Saturday, July 29, 2006

Current events

I am given the task of sharing a message in the PMM youth service tomorrow. As I was doing my research on the net, I have come across the following articles that to me, are written with good intention and sincerity.

Click on if you want to read more. I know, these topics are just not everybody's cup of tea. But like it or not, they are important issues in this country that we live in, and the outcome will affect your life sooner or later, for better or for worse.

Statement on Interfaith Commision Initiative
Has inter-faith friction occured in our multi-racial and multi-religious society? Yes, over and over again, and more to come. Is there an adequate platform to discuss such issues intelectually? None that I know of. Why? Coz the leadership says these are sensitive issues and we are too immature to be even allowed to discuss about it. The IFC initiative hoped to offer a platform to discuss and sort out such issues, offering itself as an advisory body. Unfortunately, some groups have falsely accused the intentions of the IFC, and making protests to protect their ideology. I dunno whether to call it hypocrisy or blind loyalty. More unfortunately, our leadership has bowed to such protests (of mob rule and chaos) and shot down the IFC before it could even begin. Here the chairperson of IFC initiative explains their stand.

Upholding our secular constition
Here's an interview with a senior Muslim lawyer on the need to protect our secular Constitution from increasing pressure from Islamisation and the push for an Islamic state. He is personally involved in the court cases of Lina Joy, Shamala, Moorthy and others. I admire his sincerity in upholding the rights of non-Muslims as guaranteed in the Constitution, despite him being a Muslim lawyer.

Rights of non-Muslims in an Islamic state
Your hear it over and over again... arguments whether Malaysia is an Islamic state or not. The most famous one was 'Malaysia ini negara Islam. You tak suka, you keluar dari Malaysia!' uttered in a shouting match in Parliament last year. The Constitution says Islam is the religion of the Federation. What does that suppose to mean? What is an Islamic state? I am confused. I stumbled upon this article (which is about Islam, not just Malaysian-Islam). You should read it to understand why some things are happening in such a way in Malaysia, and how far we have been led towards an Islamic state.

I say it again, pray for the nation.

How to solve a problem

When there's a problem and it is causing confusion and dissatisfaction, how do you solve it?

First you acknowledge that there is a problem. Usually, you call for a meeting, get the parties to sit together and talk things out, and then try to find a solution that is best for all. If that can't be done, well at least give a clear explanation, and a solution that is favorable to all. The worst thing to do is to pretend that the problem does not exist, everything ok, sweep it under the carpet, and shout 'shut up and just do as I say'. Let's not kid ourselves, the problem will not go away. It'll just wait for the right time to explode.

Unfortunately, people in high positions and leadership posts do not seem to understand the rule of problem solving. I mean THIS. And the big joke is, they are invited as guests to teach about problem solving in another country, when they could not even handle it properly with their own. Read HERE.

To me, it read weak, insincere and incompetent leadership. Pray for the nation, please.

Rule of chaos

On a Sunday morning two months ago, a group of Malaysians gathered in front of the KLCC to voice their protest regarding the hike in fuel prices and escalating costs of living. They were ordinary citizens of various races showing their concern about issues that affect their daily lives. What did they get in return? A treat of water cannon and violent bashings from the FRU and police. 'No permit', the enforcers said.

Yesterday another group of Malaysians gathered too, voicing their protest of what's happening in faraway Lebanon. However, they received pretty good treatment I would say, that they could march all the way into an international conference site, pushed their way past FRU lines, gathered for 3 hours, and their leader got to show his bad manners to a guest of the Malaysian government. He 'gave Rice five minutes to come out and receive the memorandum'. Well, the FRU and police were very tolerant this time, no mention of needing any permit. Read the full text HERE. And HERE is another example where it's ok to stage fiery protests and make violent threats... but you must be with the right party and the right race.

How I see it, it's NOT OK if you protest something that concerns your livelihood. It's OK it you protest about other people's business. If you are an ordinary citizen, you have no right gather and voice you problems. If you are aligned to the right party, you can get away scot-free showing your bad manners in public and creating chaos, even if you are bossing about other people's business.

This kind of double-standard and lack-of-principle response from the government is indeed worrying. I dunno whether it is a sign of weak governance, or a sign of preferential treatment and silent consent that is leading to more worrying agendas.

Pray for the nation in the coming Merdeka month.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Alvin and Jenny - Part 3 of 3

We woke up late on the Sunday morning, due to the hectic day before.

Brought Irene's family for dim sum (Chinese touch-hearts ?) breakfast.

Well, the dim sum in Seremban is probably a bit lacking compared to the famous ones in Foh San Ipoh, but close enough.

After breakfast we went for a spin in Seremban town. Took a walk at the stalls beside the market, where we bought durians for RM 4 per kg (in Sabah it's RM 10 per kg). Irene's dad bought a plant to bring back to Sabah.

From there we went to check out the State Museum, which features a unique Mikangkabau architecture. Remember the schooltime story of Minangkabau, where a calf killed a bull, thanks to a little boy's wisdom?

Finally we went to the Seremban Train Station. Irene's parents and brother Ian took the Komuter train to go to KL Sentral, where a relative will receive them for the rest of their trip. Meanwhile, me and loupo went back to rest.

