Monday, 12 November 2012

The Festive Firecracker Issue

Explosive firecrackers are officially banned in Malaysia. However,  good politics necessitates that the law looks the other way when it comes to the various festivities celebrated by the various communities - Eid al-Fitr (Hari Raya Puasa) by the Malays, Chinese New Year by the Chinese, Diwali (Deepavali) by the Indians -  for the sake of not jeopardizing, theoretically, the Malay vote, the Chinese vote or the Indian vote which will indeed be the case should the authorities come down hard on each communal group for detonating explosive firecrackers each time its respective festivities comes along.
The practice of detonating explosive firecrackers during festive seasons originates from the Chinese who, during Chinese New Year, detonate explosive firecrackers to superstitiously ward off evil spirits which is the reason the Chinese do it year after year since the days of their ancestors.
What reason, then, do the Malays and the Indians have for doing it when their respective festivities come along? Surely not to superstitiously ward off evil spirits too, right? What then are their reasons? A herd mentality? Revenge? Lack of parental guidance? Lack of relevant schooling?
This is the scenario in modern-day Malaysia, a nation that recently turned fifty-five but behaves like a five-year-old, a five-year-old who does not understand right from wrong, what's banned from what's not banned, what respecting your neighbor's right to peace and quiet is from what respecting your neighbor's right to peace and quiet isn't.
Or perhaps it isn't an age issue at all. Perhaps we just need to come down from our tree houses and move into the city dwellings provided for us. Is the concept of being a civilized people so difficult to grasp? Being born Asians doesn't mean we cannot behave like we were raised to be lords and ladies, noblemen and noblewomen, princes and princesses, kings and queens.
My kids are still awake. It's almost one in the morning but they're still awake, too terrified to shut their eyes and sleep for fear that the next bomb explosion-like explosion will blow them to bits.
I tell them it's not a war zone that we're in. I tell them, no, war between us and neighboring Thailand is  not being waged. I tell them we're living in the midst of a primitive, tribalistic, culturally backward people who've never come across a festive occasion before in their lives and, having now done so, are behaving accordingly. My kids are confused. They've seen the people I'm talking about wear modern-day clothes, not the garments of tree or cave dwellers.
The funny thing about kids is, the one word adults employ to describe other people which they have no problem whatsoever understanding is this one word: stupid, which is what I end up telling them everybody out there making our lives miserable is, which seems to help, somewhat, between the thundering explosion-like explosions we're shaken out of our skins and deafened by.
It's a good thing we're on good terms with Thailand, because if we weren't, now would be a good time for them to launch an attack. By the time the real explosions were sorted out from the fake ones, it would all be over. The tide of battle would be in the aggressor's favor.
Now wouldn't that be funny? 

Thrill Of The Kill

Man's fascination with acts of killing as exemplified, even glorified, in movies, video games, wildlife documentaries, actual battlefield footages and so on reveals his true nature.
For this reason wars will always be a way of life on earth, let alone lesser acts of murder and mayhem.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Famous Quotes

"It is said, never a lender or a borrower be. However, if you  must, better a lender be, as dishonorable borrowers, whom most borrowers are,  have given borrowers a bad name." - Anonymous

Friday, 2 November 2012

CO Emission Alert

We Malaysians are not from a deprived background, the way we compete with each other in the race for having the biggest house in the neighborhood or the flashiest car on the road. Our lust for such status symbols stems from materialistic impulses, hence streets choked to overflowing with CO-emitting cars.
Generally-speaking, the Chinese are materialistic by nature. So too the Indians. The Malays are not, but, sadly, they've begun acquiring such habits as a result of close proximity with their more affluent neighbors, hence streets even more choked to overflowing with CO-emitting cars.
Interestingly, the Dutch in comparison are the exact opposite.   In Holland, the wheeled status symbol is the humble bicycle, hence streets totally uncluttered by congestion of any vehicular sort.
Not only that. No one can accuse pedal power champion Holland of being an active contributor of vehicle-generated greenhouse gases which in turn contributes to global warming, rising sea levels and chaotic weather patterns.
If each one of us is guilty of abetting the ultimate suicide of Mother Earth directly or otherwise, forensic evidence will reveal no Dutch involvement at all in this respect.
Unfortunately, the day Mother Earth dies, so too will the innocents, and that is the real tragedy of it all.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Dance Of The Cobra

Come away, my friend, come away.
The one you seek is a seductress.
He who lays eyes on her is swayed by her charms.
She smiles, and he is enslaved by her beauty.
She winks, and he is hooked.
The fish had taken the bait. Time to reel it in.

