13 August 2008

Best Olympic Opening Ceremony ever....... NOT!

Two years ago when the missus and I were in Guilin China, we attended a stage performance called "Dreamlike Lijiang" which is a ballet-circus performance. I was very impressed by the way they used the effects of light, sound and LCD projections in the show which gave us all a very big Wow-effect. I remember telling MrsW that multiply this by a thousand times and we can imagine what is in store at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony.

Fast forward to 8-8-2008... Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony.

The 2008 drummers doing the countdown in the dark was really cool and spectacular. So is the subsequent performances and the fireworks display. The use of huge number of performers and the high tech tools used in the cinematic projections and sound achieved the desired wow-effect.

The lighting of the Olympic cauldron is not bad. Note that I say not bad. There is no uncertainty to rival the Flaming Arrow of Barcelona '92 thus it can never be the best flame lighting ever. It was all done with wires ala Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon style. I was quite impressed, probably due to the emotional effect of the music during Li Ning's final "run" around the stadium's rim while suspended on wires. 

Second best of all time, I rated it. Sydney 2000's flame lighting could have won second place outright if not for the 10 minute glitch when the "flying saucer" cauldron refused to travel upwards after Cathy Freemen lighted it.

Overall a very good opening ceremony, I told myself that night.

Until yesterday.

Read on the 'Net that the 29 Foot Prints fireworks we all saw on live TV during the opening ceremony is not really live after all. What we all saw was a 55 second long animated fireworks video inserted into the live TV feed showing the 29 foot prints walking from Tiananmen Square to the Bird nest stadium. The reason given was that it is not possible to film all the 29 fireworks explosions from the air in a helicopter due to safety reasons, thus they spent a year creating this animation of the same. The fireworks did happen that night. It is just that what we saw on TV was not the real thing. Hell, they could have filmed it from the ground. You are telling me China cannot afford 29 TV transmission trucks?

Ok, maybe, just maybe I can live with that. I was real impressed by what I saw on TV and when the news came out I was disappointed but I can live with it because it did happen. It is just a technicality.

Until this morning.

My good friend Rkaru text me that the little girl in the red dress who sang on stage when China's flag was brought in did not really sing the song. She lip-synced. Fine, I said. Maybe her voice is too weak to be heard in such a big stadium. Then he told me she did a Milli Vanili on us. Even the voice that we heard that night was not hers. Another girl sang it but she was not allowed to appear that night because she has crooked teeth!

What the hell?

Worse still, the opening ceremony music director actually said this"It was for the national interest. The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feelings and expression."

Hello? I remember a certain country in Europe used to think like that too in the late 30s and early 40s. Does Nazi Germany ring any bells?

It is wrong! Absolutely morally wrong to do it that way. But then the organizers don't see it the way I did. They probably felt it is nothing wrong to fake a bit in their search for a perfect opening ceremony. To them I say they still have a lot to learn.

This Milli Vanili thingy left a bad taste. So what else is faked? Maybe there were no 2008 drummers? Maybe there was only 208, the rest were animations? Maybe their president who opened the Games is faked too? Athens 2004 was not really spectacular but at least there's no scams like these.

I don't know. I will still watch the Games, if only for the sporting performances. As for the closing ceremony, maybe I will watch it, maybe I won't. But if I do, a doubt will always exist in my mind : okay, is this part faked?

China, you have ruined my Olympic experience.

06 August 2008

Welcome to Zimlaysia


The moment they announce today the nomination/polling day for a certain area whose representative has vacated recently, immediate someone was told to appear in court to be charged for a certain matter tomorrow.

Is it because it has now become a Do-also-die-but don't-do-also-die situation, so might as well all die together? 

Coincidence? If it is a coincidence, I am still a 45 year old virgin.

Mugabe, you seem to have a lot of fans in high places over here.

02 August 2008

Best Olympic Flame Lighting Ceremony Ever!

Last night on satellite TV's "Reflections of Summer", Barcelona Olympics 1992...

Wombat : "Gather round kids, I want you to watch this."

Little Wombat (17 yrs) : "Watch what Daddy?"

Wombat : "How the Olympic Flame at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics was lit. You were only 1 year old then."

microWombie (7 yrs) : "What's an Olympic Flame Daddy?"

