Category Archives: Events and Happenings

WOW…. Sixth Sense ROCKS!

Fancy being able to look cOoL like Tom Cruise in the sci-fi movie  Minority Report ? Fancy being able to calculate your bills by having a number pad projected onto your palms …. or picking up a book & having an Amazon book rating projected on the book cover ……

Sixth Sense , a wearable gestural interface, is the  device to look out for.

Researchers from the media lab in MIT say…… “The device can help a user to interact with the environment with natural gestures and there by perceiving the meta data about the subjects in real-time.”

 It comprises a camera, a battery operable projector, a mirror, tracker caps (all wearable around your neck) & they are all connected to your phone, which is for computation & communication purposes.

For example, if you want information about a certain product (i.e.  a book) that you’re buying, you just face the subject with the camera. By just using natural physical gestures (much like drawing with your fingers in the air), the camera picks up the commands & calls up the information (very much like Googling … sans the typing). The beauty is, this info that comes up can be projected on ANY surface, i.e. a book, a wall, even your hand. Fussfree I say.

This gadget is the brainchild of Pranav Mistry (pic), a Phd student in MIT & is being flooded with rave reviews … Although still a work in progress, imagine the potential… It not only opens up new avenues in the information age … it also provides a lot of potential for the physically challenged i.e. the deaf and the blind …. And …. at the cost of  only USD350 … so they say …

See it for yourself here in the video demo for this device …… it truly is fantastic & relevant to the times! Talk about thinking out of the box, Pranav Mistry is a GENIUS!

Advertisements

I have a confession to make …… I’m an addict!

According to Wikipedia: 

The term “addiction” is used in many contexts to describe an obsession, compulsion, or excessive physical dependence or psychological dependence, such as: drug addiction, crime, alcoholism, compulsive overeating, problem gambling, computer addiction, pornography, etc.

Oh dear … did I just see computer addiction in the definition … YIKES … I AM AN ADDICT!!!!!! A computer addict! A Facebook addict & A Flickr addict!  

Well you shouldn’t be surprised. The keyword for addiction is obsession & compulsion! So, it is only natural an OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE like me …… gets hooked easily…. on some habit!!!!!!!!!!! Phew, luckily, it does not include physical activities like trekking etc in the definition … or else I’d be labled a TREKKIE ADDICT or an ADRENALIN ADDICT too!!!!!! Off the hook there….. Thank goodness for that. Can’t afford rehab for so many addictions!!!!

facebookLet’s talk about the source of my FB addiction first… You see, if was our trekking activities that got me started on it.  The people we met were mostly FB members… Well, since I was not an FB member back then, I obviously had to ask for people’s email addresses ~ So, I communicated via these portals. But after numerous treks, some of them who got familiar with me, started asking me repeatedly WHY WHY WHY aren’t you in FB. Ummm…well how about ‘preserving my privacy?’. Does that constitute a good answer? 

However, one of the main activities of FB is the exchange of comments made on pictures after certain events & some of the exchanges are really hilarious!  Fat Dragon was kind enough to update me on the chit chat going on …. Well… given the high turnover of comments, FD just couldn’t cope with providing the service to me anymore  …… & so he offered to ‘open an account’ for me.

Well, he didn’t need to. I ‘opened an account’ myself.  Well, curiosity has killed the cat ~ or rather the horse 🙂  It’s only been about a month since I joined & there’s no turning back………. I’m hooked. Each time I log on to the computer, I sign on to FB on…..sigh….  this is bad.  Well, one good thing has come out of it though… Fat Dragon and I are having a blast of a time doing things like Rafflesia hunting &  waterfall hunting, activities made possible by outdoor groups in FB. Activities that we would not have been able to do ourselves. Some of the places we go to are remote & if you pay guides to help you go in, it would be expensive. FB has opened up a new avenue for Cuti Cuti Malaysia I would say, at backpacker prices.  So, this addiction is a small price to pay ….  I think … Hey, and I’m not alone you know. Do you know if you google ‘FB addiction’, you’d get 4.4million hits! This is a serious social phenomena, man!  But I take consolation in knowing that I’m just a drop in the ocean of FB addicts!!!!!!!  If you’re not sure whether you’re a facebook addict … well, check out THIS video & see how many YES’s you answer to the checklist given. 

