Monthly Archives: December 2010

Unexpected Malaysian public holidays

When Malaysia won the AFF Suzuki Cup on the evening of the 29th of December, it marked the first time in 21 years that the senior football team had won an international tournament.

The same evening, the Prime Minister declared New Year’s Eve a national public holiday.

That could cause some confusion – what if I’ve already applied for annual leave and it was approved way before the tournament started? Can I replace it with another day?

Update 15th Jan 2011: our admin section said what would be done would be simply this: the number of days that I applied for leave would simply be deducted by one.

What were other dates which were unexpectedly declared national public holidays? On Saturday 16th May 1992 Malaysia won the Thomas Cup after a 25-year wait – was the next Monday a public holiday?

Whatever it is, that’d be one extra day for whatever one would like to do, like training for that upcoming sports meet or even somedog training

Now is the best time to purchase Christmas trees

On the Monday after Christmas (27th December), I saw the following at a shop selling Christmas trees in Asia City, downtown Kota Kinabalu (should be easy enough to locate with your Garmin GPS):

Wrong spelling of Yuletide aside, I guess it’s all business: Christmas mood is over.

Still, if you’re one for preparing early, I guess now is the best time to purchase Christmas trees.

Christmas 2010 – New Year 2011

Christmas mood started way back in August with the annual sale at KK Toys. Then, with The Tree up, the mood’s getting festive:

Christmas Eve

Mass at St Thomas Kepayan, followed by dinner at Botot’s in-law’s house.

Christmas Day

In true 1World (we’re way more advanced than 1Malaysia here) style, everybody got presents, even the children of the workers:

Photo taking at 1Borneo has become something of a tradition.

Then there’s the Christmas gathering at Bukit Aman (no, not the police HQ) in which the Royal Rumble of the Year took place.

26th December

Stopped by an uncle’s Christmas open house, then back to KK for the presents opening day:

Linda got so many presents I lost count – I think it was definitely more than 20, and during the holidays she was holding on to one too many snacks, I’d rather there were more fruit baskets lying around rather than those all too familiar plastic packaging.

28th December

Back-to-school shopping during the day. Plans to do some outdoor painting thwarted yet again by heavy rains.

Kudos to the carollers, our house was their 17th and second last stop and they arrived around 11.30pm, yet still sang with surprising energy:

New Year’s Eve

Double housewarming

This coffee’s name made me laugh

In Sabah / at least certain parts of it, and I happened to hail from that certain part, the very sight of this coffee’s packaging would elicit a certain smile:

Photo credit: Dean Kimara

…for “galak” can mean a certain part of the male anatomy.

And looking at the ingredients list, it seems to have everything under the sun: Rancang Besi? Sounds like “Iron Plan” to me – wonder what that is.

For those involved in selling this, I’d say this item would provide them with one of their most interesting merchandiser jobs ever.

Datuk Juhar Mahiruddin is the 10th governor of Sabah

It seems that David Thien of is the first news portal to report this, as of 10.30am today.

Datuk Hj Juhar Hj Mahiruddin, 57, a lawyer and the current Speaker of the Sabah State Legislative Assembly (since 2002) will officially take his oath as the tenth governor (Tuan Yang Terutama – TYT) of Sabah on 1st January 2011 for a minimum 4 year term (max is 2 terms).

Hence, Juhar upstaged the following aspirants for the post:
- Tan Sri Hamid Egoh, former State Secretary
- Datuk Iliyas Ibrahim, Kota Kinabalu City Mayor
- Datuk Yussof Kassim, former Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary
- Datuk Yahya Hussin, deputy chief minister
- Tan Sri Ampong Puyon, veteran politician

This means, of the 10 governors, 5 are politicians, the rest civil servants.

And now that we have a new TYT for the first time in 8 years, I suppose there’ll be quite a few changes up at the palace on the hill, perhaps even the bird baths would be replaced…

Lesson learnt: never delete video footage you took

Back in December 2008 I happened to take a video of a horseracing accident at the old Royal Sabah Turf Club, Tanjung Aru.

Then, I committed a cardinal sin: after uploading the footage to youtube, I deleted the original.

A few months down the road, I’ve totally forgotten about the video until the 17th of April 2009 when I got this message via youtube:


Im interested in knowing more about a video posted of a horse racing accident. Do you own the footage / know who does?

YouTube Preview Image

Im working on a show for Animal Planet called Untamed and Uncut which airs dramatic encounters with animals including attacks, rescues and accidents. We strive to tell great stories about animal and human triumph with an emphasis on animal behavior and scientific explanations.