Come away, my friend, come away.
The one you seek is a temptress.
She lures victims the way sirens lure sailors towards the rocks,
Towards a watery end.
They see the rocks, but the sirens are too alluring,
Their appearances too seductive,
The promise of paradise and soft flesh too strong to resist
Unlike the hardness of the jagged rocks which are unforgiving
As both sailor and ship soon find out.

Come away, my friend, come away.
The one you seek is a sorceress.
He who gazes upon her is hypnotized by her charming ways.
She smiles, and he is enchanted.
She winks, and he is mesmerized.
The prized calf has been lassoed. Prepare the cooking pots.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Florence Nightingale In Glittery Robes

Your glamorized brand of charity work is too sugar-coated for my taste buds. It reeks of pomposity. Is the left hand supposed to know what the right hand does, or vice versa? Yet you shout it from the rooftops that the whole world might know of your so-called charitable works, for it makes you look good on your resume, as well as on the front cover of People magazine. That's all you care about, how good it makes you look in the eyes of society, judging from your growing photo collection whose central figure is a glamorized-looking you. 
This is what bored Millionaires' Club wives do to pass time and look good at the same time. Congratulations, and welcome to the club.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

To Be Taken With A Pinch Of Salt

When death occurs, it is nothing personal. It is purely business, the business of cleaning house, for life is not eternal. It has a limit, and when that limit has been reached, death occurs in the manner pre-ordained.
It is nothing personal, and is therefore not to be taken personally especially when it involves a loved one. We tend to blame ourselves as if we brought it upon ourselves or upon our loved ones, whichever the case may be.
Take heart. It is nothing personal. It is purely business, the business of life and death, from the moment the spark of life is created to the moment the flame it ignites is snuffed out.
Nor is the manner death occurs to be taken personally. It is only a matter of pre-ordained selection from a vast range of available options, all of them specifically designed to ensure death occurs as intended, in some cases violent, in others slow and lingering, and in yet others, quick and painless.
There is no escape. We can only hope the manner of death pre-ordained for us was somehow influenced by a moment of compassion at the time of its selection.
My cat is dying. It hasn't eaten for six days now. It appeared to have caught a simple bout of flu at first but now it's quite apparent its liver is failing. How do I know that? My dad died of liver problems and I was his nursemaid during his final days.
Anyway, if it's nothing personal, if it's purely business, this business of heaven cleaning house here on earth, WHY THE BLOODY HELL AM I TAKING IT SO BLOODY PERSONALLY!!!???

Friday, 13 July 2012

The Theory Of Soul Existence

                       (states that)

All creatures whose offspring are born alive, as opposed to being hatched from eggs, possess the inherent capacity to harbor or express feelings of love, concern, contentment, displeasure or hostility for, with or towards others of their own kind or otherwise and as such exhibit proof that they possess immortal souls.
All mammals including cats, dogs and humans fall under such a category.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

He Who Leads The Whole World Astray

The devil’s craftiness none can match.

He taunts God, saying let such and such a thing be done to such and such a person and that person will sell his soul to the devil in the various ways doing such a thing involves, including cursing God to his face, so unbearable was the pain of his suffering.

And God, knowing such a thing to be the only way of determining a person's true worth. allows it to prove that the souls of all those belonging to him cannot be bought by the devil, whatever the price, as documented in the book of Job.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Maher Zain - Prophet Of Peace, Hope & Salvation

One day, when all was well in heaven and on earth, God summoned his council of elders together, saying, “Why is there no one singing my praises to all the four corners of the world in Arabic, the native tongue of more than 300 million inhabitants and one of the major languages of the world?”

One of the elders replied, “Lord, there are some who are already doing it although in no big way that the whole world sits up and takes notice. Perhaps it is time such a prophet dwelt amongst men, singing your praises to all the four corners of the world in Arabic, the native tongue of more than 300 million inhabitants and one of the major languages of the world.”

“Let it be then,” said the Lord, “that such a prophet dwells amongst men, singing my praises to all the four corners of the world in Arabic, the native tongue of more than 300 million inhabitants and one of the major languages of the world.”

Another of the elders spoke up, saying, “What shall his name be, Lord, and what of his origins?”