My 2nd addiction is Flickr. Flickr is an avenue for sharing photos & videos. My Flickr account was set up half a year ago after Fat Dragon bought me a Lumix Panasonic digital camera as an anniversary present.  When I got the present, I thought to myself… Oh but I don’t take pictures ….! You see, coz I laugh at people cam whoring themselves to the max, taking picture after picture of themselves.  This Flickr addiction came full bloom from October actually. Before that I was just taking pictures of  objects in the house & then I graduated to animals in the zoo. But what got me hooked was when I visited other people’s photostreams & discovered the world of abstract photography, minimalism, creative photography & photoshop editing!!!!!!!

So now, I take pictures whenever I can, when I’m at home, when I’m out so that  I can  doctor them ~ & then I can’t wait to upload them every other day! In fact, some of the Flickr members have a project to upload a picture a day for 365 days.  Be warned though if you do pay the site a visit, whilst FD’s photostream is filled with beautiful sceneries & National Geographic type of pictures,  my pictures are quirky &  a product of my whim and fancy…. not everyone’s cup of tea I’m afraid… ahahahah! Well, they do say one man’s meat is another man’s poison!   

So there you go………… Now that you know, I’m an addict ….

Can I still be your friend???????  Muahahahhhhhhhhhh!

The significance of Dec 1 …

aids-ribbonIt is World Aids Day …. 

And I’m happy to report Bolehland’s efforts in promoting awareness amongst the people …

Well, the word “CONDOM” is banned on air. For the adult audience, I’m sure the move is purely designed to remove a certain stirring in the loins that the word might elicit. That’s a big NO NO of course. For the PG rating audience, they should not be exposed to such a word as it might give them ideas about having sex too early.

Such is Bolehland’s ingenuity, such is Bolehland’s sincerity in promoting awareness.

Fact is, people with HIV/AIDS are still affected by the stigma attached to the disease. This is prevalent in workplaces, schools and even amongst healthcare workers. It was reported in the NST today that some private hospitals have refused to accept expentant mothers who have AIDS and there were incidences where doctors refused to do the surgery. Well, that’s because people are unsure how to deal with HIV/AIDS patients. There is a lack of AWARENESS!!!!!

Prof Dr. Adeeba Kamarulzaman, the president of the Malaysian AIDS Council and Chairman of the Malaysian AIDS foundation has said “We are not able to give out proper information about AIDS and how people get infected ….”

Well, are you surprised ….. you’re not allowed to use the word “C _ _ D _ _ ” remember?

STOP AIDS. Keep the promise.

 

Our virgin A1GP experience…

I only need 3 words to describe our virgin A1GP experience from 3pm to 4.30pm in Sepang last Sunday, the 23rd of Nov 2008 …… Pure adrenalin rush!

There were 5 of us at the race – Fat Dragon, KC, Faith,  Shawn & myself – all of whom have never been to a motor race in our lives. The only thing we knew was that we have a circuit in Sepang and there are F1 races held there in March every year (we know coz there’s a MEGASALE accompanying this event all the time). We know that F1 pits different car makers against each other. A1, pits nations against each other, so they drive cars of only one make i.e. Ferrari.  Well, that is all the information that the 5 of us (put together) knew. Kind of, pathetic, right?

So, why on earth would we brave the jam to go see an A1GP Feature Race (the 3rd race for the season)… a race we knew little about. Did we not have anything better to do than to watch 19 cars from different countries go round and round 34 times through the whole length of the circuit for an hour and 10 minutes? Does not make sense. You might say.   

The magic word is FREE. You see, we had FREE GRAND STAND TICKETS, thanks to KC. Who could pass up on that? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!

We seriously did not deserve to be at the race – We had no inkling what was going on. A sample of the conversation we had between each other was – “So who’s leading, ah?”, “Ummm, the fluorescent green car!”, “No. 2 is also green.”, “Which one is Malaysia’s car?”, “Umm, the yellow one.”,  “What’s the driver’s name?”, “Ummm…. Fairuz something.” “Wah, damn good lah the green car! Nobody can catch up with him man!”, “The orange car is following Malaysia so closely – dangerous!”, “Fuyoh, Malaysia just overtook the white grey car!” ….

Tak ada respect betul! We reduced Ireland, Portugal & Italy to a flurry of fluorescent green, the ‘No. 2 green‘ & the White Grey  images without batting an eye lid ….. ! That’s what you get for not doing research before embarking on something foreign….. & poor Roaring Forties eyesight of course. You see, the names of the countries could be found at the back of the A1 vehicles but hey … its not easy to read something printed on the back of something traveling in the regions of 200kph ok?