In the evening, we took an AirAsia flight back to Kota Kinabalu. Irene's auntie was there to pick us up. Took our car and stayed in a hotel in KK for the night. Tried to wake up at 2 a.m. for the World Cup finals... but couldn't la. Anyway, there was a replay in the morning, and we watched Zidane's 'amazing' header, and Italy kicked out France.

That's the end of the trilogy story. If you would like to see more photos, click the links below. But dun compare la... he got dSLR, and award-winning photographer lagi. Me just play-play take photos.
Kenneth's photos
Michael's photos

Alvin and Jenny - Part 2 of 3

After sweating an afternoon out in Midvalley Megamall, we went to my 5th auntie's house for some freshening up. In the evening, we drove in a convoy to Bukit Jalil for the wedding dinner.

Alvin and Jenny chose to have their wedding dinner at the Buki
t Jalil Golf and Country Club. The dinner booking was made way in advance last year! Seems that people in KL had to make wedding dinner bookings even a year in advance, otherwise... belanja makan in mamak stall la.

Here's Mark and Julia registering the diners.

Alvin and Jenny making their entrance.

Then the food made its entrance.

It was a Chinese-style wedding dinner, 8-course with desserts.

The families went on stage for the toast.

Then there was the yam-seng and bottoms-up session around the restaurant, from table to table. For kids too, as you can see... There were some XOs being passed around (if you don't know what this is, don't worry). I was forced to try a little bit. Just a bit bit. I said I was driving ma.

As the dinner came to and end, me and loupo took some photos at the club.

Then we drove back to Seremban to rest and sleep. It had been a long and tiring day.

... to be continued ...

Alvin and Jenny - Part 1 of 3

My younger brother Alvin married his long-time girlfriend Jenny on the 8th of July 2006. They were paktor-ing since Form Six, then university, then working.... then now at last.

Since my loupo and her family members haven't met many of my relatives in West Malaysia, they too came along. We arrived in KLIA past midnight, then woke up early the next morning and drove up to Petaling Jaya for Alvin's wedding.

The wedding was held in Grace Community Center in Section 23, Petaling Jaya. To my surprise, the venue looked more like a church than a community center. We had some trouble finding the place, you know... PJ roads and the traffic and so on.

We arrived early, luckily. Alvin had got an official photographer Kenneth, armed with his dSLR Canon 350D. I shy shy to show my Canon S2IS, so I turned off my photographer mode, sat back and relax. But fingers got itchy, had to take out my S2 later and started to shoot... some crappy photos.

Here's Alvin with his bestman Chiew-Yan (his ol' schoolmate) waiting anxiously for the ceremony to start. And, hey, where's the bride??? Still doing make-up ka? Learn to get used to it man.

Ah, here they are. The wedding march played, and the father brought his daughter to be presented to the groom. Much like the scene in the Garden of Eden, where the heavenly Father brought Eve to Adam (difference was it was a naked event back then).

The wedding started with reading of the scriptures, then some Christian songs. The ceremony pastor, Pastor Stancil gave a sermon on essential elements of a good marriage... Communion, Companionship, Commitment.

Here's the pastor saying 'eii, are you guys serious ah... don't play play hah!'. No la, just joking. There was the exchange of vows, then the exchange of rings.

After that, they had the marriage certificate signing ceremony.

That was followed by the transfering of flames from two candles to one big candle, signifying two persons uniting into one soul. Or two families joined into one big family, depends on how you intepret it. Quite a nice touch.

Then the newly-wed knelt before the altar to receive prayer of blessing from the ceremony pastor. Sorry I didn't manage to catch the you-may-kiss-the-bride photo, but I am sure Kenneth had them.

And here they are, the new Mr and Mrs Hoong. (Mine was done earlier already).

When all was done, there was the photography session, followed by makan-makan upstairs.

When everything was over, my parents went to Alvin's apartment to get some rest. Me and loupo and her family went to Midvalley Megamall to get some exercise.

... to be continued...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Alvin's wedding

Me and my loupo and family were in Seremban and Kuala Lumpur last weekend for my younger brother's wedding. More stories and photos coming up soon. Watch this space.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Making soya milk

My loupo tried to make soya-milk some weeks ago. It didn't turn out right. Tak jadi. Tasted like taugeh juice. Finally, with some tips from Mr PenaRajawali, we got it right. Here are the steps for home-made soya-milk. Tell you, it tastes much better than those boxed ones on supermarket shelves.

1. Get soya beans (half kg will do). Wash and soak in water for few hours. Change the water in between.
2. Discard the water. Put the beans in a blender. Add clean water. Blend blend blend.
3. Sieve the pulp using a cloth 'kopi powder' sieve. This will separate the soya-milk from the bean sediment. The normal sieve won't do.
4. Bring the soya-milk to boil (kill the germs), with some pandan leaves for fragrance.
5. Add sugar according to preference.

There you are. Simple and delicious home-made soya-milk. Of course it becomes even easier if you have a couple hundred ringgits to buy a soya-milk machine. Oh the bean sediments can be used as fertiliser, my farmer neighbour said. Extra pandan leaves can be used as car refreshener. Think recycle.

When I was travelling Beijing last time, hot soya-milk was always part of the local breakfast. Difference was, the China-Chinese liked it salty, I much prefered it sweet.

And why did we fail in our first attempt...? We bought the wrong beans. Hahaha...