health concern from the war is now carbon-14, with a half life of 5600 years. Fortunately the oceans and biosphere have recycled much of it out of the atmosphere.

Bandar Arenas is the southernmost city on Earth. There are also 120 townships scattered in North and South America, with populations averaging 167,000 each. Each township is sponsored by one of the 120 Guilds, and the Priesthood is the sponsor of the capital.

The name of my childhood township is Anqara, and it is the home township of the Guild for specialty metal fabrication. Anqara has the distinction of being the farthest township from Bandar Arenas, but with our close match in longitude with the capital, we also have the smallest shift in solar time. Our solar noon occurs only 24 seconds later than official solar noon. Official time is the same everywhere of course. There are no time zones. The rhythm of the daily Prayer is not fragmented.

In Bel'dar's calendar, each year has 12 months, and the months have kept their ancient names. Each month has 30 days. In addition to the twelve months, there is a five-day festival to celebrate the Holy's Judgment. The festival is at the beginning of year, shortly after the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere. When the calendar year is divisible by twelve, the festival is lengthened to eight days in order to keep the calendar in sync with Earth's solar orbit.

The festival of The Judgment is the appropriate time for the childhood gates, and also for the gates that control adult advancement from one citizen level to the next. The childhood gates are used to test and cull all male children as they enter their 8th, 13th, and 21st year of life. Each of the three gates culls 10%. There is also continuous culling due to medical, behavioral, or heretical problems, for both children and adults. The end result is 65% of the 120,000 male children born each year survive the challenge of entering adulthood.

The First Day of Judgment of 8235 began as usual for me with 6 AM prayers. I and the 577 other members of the Initiate class of Anqara found ourselves in the presence of the Bandar Arenas test monitor. Some seemed to find it difficult not to be intimidated by his purple insignia of royalty.

The class moved through the familiar cycle of the morning prayers. The Prayer of Purification hour was filled with tests of power and form in the martial arts. The exhaustion tests of endurance would come later in the evening Prayer of Weakness.

At 10 AM I began eight hours of qualifying tests with the Guild that had been sponsoring me since my thirteenth year. I have spent the last eight years of my life as an acolyte member of the Security Guild.

Security is a coveted Guild for membership. It is a small Guild, only three thousand adults, but it is very well represented in the royal levels. All rulers and royalty are part of the Priesthood of course, but 25 of the 4,092 current royals (citizen levels 16 through 23) entered royalty through the Security Guild. The previous Cunif Califar, Abdul Matin, Servant of the Firm, entered royalty through Security.

The ancient counterpart of the Security Guild would be a combination of domestic and international spy agencies. The Guild does not do installation and maintenance of the worldwide monitoring systems, but it does have ownership of their operation and technical evolution, and Security works closely with the Priesthood, in particular their embedded military and police units.

The Security Guild's township is called Jizari. It is located 360 km northeast of the capital, across the Straits of Magellan. Not surprisingly, Security's home is the closest township to Bandar Arenas.

There is a saying all males learn in nursery school, that the boy chooses the girls, but it is the Guild that chooses the boy. As a young child though, I discovered I have a unique talent, a secret gift that is the fuel for my hidden ambition. My gift let me choose my Guild. I have a perfect memory.

Am I a mutation? Probably. So many of our religious practices evolved from the mutations problems of the war, and how urgent it was to adapt society to the new reality. The culling was necessary to stop the degradation slide of the human genome, and it made the Genetics Guild one of the most powerful organizations under the Priesthood.

Major genetic changes were engineered in the first few thousand years after the war, as the Genetics Guild mastered the science of writing DNA at the level of complexity of the human genome. Evolution jumped from geological to generational timescales, and the Ruling Priesthood became the supreme legislature for determining the definition of human.

The ability of the species to repopulate was a critical concern, and one of the first successful genetic modifications was to change the male/female probability birth ratio from roughly 1:2 to 1:3. There are currently 120,000 male births a year and 360,000 female births. Daily sleep requirements are also half of what they used to be before the war.

Another genetic modification made the human genome compatible with anti-aging drugs. No one has lived to be 400 yet, but with continual use of the drugs 300 to 350 years of life can be expected, with all but the last few months in fully functional health.

My memory mutation is a powerful gift. It goes far beyond the ability of perfect recall of experiences. I have perfect recall over everything I sense. I can stare at my monastery study monitor flashing several pages a second and then read what I've observed at my leisure when I have time to close my eyes. I was six years old when I learned the trick of stealing Imul passwords by glancing from the corner of my eye, watching them type long and rapid password strings. I would later replay their finger movements in my mind.

For years I did nothing with my illegal access to knowledge. But when I was nine and had passed my first gate, my class went through a basic course on network security, and I realized Anqara has a weakness in its local security design. There is a six-second window every night at 11:30 PM when the township's network establishes new security handshaking protocols with the worldwide web. During this period, worldwide Security can't monitor local data access directly, and relies on the local logs to bridge the six-second gap once handshaking is reestablished.

But there is a flaw in the local monitoring software. It polls central video memory every 400 milliseconds for the image being transmitted to my room's monitor. With access to the monastery computers through an unrelated course on graphical displays, I used my stolen passwords and left behind a small and I hope untraceable daemon.