Wombat : "It is a huge cauldron at the stadium where the flame will burn throughout the whole Olympic festival. It will only be extinguished during the closing ceremony."

Little Wombat : "I have seen some of those. I remember the Sydney 2000 Olympics where Cathy Freeman lighted the flame around a pool of water and then the cauldron rose up to the top like a flying saucer. I also remember the Athens 2004 one where the cauldron is like a bowing giant cigar."

Wombat : "Those two, my children, are nothing compared to this one you are going to see."

microWombie : "What else can top the flying saucer and the bowing cigar?"

Wombat : "Aiya just watch lah. And don't blink. You will miss the magic moment."

As the last torch bearer, basketball player Juan Antonio San Epifanio lighted the arrow tip of Paralympic games archer Antonio Rebollo, who then turned and aimed the flaming arrow at the olympic cauldron located 100 meters high, the Wombats held their breath---


The flaming arrow shot upwards in a parabolic arc, pass over the cauldron and the Olympic flame is lighted.

Little Wombat/microWombie : "WOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!!! THAT WAS COOL!!"

Wombat : "What is so great about your flying saucer and bowing cigar now eh?"

microWombie : "Unbelievable!"

Little Wombat : "Mein gott! Woooooowee!"

Wombat (a tear well up in left eye) : "Listen up kids. Someday when Daddy is no longer around, and you two have kids of your own, you must promise me you will always show them this moment. Okay?"

LW/mW : "Yes Daddy. We will make it a tradition."

11 July 2008

You think this is your father's country ah???

The subject of illegal immigrants (PTIs) in Sabah has been a hot topic in the media lately. Everyone had their say so now it is my turn.

I believe if one is in this country illegally, one should either leave or get deported when caught. Logic tells you that it is true. If I enter your house and you do not know me, you will chase me off or even call the cops. If I were to squat on your land without your permission, you will charge me for trespassing. So why is it okay if PTIs come in to Sabah and refuse to leave?

The situation in our state is reaching a very serious situation right now. All that has been done to encourage the influx of PTIs in the 80s and 90s are now chickens coming home to roost. Whatever agenda some people had that resulted in this has been talked to death, but now it is time to decide what we are going to do about it.

Of course the obvious solution is deportation.  Flush them out and deport. But this easier said than done. The political will is simply not there. All the promises are designed to buy time, hoping we will cool down if this is dragged long enough.

The other reason probably is this : The powers that be finally realize that this problem has grown into a Godzila-size monster. How do you catch and deport a million PTIs without any problems? How can they ensure that nothing untoward will happen?

But it has to be done, like it or not. Bite the bullet, as they say.

My wife is a foreigner. Her stay here is sponsored by me on a spouse visa, renewable yearly. When she first arrived, the number of hoops we were made to jump through by the immigration authorities were depressing. This form, that form, wedding photos, more forms, monetary deposits (which I can get back the day I divorce her. Hah!) etc.  Worse, the danger of forgetting to renew her visa yearly. In 2001 when my son was born, I forgot to renew her visa by just 3 days and I was compounded RM3000 (US$900). No appeal allowed. She is in this country for at least 10 years legally and yet she still hasn't got her PR.

Yet, some people from a neighboring country can sneak in, get a job, earn a salary, maybe even buy a fake or given genuine identity card, utilize hospital and educational facilities that my tax money is paying for and now some of the powers that be expect me to pity them?

There were statements from some NGOs that we should not deport those PTIs who are in this state for a long time because it is inhumane. When my wife got compounded RM3000 when I could not afford it just because she missed her visa renewal by 3 days did anyone say it is inhumane? When we were kicked from one corner of the immigration department to another corner did anyone say it is inhumane? When these PTIs came to my house and stole our stuffs did anyone say it is inhumane to us?

Nowadays I often shudder to think when I die and go to that big burrow in the sky, what kind of future my children has in this state? If things do not change I doubt they have much of a future. That's the scary part.

So to all those do-gooders I have this to tell you all :

If you think catching and deporting PTIs is inhumane, perhaps we should send them to live with you in your part of Malaysia. Especially those who are jobless, has no sense of hygiene, commit crimes and yell in your face that they own this country. Then you tell me how it feels.