Following this, you might think, those jokers must have been BORED stiff. Wonder if they left early.

Actually, we sat through the whole race – all 34 laps. Unbelievable, right? .. But, I can’t begin to describe to you the feeling you get when you’re there witnessing the LIVE event … 

Your ear drums feel like they’re about to burst when the cars race past. Your jaws seem to vibrate. Your heart seems to be jumping out of your rib cage. What an ADRENALIN RUSH to the power of infinity! I cannot explain it. Maybe it was symbolic of the skill & precision required in winning a race, the endurance & strength of the drivers, the power of the engines, the sheer raw guts, the glamour …

100% of our attention was on the track. We kept an eagle eye on each and every car (even though it was identified only by colour) whenever they came to the circuit stretch facing our seats. Look at the map below for an idea of our position. We were seated in the Grandstands facing the 14 to 15 stretch. Must say it offered a great vantage point as we could see & hear the cars coming once they reached point 7 itself.

sepang_black460x256

We held our breaths when cars tried to overtake at the 9 & 15 corner stretches. We were awed by the top speeds (up to 240kph) in the straight stretch between 14 and 15. Last but not least … we were carried by the ROAR of the engines …  it was simply MAGNIFICENT. We were cheering & clapping …. for YELLOW of course..ahahaahaah!!!!!

Believe you me, what you see on TV is NOTHING. It does not come close to anything that you experience when you see a race LIVE, albeit just an A1 race.

Not one complaint came out of our mouths. No one complained of boredom. No one complained about the dirty seats. No one complained about the heat from the afternoon sun. No one regretted coming. Fullstop.

Conclusion: We left Sepang with a very satisfied feel & a new determination to learn more about the sport. We did have a few contentions with the organisers on how they could have stepped up the facilities in the circuit a bit more. The displays should have been working so that the spectators were aware of lap numbers, times, car positions. The venue should have been better maintained. The traffic jam and parking facilities better managed. But hey, those things were secondary in our minds. To use motorsport analogy, our engines have been revved,  a combustion of sorts has been ignited …. I have a feeling a FAN, i.e. moi, is born ….!!!!!

I’m still on a high as I type of this blog…my head is still reeling (in a good way, of course) from the experience. FUYOH!

VROOOOOOM VROOOOOOOOM VROOOOOOOOOM VROOOOOOOOOMMMM 

P.S. I have a confession to make, the 5 of us were so hooked that we watched the feature race again on Astro that night in our house after dinner for race reviews & highlights! Believe it or not.

P.P.S. Oh FYI, the YELLOW car – the one driven by Fairuz Fauzy for Malaysia… It finished 10th, thereby earning 1 point in the championship. He could have had a podium finish as he was in 3rd placing for quite a few laps but he made a bizarre pit stop on the 17th lap. Apparently he thought he was called in by his team but it was a communication glitch. The call was made by another country’s team to their driver but Fairuz heard the radio call instead. Drama drama betul! Oh, and the fluorescent green car driven by Adam Carroll for Ireland went on to win the race that afternoon. Check out the highlights on this link.

P.P.P.S. Next race, Taupo, New Zealand. Jan 25, 09. Till then….

 

The American Dream lives on…

barack1I am a cynic where politics is concerned but I take my hats off to America.

Clichéd though it may sound, they have proven to the world that the American Dream does exist.  Let’s take a look at Barack Obama. He’s  a 47 year old Illinois Senator with  only 4 years experience. He was born in Hawaii. He  lived in Indonesia during his early adolescent years ..  AND he has Hussein for a middle name. And guess what  ….. he will be the 44th US President come January 20, 2009. The first black president in the history of the U.S.A.

He will be the most powerful man, in one of the most powerful nations in the world, for the next four years…at least.  

There’s no denying that  bigotry and prejudice exists in this vast continent. It exists everywhere for God’s sake. But it appears quite a few Americans managed to look past the colour of his skin and his middle name and voted for change.  It was not about the individual. It was about the cause.

349 electoral votes vs. 162. A clear endorsement. 

Some say that the Republicans got voted out as a result of the economic crisis. Brushing critics aside,  the majority of Americans scored high in the department of racial acceptance.  It was only 45 years ago, that the height of the civil rights movement brought on by Martin Luther King came into play. Those were times when segregationist policies in the South were still being practised. And yet today, … America has voted for a black President. A black president in white America. A historic moment indeed.