The end result is I have fifteen 400-millisecond windows every night to access restricted data. I start my process just after the end of the security polling cycle; loading the data into my video buffer, flashing it to my screen for 350-ms, and then shutting down and terminating the data request before the security poll asks my video buffer again what it is doing. End result? I get fifteen views a night with as much data as I can fit onto my screen, and there is absolutely no record of my activity.

In the last decade, I have had access to vast stores of information, far beyond what an Initiate is ever allowed to see. It is an extremely dangerous game. Sidestepping the local audit logs is not easy, but my greatest fear is someday showing that I know not too little but too much.

When I was eleven years old, I decided that the only truly safe way of protecting the use of my gift would be to have access to the Priesthood's master security logs, and the only way to do that would be from inside the Security Guild. I modified my performance on my aptitude tests to appear especially attractive to them, and at my thirteenth year, when the Guilds pick their acolytes from the survivors of the second gate, I succeeded in my quest to have the boy choose the Guild.

And the years passed. I reached my third gate. My final day of childhood continued. After four hours of Guild testing, I was pleasantly surprised to be served a lunch at 2 PM. Except for Guild training materials and courses, all children are completely under the control of the Priesthood, and the acolytes for adult Priesthood would be finding this a fasting day. But the other acolytes are owned by both the Priesthood and their Guild on Judgment Day, and it is permissible after morning prayers for the sponsoring Guilds to feed their acolytes.

I was touched by my Guild's generosity. They had sent me a magnificent lunch, one worthy of a royal. There was a fine selection of delicate fishes and meats wrapped in small pastries, plus an assortment of fresh fruit slices and greens from the southern hemisphere. It wasn't a large amount of food, but with the Prayer of Weakness testing in six hours, stuffing myself now would be foolhardy. The lunch was perfect. I thought about the message my Guild was sending me with their extravagant feast as I savored each bite.

I had to keep my wits about me during the last hours of testing. I was being asked to make intelligent guesses about matters that I had factual knowledge of only through my nocturnal data access. I intentionally made numerous guesses reasonable but wrong, especially those concerning the political alliances within the ruling Priesthood (the 87 Priests of Citizen Level 24 though 31).

One of the last tests from my Guild measured my memory and manual dexterity. I was shown long strings of random characters on a monitor for a brief period of time, and then required to rapidly type them. All adults have a minimum requirement of entering twenty-character complex passwords in ten seconds, but Security's requirement is a minimum of twenty-four characters in eight. I passed the test easily, overshooting my Guild's requirements by a considerable margin, but then holding back so as not to reveal my hidden talent.

The hours of Prayers passed quickly. I had no trouble with the theology. It did surprise me that the Hour of Weakness was used for unrelenting full-contact sparring. I am not the most aggressive fighter, but my form is efficient, however I received only three minor demerits, two for taking too long to defeat my friend Afeef, a clearly weaker opponent, and a third demerit for being too merciful with the selection of the combination holds that ended my final contest. The judge ruled I had a perfect opportunity to end the fight much sooner albeit much more brutally.

My class spent the Hour of Repose in perfect silence. It didn't feel like a test until near the end, when I realized other acolytes bruised from the sparring or worried about passing might be finding it difficult to maintain the required perfect stillness. When the closing bell sounded, there were numerous sighs of exhaustion. We all rose and quickly walked to our small bedrooms. I glanced around at some of my classmates, trying to make eye contact and offer encouragement. The testing was over. Talking was not strictly prohibited, but it certainly wasn't encouraged either, and we all make our way back to our rooms in silence.

I closed the door of my room as required, hearing the lock click and the door seal behind me. The time was 10:09 PM, and the Day of Judgment was almost over. Sometime within the next five hours, I would hear a gas hissing into my room. It would either be a simple nitrogen-oxygen mix, or something just as odorless but extremely lethal. By tradition, acolytes void their bladders and undress, in order to minimize the work of the acolytes in next year's class.

Some acolytes doubt this, but bedrooms really are unmonitored. The human psyche needs a place to wallow in peace during the hours of low impurity, and the Priesthood does provide that place. One thing I've learned about the Priesthood over the years is that they are many things, but they are not liars.

I actually fell into a restful sleep shortly after entering my room. I was that confident, and regardless the matter was out of my hands. I've learned the lesson to grab rest when I can. I was awakened by the faint sound of hissing air. I opened my eyes and glanced at the clock display on my monitor, 2:53 AM.

It was later than I expected. The test administrators are required by law to complete all executions by 3 AM. I shuddered as I thought about being one of the thousands of judges for the gate. A vast amount of the scoring is based on computer tabulation, but the final decisions are human, done over a worldwide teleconference. With over 87,000 Initiates per year, there are rumors of many heated discussions for the exacting rankings near the cutoff.

I laughed at myself as I realized I was sniffing the air. My subconscious demand to live was overwhelming my reasoning. Sniffing the air made no sense. I tried to calm myself by thinking of the soft hissing sound as relaxing. I looked at my sealed door, and waited for my adult life to begin.

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