“His name shall be Maher Zain and he shall be born of Lebanese origins. He shall live out his schooling years in Europe and his early adulthood years in America, yet he shall not be led astray by the bright lights of the big cities on either side of the Atlantic. Instead he shall be reborn in the religious faith of his fathers and use his musical gifts to sing my praises to all the four corners of the world in Arabic. For even if he employs the more universal or other languages of the world as the medium of his songs  he shall still mention me in Arabic, the native tongue of more than 300 million inhabitants and one of the major languages of the world, thus popularizing my name in Arabic to all four corners of the world.”

At this all the elders got up as one and fell on their hands and knees, saying in unison, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord, He who made the heavens and the earth. Praised be his name forever and ever. Amen!”

Sunday, 29 April 2012

An Analogy

A strong, solid tree with deep roots will neither break nor be uprooted when a strong wind blows. A weak, fragile tree with shallow roots will either break or be uprooted when a strong wind blows. It is therefore not necessarily a bad thing for strong winds to blow.
Likewise, a solid house with solid foundations and a flimsy one with flimsy foundations: one will easily survive an earthquake, the other will not, and let not the earthquake be blamed for helping us distinguish the solid houses from the flimsy ones.

Friday, 13 April 2012

How Smart My Smartphone Is

This is how smart my smartphone is. 

It can compose text messages in Korean, Urdu, Siamese or Vietnamese which unfortunately I can neither read nor write.

It can also compose text messages by utilizing either one of two different types of keyboard or a handwriting detecting pad.

It also goes into power saving mode when set to activate anywhere from ten to seventy percent remaining battery strength.

It can also guide me from point A to point B on opposite sides of a bustling metropolis through a maze of inner city streets and avenues simply by telling me where and when to turn.

It also stores the history of all sent or received messages between sender and sendee in chat bubble format.

It can also pinpoint my exact location on earth as seen from outer space.

It also tells me who’s calling when calls are received or when messages are received, what time it is whenever it wakes up from sleep and reminds me at the same time of the number of missed calls or unread messages that are still unattended to.

It can also take photos like a pro, with a range of settings to choose from including comic book type effects.

Of all the countless smart things it can do, what it cannot do is switch off the light when it’s time to go to bed, but I‘m sure it’s figuring that out even as we speak.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

This Is My Hell And Here I Rot

This is my hell and here I rot
For one of the gods, alas, I’m not.

A god doesn’t fall and break his bones
Or acquire kidney stones.

This is my hell and here I rot
For one of the gods, alas, I’m not.

A god doesn’t suffer heartache and pain
Caused by people with half a brain.

This is my hell and here I rot
For one of the gods, alas, I’m not.

A god doesn’t suffer old age and death
Brought on by chest pains and shortness of breath.

This is my hell and here I rot
For one of the gods, alas, I'm not.

A god doesn't break down like buses or trucks
Or need fixing for hundreds of bucks.

This is my hell and here I rot
For one of the gods. alas, I'm not.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Systems Dynamics: America's Best-Kept Secret

   According to a Macmillan business book entitled  The Stuff Americans Are Made Of  by Josh Hammond and James Morrison, in what’s called The Orange Grove Experiment, a typical science class assignment for twelve-year-olds in a certain school in Tucson,  Arizona, is plotting the ideal location for a nuclear power plant in four south-western states according to criteria such as water supply, distance from populated areas, terrain requirements, workforce, seismic fault lines, emergency escape routes and so on with the help of a computer model.

   A typical math class assignment for twelve-year-olds in the same school is using a hypothetical credit card to pay hypothetical bills and buy hypothetical necessities or otherwise within credit limits while maintaining a payment schedule involving percentages, decimals, interest rates and penalties.

   To add to the excitement, students get fired from hypothetical jobs so as to make the task of maintaining a good credit relationship with their hypothetical creditors even more challenging.

  Elsewhere, in a class the authors used to call ‘civics’, students hold mock jury trials or town council meetings to discuss raising local taxes to rebuild the town hall while in other classes computer models are used to experiment with simulated versions of literary works such as George Orwell’s Animal Farm or study the mechanism of biological systems or dog-eat-dog relationships in the wild.

   And all of this in a school for eleven-, twelve- and thirteen-year-olds!

   Equally revolutionary is the way chewing gum once disposed of the usual way is no longer a problem for the school’s janitor and the existence of some sort of a group buddy-buddy system that helps students cope even with the loss of a family pet, let alone other more serious personal tragedies, domestic traumas or emotional upheavals.

   Revolutionary stuff indeed and all of it based on what’s called a systems dynamics approach first conceptualized by Professor Jay Forrester of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and applicable to any system from corporations to classrooms, even domestic households.

