Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama wins...So now what??

Well, well, looks like Obama made history today. Being the first American president of African descent, it is a great stride foward for him and his nation. He deserves a big round of applause. It shows that with the right campaign and attitude, racial barriers can be broken down.

However, I wouldn't want to be in his shoes. With so many issues and challenges ahead for America, I am sure he would be facing tremendous pressure to deliver whatever change that he intends to make.

So as democrats celebrate tonight, the rest of the world looks on, hoping that US will not 'sneeze' again. For when and if they do, the rest of the world catches a cold.

Congratulations and most importantly, good luck to you, Obama.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Melamine anyone?? Yes? Errr No???

Warning: The author takes no responsibility for whatsoever interpretation that the reader may perceive from this article.

Everyone seems to have gone on a melamine fear mode nowadays. Who would not, with reports of cases involving babies. This fear created a lot of unchecked claims floating about in cyberspace, resulting in a lot of food dumping. I have friends who were throwing out their ice-cream, W*** mini-po**ers (cannot say the brand, nanti kena saman pulak) etc.

Fact is, melamine is a low toxicity compound. Unfortunately, it is most likely contaminated with another low toxicity compound, cyanuric acid. The two together, makes a whole different story. It is postulated that melamine and cyanuric acid allows the formation of crystals in your kidneys- hence your nephrons becomes clogged and fail.

Now, WHO (World Health Organisation) has an interesting article on Melamine dose. And I quote from this article:

"Considering a TDI of 0.5 mg/kg body weight, this would lead for a 50kg person to a tolerable amount of 25 mg melamine per day. Assuming this person would drink one litre of milk per day, this would indicate that the TDI would be reached at a level of 25 mg melamine per litre of milk. This level then would be considered as the 'level of concern'.

Considering a 5kg infant, the tolerable amount of melamine would be 2.5 mg per day. This amount would be reached when consuming 750 ml liquid (or reconstituted) formula contaminated at a level around 3.3 mg/l (ppm)."

Now where is my bag of Lemon Puffs? Yum yum.

List of products tested compliant by Ministry of Health, Malaysia (MOH)
List of products NOT involved in the melamine contamination scare, MOH
List of products tested NOT COMPLIANT by MOH

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lets Go Hiking in Penang - Botanical Garden to 47

Trail from Botanical Garden to 47

Good for -

1. Sweating like a pig.
2. 'Killing' your smoking friends/asthmatic friends
3. Looking at trees/plants/pitcher plants
4. Viewing Tanjung Tokong and Pearl Hill
5. Getting spooked by the local spirits (kena sampuk in Malay, cheong teok in Hokkien; Choi - knock on wood)

Starting point - Botanical Garden
End point - 47 on the Jeep Track

Time - depends on your fitness and whether you want to take a look at everything and anything (ham pa lang ha mi sai pun ai kua ai bong).

Warning - I take no responsibility whatsoever for whatever that may befall upon you from following the instructions given herein. Please take the necessary precautions when you are out hiking. Only you yourself can be responsible for your well-being and safety. Thank you.

First of all, get yourself to the Botanical Gardens of Penang, also fondly known as the Waterfall Gardens.

From the main gate of the gardens, follow the tarmac road (labeled blue) that leads to the Upper Circular Road (refer to the map below - adapted and modified from

The road will lead you to a hilly slope on your left with many coniferous and juniper trees. At the end of this area, there is a dry stream bed laid with stones (it is an overflow outlet). The dirt path (brown) begins here and you should see a well-trodden path that lie beside the tarmac road above the embankment on your left. Get on to this path and follow it. It will run somewhat parallel to the tarmac road but goes up the slope and inwards. After some distance, it will turn left abruptly and climb up the slope rather steeply. The path becomes a stairway of some sort, courtesy of the regular hikers.You should see the liana in the pic below if you had been going on the right track. If the liana is no longer there, the path actually takes a 90 degree turn around that point.

Follow 'the stairway to heaven' as it snakes up the hillside. The stairway goes on until you reach an elevation of about 300m asl. Along the way, especially towards the end of the stairway, you may hear sounds of vehicles even though you are surrounded by the jungle.The Jeep Track is actually just to your left beyond the gully, hidden by the trees.
Looking downhill - the path looks pretty steep.
Stairway to heaven...more like stairway to hell for those who are not fit.
Huge trees line these steps, making it an interesting climb

You will reach a leveling at about 300m asl. The slope on your left is made of granitic rocks and so is the path that you are stepping on. It is kind of dark and gloomy over here because it lies in the shadow of a small plateau above. There is a small path turning off to your left at the beginning of this area that climbs up the slope. Ignore this path and continue walking along the leveling (see sketch map below - follow the brown path and the way indicated by the black arrows). The sound of the garden's famed waterfall should become apparent to you if you have not noticed it earlier.

Directions after reaching the 300m asl leveling.

A short while from the start of the leveled path, the area becomes brighter and the banks and the path that you are walking on are clearly laterite clay. You will come across a clear path that turns left and goes up the slope. It is clearly marked as the way to 47/84/Penang Hill. Take this path which goes up the slope. It is a path cut into the clay earth and made into steps at some places (see pic below).
Path cut into the clayey ground. It is eroded in many spots.

You will reach a small plateau/clearing where you can enjoy the view of Tanjung Tokong and Pearl Hill. The picture below is the view of Pearl Hill.
The view of Pearl Hill and the coast from the small plateau.

If you stand facing seaward (as in the picture above), there is a small Datuk shrine (small red house-like structure on the ground) on the far right edge of the plateau. A small path can be seen disappearing into the undergrowth, which probably leads to the small path at the beginning of the leveling. Ignore this path. Once you are done staring at the view of the sea, turn around (with your back towards the sea) and follow the clear, level, laterite path that leads to a tree lined path.

