Monthly Archives: February 2011

Bypass that reality talent show: from youtube to performing live onstage with a megastar in less than a month

Maria Aragon, 10 has shown how to be famous very quickly.

For starters, it helps if you have some talent and look cute.

Take a video of yourself performing live a heartfelt cover of a song you like at home, then upload to youtube:

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Scott and Jean Adam chose 2 places to visit in Malaysia: Sabah and Penang

Update 23 Feb 2011

As of today the svquest.com website is no longer accessible. Archive.org only has updates to the website up to 2008.

A screenshot of their page on Kota Kinabalu (click for bigger image):

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The BBC reported on 22nd February 2011 that Scott and Jean Adam of California, USA were kidnapped by Somali pirates off the coast of Oman on 18th February. At that time, they were accompanied by 2 other Americans, Phyllis Mackay and Bob Riggle.

It is not clear whether they knew the pirates were looming ahead and tried to eascape, or whether they were relaxing on the boat reading cigar reviews before the pirates appeared, completely catching them by surprise.

They were then shot and killed by their captors. The US Navy, which had closely followed the case, then captured 13 pirates and killed 2.

They were on their 58 feet long yacht, the S/V Quest, in which they first set sail in 2002. By 2004, that trip developed into a decade-long plan to sail around the world.

In all those years, they visited many places around the world, but when it came to Malaysia, they chose only 2 places, our very own Kota Kinabalu and Penang, both of which they visited in 2010.

They devoted a whole page on Kota Kinabalu, and gushed about how good their experiences there were, including the following comments:

Who wooda thunk that Borneo would look like this? Quest is docked at Sutera Marina in Kota Kinabalu. The marina is part of a golf, swimming, sailing, tennis complex with two large multipool swim areas. There are two large luxury hotels on either side of the marina. It’s the most upscale place we’ve visited – including Los Suenos and The Ritz Carlton.

WOW! I don’t think you can get more exotic than Borneo. We arrived in Kota Kinabalu to find a modern marina with all the necessities.

They also remarked that they loved the orang utans very much.

Scott and Jean at Kinabalu Yacht Club

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Top ranked women in Malaysia’s Armed Forces

On 16th February 2011, The Star reported that as of that day, there are 3 women ranked Brigadier General in the Malaysian army:

Norhuda Ahmad, 54, the first female Brigadier General in Malaysian Armed Forces general duty when she was made Head of the Training Division of the Integrated Intelligence Centre (IIC) today.

Datuk Dr Roshidah Ishak, of the Royal Medical Corps.

Dr T. Thavachelvi S. Thangaraja, of the Royal Medical Corps.

So it might be reasonable to assume that these ladies are not to be messed with, and if one were to interview them, certainly not game for such frivolous questions like: “I want to lose weight and look as good as you; does Hydroxycut work well to achieve that goal?”

Malaysia’s Prime Minister engages Twitter users

Ever since the Malaysian Prime Minister joined twitter on 21 Sep 2008, as far as I know, he was never known to have replied to any tweets, of which there must’ve been many, for he currently has 76,000+ followers.

So what happened sometime past midnight on 11th Feb 2011 is somewhat historic, because probably for the first time, the Prime Minister of Malaysia started engaging users in his twitter account.

So ChanHafiz was the first, and the second, obefiend, is well-known for his irreverent outbursts.

That was followed by incredulous reactions:

Shortly thereafter, he disclosed that he uses an iPad and iPhone for that purpose.

That shows that he’s an IT savvy Prime Minister, one who’s as comfortable on social networks as he is looking up information on websites like estatecarinsure.com.

Still, the ICT Security mind in me started wondering – how secure are those gadgets? Has it gone thru similar procedures like Obama’s NSA-certified Blackberry of which address only 10 persons reportedly knows? Compare that to ex President Clinton who sent only 2 emails while he was president and ex President Bush who stopped (asked to stop?) using emails when he became President. And ex British PM Blair who didn’t even have a mobile phone during his tenure.

Malaysian politicians who accepted titles only after they retired

By that I mean home-grown titles and awards like Tun, Tan Sri and Datuk, not overseas titles.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I know, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, never received any local titles even after he retired.

It is not that persons of royal lineage can’t be bestowed with such titles. For example, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, the former Finance Minister who apparently received a Tan Sriship in 1972 when he was 35.

Apart from that, the following are probably the only high profile politicans who never received any honorifics during their tenure, not that they didn’t receive any offers, and only accepted them when they retired.