All stories are accompanied by computer generated effects and animation to educate and enlighten the public on the scientific aspect of the animals behavior.

Please take a minute to watch a sample of our stories in the link below:

Any additional information you can give me on this video would be great. We would love to pay the owner of the footage to use this for our show. Any lead would be great.

Thank you so much for your time. I hope to hear from you soon,

Joselyn Arroyo
Segment Producer
Animal Planet
“Untamed and Uncut”
3151 Cahuenga Blvd. #300
Hollywood, Ca 90068
(323) 785-7347

A few messages later, she mentioned that Animal Planet would like to license the footage, of course for the purpose of payment and “possibly use this for our show.”

That was followed by two phonecalls from Linda / Vicki from their clearance department.

Then there was discussion about taking things to the story producer, in order to arrange interviews with “the person who was hurt, a witness and an expert.” And, “since I was at the scene, I would be interviewed.” Yes, they were getting ready to fly all the way from the USA to Sabah to do all that.

Still, there was concern whether simply getting the youtube video would be good enough. The post production crew was asked about this, and unfortunately, apparently it wasn’t.

So one can say I blew my chance of appearing in a popular TV channel shown in more than 70 countries around the world, and getting paid handsomely for it, surely unleashing a torrent of christmas gift ideas.

So, the moral of the story is: if ever you take an interesting video, do post it on youtube and never ever delete the original!

Tasers / stun guns in Malaysia

The Malay Mail reported on 15th December 2009 that the Malaysian police force has had stun guns since 2007, but had not deployed them widely: only 210 of the Taser X26 variey has been distributed nationwide since mid 2009.

A taser reportedly cost some RM10,000 each, and to work it needs a “cartridge” costing an additional RM200. A set comes equipped with a holster. It needs a non-rechargeable lithium battery which is able to generate 195 cartridge shots. For each patrol round, a policeman will be issued 4 cartridges, so apparently a cartridge can only be used once.

It added that the force wanted all 30,000 policemen to carry one during their 24-hour patrol beats. The budget would come from the 10th Malaysia Plan.

The first reported case of a stun gun or taser being used by the Malaysian police was in September 2009, when a man running amok in Melaka while holding 2 parangs was tasered, which resulted in him being “immediately incapacitated by the electrical shock,” hence enabling policemen to arrest him.

As for local criminals, as early as 2003, they have been reported using tasers in the country. Apparently one can buy stun guns for less than RM50 at roadside stalls in Malaysia, and get one strong enough to kill a person for a few hundred ringgit. This is indeed a worrying trend and need to nipped at the bud before it goes out of control.

Would you send your child to this tuition centre?

Across the road from my kids’ school in Penampang, one could see the following banner being displayed:

Would you still send your son / daughter to this place for tuition, even for subjects other than English, after reading it?

First impressions are very important, so I certainly would not!

Don’t want to sound unkind, but probably the only good thing about the ad is that it helped to build muscles of those who put the banner up?!

The many guises of PEKEMAS

Between 1971 and 1978, Pekemas was Parti Keadilan Masyarakat Malaysia, or Social Justice Party of Malaysia, co-founded by the late Tan Sri David Tan Chee Khoon (1919-1996), the Opposition leader 1964-1978.

Nowadays, Pekemas can be…

…Pertubuhan Masyarakat Miskin dan Kurang Upaya Sabah [basically: Association for the Poor and Disabled of Sabah], sounds like an NGO fighting for affordable health insurance for the needy;

or even Persatuan Kebudayaan Masyarakat Siam Negeri Kedah [basically: Cultural Association for people of Siamese descent of Kedah].

If Facebook can trademark “face”, who can trademark “Tamparuli”?

As I browsed around the Servay Penampang supermarket last month, I came across this…

… which made we wonder: can the very word “Tamparuli” be trademarked i.e. people can’t simply use it as a name for their biscuits and display it prominently in the packaging?

If Facebook can claim that “face” is theirs, if Apple can claim that “pod” belongs to them, if Google bristles when someone else even so much as use a word that ends in “oogle,” what can stop the use of any name from being the exclusive right of an individual/organisation?

Still, I shudder to think that Roman Catholics might one day be required to get written permission from Sir Richard Branson before they can pray to the Virgin™ Mary.

If everybody’s allowed to trademark a particular word/phrase, then ultimately it could cost a bomb just to write a sentence, eg: the word “flash” as claimed by Adobe Flash, the world “desire” as used by htc desire 2.2 etc.

Herald Scotland, 3 Dec 2010