The NST reported yesterday that Obama once said at the 2004 Democratic National Convention: “As I stand here today, grateful for the diversity of my heritage, aware that my parents’ dreams live on in my two precious daughters. I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all those who came before me, and that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.” …  “Only in America.”

I couldn’t agree more. Only in America.

Will there ever be a similar story told in Bolehland … the land that I live on …, I wonder? Only if you believe in miracles, I suppose.

 

Watch out! It’s LOOKISM folks……

Wow, I think a lot of us are still a bit stunned at the shocking revelation by the ceremony’s music director Chen Qigang about the little girl who was just not pretty enough to show up to sing live at the Beijing Olympics Opening ceremony.

The little song bird Yang Pei Yi, who was slated to be a rising star, has buck teeth and a chubby face.

When interviewed by the Beijing People’s Broadcasting Station, music chief Chen said that leaders from various government agencies came to watch the opening ceremony rehearsals in the Bird’s Nest and “…a leader from the Politburo, who gave us his opinion, (said) this has to change”.

So the cuter pig tailed Lin Miaoke came into the picture. She was apparently “flawless in image, internal feelings, and expression”.  Oh, but can she sing? Not good enough obviously. Solution, get Lin Miaoke to lip sync the recording of patriotic song Ode to the Motherland  sung by Yang Pei Yi as China’s national flag was carried into the stadium, a key moment in the three hour ceremony.

In the end ….  What we heard, was the perfect voice of Yang. What we saw, was the perfect face of Lin. Problem solved. 

My two sen worth. There’s a word in the English Language for discrimination or prejudice based on appearance. It’s not widely used but can be found in major English Language dictionaries. The word is  LOOKISM.  The word may be uncommon but sadly, this form of discrimination is NOT so uncommon. Let’s see how lookism is practised as defined by Wikipedia:

  • “Researchers have found that good looking students get higher grades from their teachers than students with an ordinary appearance.
  • … attractive patients receive more personalized care from their doctors.
  • Studies have even shown that handsome criminals receive lighter sentences than less attractive convicts.
  • How much money a person earns may also be influenced by physical beauty. One study found that people low in physical attractiveness earn 5 to 10 percent less than ordinary looking people, who in turn earn 3 to 8 percent less than those who are considered good looking.”

What is beauty? Some people say beauty is all about symmetry. Some say it is youth. The media also strongly promotes beauty as being light on the scales. The whitening cream people will tell you its a fair & white complexion. The list is endless. What happened to – Inner beauty. Grace. Personality. Intelligence. Elegance. Charm. Oh well, you might as well throw it out of the window I guess. Useless, they say. Not so useless, I say.

Universal though lookism may be, the perception of beauty is however a harder subject to tackle. Just how do we discriminate between a beauty and a non beauty. It is not an exact science I’m afraid. It isn’t just about the pursuit of the perfect symmetry or looks. I’m sure if you throw a Twiggy like figure (when she was young) in front of Michelangelo he’d flip in his grave. After all, he is responsible for producing the sculpture of David which is a famous work on symmetry.  If stout figures were desirable during the Victorian Ages, its obviously history. Today, the complete opposite look is desirable. Stick thin figures rule bringing on the onset of eating disorders like bulimia & anorexia.  But then again, our perception of beauty is very much influenced by the media and the entertainment industry. So kudos to brandnames like Dove who have promoted advertisements featuring plus size women and ordinary day to day women.

Beauty is also culturally sensitive. A Polynesian man would view a woman with an ample figure of voluptuous proportions as beautiful, but in other cultures this very same woman could be labled ‘obese’. Or if you throw a bride in front of a tribal man in the Lao Cao region (in Vietnam) with a row of straight, WHITE teeth, he’d say – she’s not beautiful enough. Bring the charcoal – her front teeth need to be blackened. Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder indeed!

I’d like to end this blog with a tribute to Little Yang Peiyi, you might not be considered pretty enough to be shown in the Olympics ceremony but hey, you’re beautiful enough in our eyes. You have a beautiful voice and you are beautiful in your own way, buck teeth and all.  Beauty is skin deep but inner beauty lasts forever.

P.S. Here’s a little glossary for those who are not too familiar with 2 expressions with the word beauty in it:

  • Beauty lies/is in the eye of the beholderLiteral meaning. It means that beauty is very much an individual opinion. Different people might have different perceptions of beauty.
  • Beauty is skin deep. – It alludes to the fact that physical beauty is superficial. Outward appearance is not as important as inner beauty.

…. of pigtails & aphrodisiacs….!!!!!