If you think those stateless children left behind by their deported parents are pitiful and deserved to be made Malaysian citizens, then why don't you adopt a few? Wait until the day they steal everything from your house or they slit your throat in your sleep then you tell me if they are pitiful.

If you think those who have stayed here illegally long enough should be made permanent residents, then perhaps they should move into your neighborhood. You are telling us that as long as they hide long enough and don't get caught, it is okay? In developed countries even if you hide for 30 years and got caught, you still get deported.

One day, one of them, especially those who allegedly given genuine identity cards for whatever reasons best known to the powers that be, will ascend to political circles of this country. They may become town councilors, state assemblymen, member of parliament, ministers, chief minister, maybe even prime minister. Far fetched? What's so far fetched about that? He has a genuine identity card thus a citizen despite being a foreigner. This identity card is his license to go anywhere, do anything legal, buy property, spend your tax money, run for political office and maybe even marry your daughter. Now suddenly that's not so far fetched now is it?

I have news for you. Since genuine identity cards were allegedly given out to these PTIs in the 80s and 90s, I bet many of them are already in West Malaysia, doing perfectly legal things. It is now 2008. Where are they? Who are they? Nobody knows. No one will ever know as long as the powers that be refuse to deal with this problem. You still think it is a Sabah problem, when in fact they are already amongst you all. 

Think about it. Before it is too late.

07 July 2008

What a week for Sports

It was a great week for sports, almost.

Spain won Euro 2008, as predicted by me earlier.

Louis Hamilton won the British Grand Prix in the rain with some very good precision driving.

Rafa Nadal won Wimbledon by playing one of the best match Wimbledon has ever seen. He has to win it sooner or later, next year if not this year.

Unfortunately, one of the Williams sisters won the Wimbledon Ladies Final. Urgh.

So, no other significant sporting event in the near future I can see. How to survive until 16th August 2008?

02 July 2008

Ouch my eyes!!!!

Today I am going to rant about drivers who use HID car headlights.

Yes, you know who you are. You who think that having white light instead of yellowish light coming out from your car's headlights are cool. I have a bone to pick with you. In fact, I feel like breaking your car headlights with a baseball bat.

Okay, some pre-mumbles. Normal car headlights give out a yellowish light. However, some premium brands such as Mercedes Benz and BMW offers HID (High intensity discharge) or Xenon headlights in certain models. The colour of the light is white instead of yellow.

Then, there are a bunch of wankers who obviously cannot afford a Mercedes or a BMW, who went and replace the halogen bulbs in their headlights with HID light bulbs. This way they also can get a white light and feel real cool.

So what's my problem? 

Well, if I drive at night and meet a Mercedes with original factory fitted HID lights coming towards me, this is what I will see :

However, if an Ah Beng drive towards me with after-market fitted HID lights on his crap Proton, this is what I will see :

Why the difference? Well, original factory fitted HID lights come with properly designed reflectors so that the white light gets projected in a straight line, lighting up only what is important ahead. However, the after-market HID light only involve changing the light bulb, and the reflector is never changed thus resulting in white light being scattered and reflected all over the place, blinding every driver they meet.

Of course these cheapskate drivers do not realize this problem, or couldn't care less as long as they think they look cool and it is just too bad if everyone else runs the risk of getting into accidents just because they cannot see the road in front for 5 seconds.

I really hope that the relevant authorities will ban all these after-market HID lights that's not properly installed. 

So if you have after-market HID light bulbs installed n your car, and wonder why everyone is flashing their headlights at you, it is not because they think your white light is cool looking. They are trying to tell you that you are an inconsiderate twit.

Torres 1 - Germany 0

Euro 2008 Final : Spain 1 - Germany 0.

I kept the faith. Months ago before Euro 2008 started, I said since England is out, I will go for Spain to win it. And they did, with tons of class too.

Who scored the winning goal? Fernando Torres, striker extraordinaire. It wasn't some kind of el-cheapo goal. It was sheer class, power and skill. He literally out-muscled and out-ran Philipp Lahm on his way to goal before putting it in the net. I have seen this type of goals from Torres a lot during the recent EPL season, and it is always a joy to watch. When he starts his run you always have a feeling that it is going to be a goal. It is the kind of feeling you don't get to feel much nowadays in soccer matches.