   The school this systems dynamics approach was first adopted and implemented is the Orange Grove Middle School in Tucson, Arizona, and by the time the Hammond-Morrison book was published in 1996, it wasn’t the only school – elementary, middle or high – in Tucson or elsewhere in the U.S. smitten by the systems dynamics concept.

   How much more of the U.S. was there that has been similarly smitten by this dynamic concept at school level since then I personally didn’t know at the moment, but the point is, based on additional information gleaned from the book concerned, my calculations are the U.S. has had at least a ten-year head start in this matter.

   Woe betide the rest of the world – developed, still developing or under-developed – if my calculations are wrong and the U.S. has had more than a ten-year head start regarding the issue at hand.

Copyright 2000 Thomas L. Carlos

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Limericks, Anyone?

There was a young lady from Leeds
Who nurtured her garden with seeds;
She watered and trimmed
And slogged till she slimmed
But all that did blossom were weeds.

There was a young student from Spain
Whose project was 'What Made It Rain';
She wrote in a book
Which I had a look,
'The fog needs to clear in my brain'.

There was a young lad from Tahiti

Whose passion was spray paint graffiti;
He wrote on the dome
Of St. Peter's in Rome:

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Child Prodigy Theory Of Reincarnation

(states that)

Child prodigies are reincarnated individuals whose exceptional skills or abilities in any particular field were acquired in a previous life or accumulated over a period of multiple lifetimes and are thus exhibited at an early age upon rebirth.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Tips For Suicidal Road Users

1. Do not slow down when approaching traffic light junctions 
    and the light is about to change from green to red.  Nah, 
    that's for wimps. Step on the gas and heaven have mercy   
    on whoever's stupid enough to believe red means you're 
    gonna stop dead even at 120 mph. Continue stepping on 
    the gas should the wail of police sirens be heard behind 
    you shortly afterwards, and once they pull up alongside as 
    normally happens, unless of course you're in a Ferrari or 
    one of its categorical cousins, (a) wave a bogus doctor's    
    bag and yell, "Emergency! Emergency, you dolts!" (b) flash 
    a bogus undercover cop's badge and yell,"Pursuing 
    suspects! Pursuing suspects, you clowns!" (c) flash a bogus 
    government official's ID card and give them that haven't-
    you-idiots-better-things-to-do look.  If nothing works, let's 
    hope you're in a Ferrari or one of its categorical cousins 
    should such a scenario be forthcoming.

2. Do not wait for the light to change from red to green at 
     traffic light junctions and you're in pole position. Nah,    
     that's also for wimps. Step on the gas and to hell with the 
     consequences should any be forthcoming. Deal with 
     wailing police sirens in the manner recommended above 
     should any be forthcoming too.

3. Do not waste time looking for u-turn exit points or other 
     legal direction-reversing means in the event there's none 
     conveniently located as is generally the case at traffic light 
     junctions. Nah, that's also for wimps. Make u-turns 
     anywhere at will especially where none are conveniently 
     located and to hell with the consequences should any be 
     forthcoming, Once again, deal with wailing police sirens  
     in the manner prescribed above should any be 
     forthcoming too. Should you also get honked at as a result 
     of any of the above stunts, do not only honk back - that's 
     what drivers acquainted with each other do all the time 
     upon passing each other. Let fly also with a hand gesture 
     of any insulting or defiant sort, preferably emphasized by 
     verbal accompaniment.

4. Do not waste time looking for designated parking lots or 
     bays when needing to park at your desired destination or 
     momentarily stop somewhere. Nah, that's also for wimps. 
     Pull over and stop or park anywhere at will regardless of 
     parking space availability or legality or cop presence. A 
     favorite spot is by the roadside just after exiting a junction 
     of any sort, alongside blind corners or other parked 
     vehicles regardless of their parked positions, butt sticking 
     out or otherwise. Deal with cop interference or blaring 
     horns in the manner outlined above should any be 
     forthcoming too.

5. Do not waste time looking for overhead pedestrian bridges 
     or crossings when crossing roads on foot. Nah, that's also 
     for wimps. Cross roads anywhere at will regardless of 
     traffic conditions or cop presence. A favorite method is to 
     wait in the middle of the road after crossing one side and 
     then crossing the other side from there. The same 
     technique is to be employed when crossing multiple lane 
     roads or highway segments. Highly recommended for 
     people with a strong death wish. Suggested background 
     music - The Death Waltz In C Minor.