We were breaking plates…. We were guzzling German Weisen beer (dark wheat beer)……We were sucking gravy laced fingers & slobbering away – Our motto for the night “Bring on the cholesterol!”…

…Definitely not a typical Wednesday night but what the heck, we were having a ball of a time celebrating the homecoming of Pink Jeans & ML who are back for their summer hols at El Cerdo’s situated along the very hip Changkat Bukit Bintang. It was a night to EAT, DRINK and be VERY MERRY for Doug, Mich, Yit, VM, ML, Pink Jeans, DS, FD & I ….. 

No prizes for guessing what was for dinner. PIG of course….or PIGLET to be exact. Well, we all sobered up as required by decorum, when the hostess offered to tell us the story of our little friend who was lying inate on a wooden platter, all browned & roasted into a crispy delicacy … waiting to be devoured. You see, as introductions went by, we found out our little cooked friend was a German. It was only three weeks old. It had its body bathed in a white wine marinate for 3 days before it was thrown into a ‘roaring spit’ so to say……… (Please don’t be fooled – not one Roaring Fortier batted an eyelid upon hearing the narrative – Pink Jeans  commented, “I’d eat it even if it had a name”“Aye! Aye! PJ”. We meat eaters should just be upfront about it. No room for hypocrisy here)……. And so it goes, that the crispy, juicy  carcass was to be chopped into small pieces with plates by the guys…. Yup, you read right, you get to chop it up yourself with a plate, not a knife. You even get to break it into a wooden bucket, with a noisy clang -for GOOD LUCK apparently. Wasteful you say? Oh heck – break away – you’re paying for it)  …….. The finale entails our little roasted buddy being  eaten from “nose to tail” as the restaurant’s tag line suggests… Ah, bliss!!! (Apologies to vegetarians if this sounds offensive)

Needless to say, gluttony ruled that night & the nose to tail experience was so good, we ordered a second piglet for the night. (Sigh…gotta exercise harder the next day… oh but that’s another day)………….

Now, whilst the two piggies were being gobbled up, the usual jostling & fighting for choice pieces came about until we reached the “apple stalk of a thing” with a curl at the end resting on the laurels of our roasted piggy……..i.e. the tail –  “You eat it”, “No You eat it”…. DS ended up eating the first pig tail and then when the 2nd pig tail was up for grabs, the guys suggested “Why don’t one of the girls eat it……” ….. Now the hostess could not help overhearing and decided that some intervention was required. “NO!! GIRLS CANNOT EAT IT”. “Do you know what happens if you eat the tail?” …..which prompted a quick “NO”  from all of us. “TELL US!”. “Shan’t tell you guys until you decide who’s going to eat the 2nd tail”……. “Aw come on …” … and then it was decided ….. “VMYOU eat the 2nd tail!” …

Then she lays it on us….. (looking at VM & DS)….. “The PIG tail is going to make the guys strong tonight!” which produced an all round “Whoa!!!”  from everyone …. curious eyes darting back & forth between DS & VM. Pressure Pressure. Well, the pig’s tail is apparently an aphrodisiac.

First I’ve heard of really!

According to Wikipedia,

“An aphrodisiac is an agent which is used in the belief that it increases sexual desire. The name comes from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sensuality. Throughout history, many foods, drinks, and behaviors have had a reputation for making sex more attainable and/or pleasurable”

I’ve heard of animal based aphrodisiacs like tigers’ penises & rhinoceros’ horns  but pig’s tail is new to me. Now male libido is clearly linked to the levels of testosterone right? So it is alleged that you can elevate it by eating parts of male animal anatomies. As for the pig’s tail? What if the tail came from a female? Wouldn’t that boost your estrogen levels? Now would that still give men the desired effect … anyway, awaiting feedback from VM & DS. Who knows, if the tail came from a female piggie it may even boost your alternative sexual desires!!!!! Food for thought.

YUM SENG EVERYONE! … eh heh heh heh …..

 P.S. Welcome back Pink Jeans & fly, ML & fly.

P.P.S. To the rest of the party – Viva la Good Food, Good Drinks & last but not least Good Company!

P.P.P.S. Viva la Non Halal Restaurants the ultimate EAT, DRINK & BE MERRY experience. In case you’re interested in going to El Cerdo, the address is No. 43 – 45, Changkat Bukit Bintang.  For a quick guide on where Changkat BB is, refer to this map, courtesy of Radius Hotel. El Cerdo is not far from the hotel.