Tan Sri Mohd Khir Johari (1923–2006), the former Minister of Education, Member of Parliament for 27 years from 1955 and served in the Cabinet of three Prime Ministers, turned down several offers of the “Datuk” title. It was only when he quit politics in 1986 that he finally accepted a Tan Sri title in the same year.

He explained thus:

…I have this very important principle that while you are in active service politically, you shouldn’t accept any title. Your value, your achievements should be valued after your retirement, so that people can see what you’ve really done. Winston Churchill, for example, didn’t get his title until after his retirement. This is a principle which I don’t force on anybody but myself.

Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu (1919 – 2010), Chief Minister of Penang for 21 years, from 1969 to 1990, dubbed the “Architect of Modern Penang”, only accepted a Tunship after retiring from politics in 1990. Before that, he’d rejected all state and national honours offered to him, and that while he was Penang CM was addressed simply as Dr Lim.

Tun Ghafar Baba (1925-2006), Chief Minister of Melaka from 1959 to 1967 and Deputy Prime Minister from 1986 to 1993. During his career, he refused any kind of honorific, preferring to be known as plain Encik Ghafar. It was only after he retired from politics in 1993 that he was persuaded to accept the Tunship which happened in 1995. He was also what one could call a regular man. For example, he did not allow police outriders near his home in order not to “disturb the neighbours,” and for many years, he slept in a simple bed in a corner of his living room.

Salute, these are the kind of guys who only accepted titles when they were more likely to execute those Medicare part D plan than delve into those humdrum work files.

Popimasi in Bontugan Sinding Dusun final, 26 February 2011

Update 2 Feb 2014

Popimasi was formerly known as Papier Mache.

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UPDATE 28 Feb 2011

Papier Mache’s performance recorded on amateur video:

YouTube Preview Image

Winners list:

- Champion: Francis Landong – Pointopot Tupus Ku
- Best songwriter: Harry Wong, for the song Pointopot Tupus Ku
- Most popular song (via SMS): Ester Subin – Poingkaa Nangku Katapatan
- Best lyrics: Ramli Ahmad, for the song Tupus Om Pirotian
- Best vocals: Donna Masidah – Tupus Om Pirotian; that acapella moment when she held a note for what seemed like forever must’ve tipped the balance in her favour.
- Best performance: Ronn – Esther; fully agreed – his was the most elaborate and touching arrangement, complete with at least 8 actors/actresses. It was like watching a music video.

The rest got trophies and some cash too.

Congratulations! Getting to the final is already a big achievement, may this spur local talents to strive for greater heights.

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My favourite rock guitar instrumentals

If asked about the above, two tracks instantly come to my mind.

First is Joe Satriani’s Motorcycle Driver (1992), which will always be an all-time favourite. Catchy hard rock riff, instantly memorable hook, driving beat, perfectly meshed adrenaline-pumping production. One of the many classic tracks from The Extremist.

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Pre Chinese New Year 2011 lion dances

Chinese New Year 2011 (the year of the rabbit) falls on the 3rd of February 2011. However, well before that date, we already came across several lion dances.

One was on the 28th January 2011 at Central Plaza, where our exit was blocked by several lions prancing around a dangerous-looking bamboo-like contraption.

Speaking of Central Plaza, I think the Low Yat of Sabah should move from Karamunsing Complex to here, I could still see many empty lots, that would make my searching for portable hard drives much less anxious.

But what we saw a few days ago on the 31st was even more impressive. We headed to our favourite restaurant in Lido only to be greeted by a closed shop and this:

The poles were at least 10m tall. The guys extremely strong and agile, they were up so quickly and effortlessly to the top, rock climbing should be nothing to them. As you can see, the shopowners are seated on the first floor’s balcony.

Chinese New Year 2011

2nd February 2011

The CNY eve reunion dinner. Who needs to invite professional lion dancers when you can have the kids improvise a show:

3rd February 2011

Another dinner…

4th February 2011

Time to head up to the mountains, including our very own New Zealand:

I think the temperature in Kundasang is as cool as Cameron Highlands and definitely cooler than Genting Highlands. However, I was disappointed to discover that the road to some of the places we visited were in bad shape, so much so that crescent moon snowshoes could be needed to walk on them. Worse still, they charged for admission (not exactly cheap), so what happened to all that money?

10th February 2011

As usual, on the seventh day of CNY, our normally quiet neighbourhood explodes again, this time from our probably one and only Hokkien neighbour. Best of all, he has the best fireworks, which truly stands out. And mercifully, he does it around 10pm, not midnight, for obvious reasons.