You will come across a small man-made structure that serves tea/coffee at certain hours (hence the label tea kiosk) on your right. Picture of tea kiosk below (there are toilets here should you need to relieve yourself and have not done so in the bushes).
A shelter for serving tea/coffee. Toilets are available here too, so you need not 'fertilise' the forest.

Looking back from where you came from.

Above is the view of the tree lined path from the tea kiosk (i.e. looking back at the way that you came from)

The path ends at point 47 of the Jeep track (where the tarmac road makes a sharp bend). There is a foot reflexology aka foot torture path at the edge of the grassy kerb. Turn right and follow the tarmac road if you want to proceed to 84/Penang Hill. Turn left and walk down the steep tarmac road to return to the Botanical Gardens.
View of the tarmac road going downhill towards the Botanical Garden

The walk to 84 is an easy stroll (there is another tea kiosk here and it is a major stopping point).

There is a small dirt path directly opposite the exit of point 47 and this goes up to Bukit Cendana. It is a poorly kept path and badly eroded at many stretches.

View of the path that leads to Bukit Cendana.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Thou shall NOT name thy child.....

I have had this discussion many times before, with schoolmates, varsity friends and colleagues. What Chinese name NOT to give your child. Or more precisely, what Chinese names are taboo. Taboo in the sense that the name would be a source of ridicule for the poor child.

Names can mean well, but may sound obscene and/or funny in Hokkien. So here's a short list

1. Bee Leng (smell breast)

2. Bee Lan (smell dick)

3. Chee Fai (sounds like ciba*... tooot. i.e. vagina) Especially if your surname is Chow, Tan, Lau, So, Teoh (like tiu) or worst, Mak. Have a junior in school with that name. His classmates will shout out his name when the principal passes by.

4. Kim Lan (sounds like gim lan (hold cock). Imagine your teacher calling out in class Ai Kim Lam, siapa Ai Kim Lan? - who wants to hold cock?

5. Pek Lan (white dick or force open dick)

6. Siew Lan (sounds like keeping/uphold lan)

7. Poh Leng (hug breast)

8. Tong Hai (eastern sea sounds like touch vagina)

9. Poh Lan (tsk tsk tsk precious dick or bo lan, no dick or poh lan - hug dick)

10.Poh Yao (sounds like poh hiao - pondan)

11. Ling Ling (or Leng Leng) - Lau Leng Leng (saggy boobs), Kiew Leng Leng (wrinkly breast or pull breast)

12.So Leng (caress breast)

In school, I had a classmate named A** Bee Lan (surname bleeped to protect her identity). One of my classmates started this thing by calling her A** Bee and not saying the Lan word. Realising that a large number of us were doing that, she inquired, of which the answer is:

My mother say cannot use bad word, so I call you A** Bee only lah!

See, bad for her to make us say notti words all day, all year. No wonder we didn't do well in exams, lol.

Chinese ppl like to check and see if the name is good i.e. tian ge, di ge, zong ge and ren ge are all good. Whilst it may sound beautiful in Mandarin, the anglicised equivalent, usually influenced by the dialectic tongue of the parent, might might end up sounding embarrassingly obscene.

Look at what a well-known blogger had to say bout her kids' names here.

If I have kids, I will give them names like Keat Kee, Keat Leng, Chio Leng, Ewe Pang, Sua Leng (good/powerful stick, good or full breast, beautiful breast or rubber, Oil pump, hill breast). Nah...just kidding.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Penang Hill - Naik Separuh Jalan

Being a Penangite, I have many fond memories of trips up the hill, whether by foot or the funicular train. When one of the local papers featured the woes of the hill station recently, it kinda got me tickled to read that only the lower section of the train is working. What good is it to go only halfway??
( and

Thank goodness for the 4WDs and the jeep track. Then again, it does sound like what goes on in a lot of places over here; doing things that get you halfway and needing others to pitch in to get it to work. With its lifeline cut off, the peak must be a pretty quiet place these days.

Which got me thinking - what can you do up in Penang Hill. There are no theme parks, no casinos, no good restaurants (nope, English restaurant doesn't qualify as fine dining, lol), heck nothing. Yet many people find the hill interesting. I suspect the ride up the hill in that cramped (no so cramped nowadays) train has got something to do with it. In it you hear kids say "Mommy, why so slow one?", "Cannot go faster ah?", "Mommy I need to pee pee woh", and I must envisage that it could be a lovers/perverts heaven, with bodies being pressed against each other (well, butts touching, elbows bumping etc, you get my drift).

Nay, the best way to go up the hill walk. Yes, to take a leisurely stroll up the hill, so to speak. And then take the train down, to safe your knees from damage walking down hill. No doubt your muscles might protest a little, but it would be a learning experience.

Now, once up there, you are confounded by the issue of what to do. Which is the actual reason for this post - top 10 things to do up the hill.....

So let me start with

No. 10
- See leng lui/leng chai (pretty girls and handsome boys)

You must have too much free time at hand if this is what you intend to do up there. Spend time sitting around the peak, looking at people walking by; big ones, small ones, tall dark or short and chubby. A good way to waste your free time plus the breeze is much cooler, with nothing much to spend on (as opposed to doing so at shopping malls). So very seh one (very thrifty) this activity. Except that food might be an issue, since the brain uses a large amount of glucose when you are ogling things....

Yalah, very toooot...

A post to start off my blog

It is funny how every time I feel that I have tonnes of stuff to write, but whenever I am faced with the computer or pen and paper, those thoughts and ideas just vanishes into thin air. Not that it was substantial to begin with, but nevertheless it it quite frightening to contemplate the ability of our brain to hold so much and yet to recall so little. A pointless discussion, you say? Yes indeed.