I simply could not resist this dig : To a certain footballer wearing the No. 7 MU jersey I ask - Who's the greatest footballer in the world now eh?

13 June 2008

Highway To Hell

Finally I am going to rant about the miserable condition of Jeroco Road, Lahad Datu.

I have been traveling on this unsurfaced road since 1987 in the course of my work every week. Jeroco Road is a 45 km long road located near Lahad Datu and basically connects an area that has about 10 palm oil mills and countless oil palm estates. The road belongs to the government and maintenance is supposed to be done by the relevant government department which I believe is JKR (Public Works Department.)

As an unsurfaced road, it is natural to expect muddy conditions from time to time especially during the monsoon season at year end. Each time it gets repaired and the most one will suffer bad road conditions is a month or two.

However this year something about the maintenance program has changed. The road is allowed to deteriorate such that it is unusable in many stretches and no maintenance is being done to repair the road structures. Some patches are so bad you can drive a pick-up truck into it and you won't be able to see the truck from the road side. It is that deep.

Tankers, trucks, lorries, pick-ups often are jammed up at a bad patch for days on end. All that's being done is a few JCB back hoes around to pull the vehicles through and if it rains, the situation gets worse. In fact nobody will even think of driving there if they see black clouds in the sky. 

The photo below shows only the mild patch, not the bad:

Yesterday I had to travel on this road to attend to an appointment. It took me 4 hours to travel 40 km. It was so bad that on my way back I took a detour via another road which took me 5 hours to reach Lahad Datu. Well, at least the ferry ride along the detour was refreshing:

It is incomprehensible that such an important access road is not been given the attention it deserves. Numerous complaints have been made to the local authorities, newspapers, even TV3. Numerous promises have been made by blood sucking parasites--- oops I mean politicians that the whole road will be surfaced with asphalt before every general election for the past 21 years and so far only 10 km was surfaced and that's the area that hardly deteriorates.

The best thing is, it's been alleged that the local MP for the area, when asked why the Jeroco Road is not being repaired since it is such an important access road, he allegedly asked "Is that road under the jurisdiction of the government?" 


23 May 2008

Of this and that.

David Cook won American Idol Season 7 by 12 million votes. I was sure he will lose because there's simply no defense against 50 million screaming hormones who will vote for David Archuleta. I guess finally American made the right choice after so many seasons of big mistakes. (Anyone remember Taylor Hicks? See?)

So M*n U*d won the Champions League. No hair off my back. At least I have the pleasure of seeing Ronaldo's extremely embarrassed face when he missed his penalty. Likewise the joy of seeing Drogba sent off and John "We are supposed to win" Terry slipped and landed on his ass during his penalty. Proved that Liverpool's win against AC Milan is still the better lottery draw, and they even threw in six minutes of madness as a bonus.

The school holiday starts tomorrow and the missus is dreading having a 17 year old teenager and a 7 year old kid in the house all day long. Luckily I have to work.

Is it just me or Star World on Astro has canned Bionic Woman for the past month and I didn't even realize it?

The football season is now ended. No EPL and ChLg for two months, and Euro 2008 will be telecast live at insane time of the morning. Maybe it is time to root for Nadal to beat Federer again.

15 May 2008

American Idol : And then there are two...

So it is down to the last two contestants on American Idol : David Cook and David Archuleta. 

Yes, Syesha was sent home today. I didn't expect her to to be able to make the cut because David Cook simply is better than her and David Archuleta has 30 million moist panties cheering for him.

My vote is for David Cook to win the Finale because I just realized last night during the Top-3 that Archuleta can only sing ballads very well. He's turning into a new version of Air Supply! His choice of songs are no longer a breath of fresh air. They are becoming stale. But the 30 million wet dreams will vote for him anyway. I just hope Syesha's voters will swing to Cook for the Finale.

As for Cook himself, he is almost as good as Bo Bice (Note I say almost as good, not just as good). Give him any song and he will work something out with it. Witness Roberta Flack's "The first time I ever saw your face". I was telling the missus no way Cook can bring that off cos it is such a foofoo song. Cook did and I am still picking up my jaw from the floor.

Likewise Aerosmith's "I don't wanna miss a thing". I think even the asteroid will change course after hearing Cook giving it his own treatment. It was that good.

So, it is David Cook to win American Idol this season.