29 July 2007

Even Nicaragua is better than us now

Latest FIFA ranking for national soccer teams is out.

Malaysia dropped to 154th place, from 149th last month. Now even Nicaragua is above us.

Drop another 54 more places and we will hit 208th. That won't be very long, as everyone is still trying to point fingers at each other instead of getting some real work done.

And FAM is asking for more time to submit their report? Puleeze!

22 July 2007

Japan 4 - Australia 3

Asian Cup quarter finals last night between Japan and Australia.

Japan finally scraped through to the semi-final by the hair of their chinny chin chin after winning the the penalty shootout 4-3 when the match remained deadlocked at 1-1.

The thing is this : Australian players are clearly half dead after 120 minutes of football due to the heat and exhaustion, and get this : they are playing with only 10 men for the final 45 minutes! Yet Japan could not win and require a lottery i.e. the shootout to go through.

Lucky buggers.

19 July 2007

"My child did that?? Impossible!"

Recently two cases of teachers allegedly involved in injuring students were published in the newspapers.

In case #1, a 13 year old secondary school girl was allegedly punched twice in the face by a teacher after she allegedly said something vulgar to him in class. As a result her face is swollen.

In case #2, a secondary school student in Sabah was allegedly slapped by a teacher resulting in injury to his/her ear drum etc and may lose hearing in one ear for life. The student allegedly said something very disrespectful behind the teacher's back and was overheard by others and reported.

Before I want to get something off my chest about student behavior today, I would like to say that what the two teachers did is very wrong and action should be taken against them by the authorities.

Okay, teachers are not psychopaths just waiting to punch or slap people for no reason. Something the students said must have been so rude or disrespectful or provocative that the teacher will snap and hit out at the student.

The question here is just what is wrong with some of our students nowadays?

In my time as a student i.e. during the 70s and 80s, we feared our teachers all the time. One step out of line and we will get detention or other appropriate punishment befitting our mistakes. It is a very very rare case to hear teachers injuring students.

But from what I can see nowadays, a lot of students have no respect for their teachers and we often heard of students abusing teachers verbally, physical assaults, vandalizing teachers' property such as cars etc. When the teacher snaps and retaliated unlawfully, the parents of the student will yell bloody murder and tell all and sundry that our teachers are all psychopaths.

In the two cases above I have not read of anyone actually questioning the parents of the student just what kind of upbringing their children are getting today to the extend that they can abuse their teachers verbally.

No doubt action should be taken against the teachers but I just wish appropriate action will be taken against the students too. If nothing is done, it is like telling everyone it is okay for their children to be rude to their teachers.

Okay, I hear some saying it is easy for me to rant about this but what will I do if I find out one day that a teacher has punched my daughter's face resulting in facial injury?

Well, first I will demand that the appropriate action be taken against the teacher, by making the appropriate reports and so on. Then I will find out what set the teacher off. If the reason is because my daughter said something vulgar or rude to the teacher, I will personally slap her face in front of everyone myself.

That I can assure you I will definitely do.

16 July 2007

149th and still going downnnnnnnnnnnn...

The pathetic state of the Malaysian national soccer team. It is currently ranked by FIFA to be 149th in the world, out of 208 teams, and teams like Swaziland, Mauritius, Lesotho, Tajikistan and the Bahamas are ranked higher than Malaysia.

After the recent whipping-- or demolition by China (5-1) and Uzbekistan (5-0) in the Asian Cup, I won't be surprised when the new FIFA ranking comes out next month Malaysia will be somewhere in the region of 150s or worse, 160s if Iran also do a 5-0 on Malaysia this week.

Ah... the Asian Cup tournament. Whose bright idea was it to have Malaysia host one of the groups? And to be grouped with China, Uzbekistan and Iran? Someone in the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) called it the group of death. As I understand it, a group of death in any sport means a very tough grouping, where teams will have a tough time winning the group and progressing. We consider ourselves to be worthy opponent in this so called group of death? Cannon fodder is more like it.

Yesterday the Deputy President of the FAM tendered his resignation from all posts. Although he did not give his reason for resigning, it would appear that he has read the feelings of most Malaysians. This is commendable, for it is not natural for anyone in high positions in Malaysian sport associations to resign whenever there is a serious debacle. It is rare indeed.

However, others in the FAM have started saying he should not resign because it is not his fault. If this continues, I bet that in a few days the Deputy President will change his mind about resigning citing popular demand asking him to stay on and all that. This is also another sickness of Malaysian sport associations : Resignations may not be permanent, due to popular demand.

Someone high up in the Cabinet then said that it is a collective responsibility and the DP should not resign. Gawd, if they like to stress on collective responsibility so much then the whole powers-that-be in the FAM should resign. However, the chance of that happening is as much as Bush having dinner with Osama. And the rot continues.

Malaysian soccer has been in the pits for the past 20 years. When I left Malaysia for overseas studies in the mid 70s, Malaysian soccer is something to be proud of, and we have players who will play for the country for peanuts. Players who have hunger in their eyes and the passion for winning. Players who dared to look into the eyes of their opponents and thought "We are going to bury your team today!".

When I came back, I witnessed the decline, and that corruption scandal involving closed to a hundred players in the local league finally killed it. Overnight, talented players were banned for life for their involvement. I lost interest.

Today, our professional league division 1 is called the Super League, while division 2 is called the Premier League. We are the only (I think) professional soccer league in the world who dared confer these superlative names on our divisions. Even the mighty English FA only call their top flight the Premier League. The self delusion continues.

So, where should Malaysian soccer go from here? I do not know. I am tired of the failures. Tired of the same old excuses. Tired of the politicking. Tired of the interference. It is easy for me to say do this and do that, but unless those in power at the FAM do a 180 degree change in how soccer is run in this country, we will continue the downward spiral.

And rank number 208 will not be far off.

11 July 2007

Where pirate taxis roam and the illegal immigrants play

A lot of friends on the 'Net have asked me just where exactly is Lahad Datu, and why would I want to live there.

Okay, first we settle the question about where Lahad Datu is located. For details on Lahad Datu, you can dig up the info on Wikipedia, where half an A4 page is allocated to describing this town.

Now, as to where it is located, these two Google earth images will be of great help :

So now some of you can reprogram the GPS coordinates of your ICBMs.

Now, why would I want to live here? It's the call of duty. I have been working here since 1993, and more or less a Lahad Datuan (is there such a word?) by now. It is the fourth largest town in the state of Sabah, and one of the advantages of living here is that the pace of life is slower. On the other hand, being a small town, your choice in everything is very limited.

What do I like best about this place? The seafood. Prawns the size of lobsters. Fish that you don't have to break the bank to pay for.

Ok, maybe the lobster analogy is a bit far fetched. Prawns the size of half a lobster then.

09 July 2007

"Come back again!" "Over my dead body."

I have a beef against coffee shops lately.

(For my international friends, a coffee shop in Malaysia is a place where one can go have have breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner. For breakfast, simple local foods such as noodles are served, together with hot/cold drinks)

What's my beef? (pun intended...)

The first one is located at Airport Plaza, Lahad Datu. The Sunday it opened, it took out a half page advertisement in the local paper to announce that they are opened for business and the menu listed was very extensive. I spotted one of my favourite : Ngau Lam Mee (Noodles with beef stew). So off we went there for breakfast.

The place was packed, but we managed to get a table. The waiter came, I ordered my favourite noodle dish only to hear him say "Nope, we don't have that". So I pointed out to him that it was listed in their menu in the papers but he is not moved. I then ordered a few more breakfast items off that menu only to be told they don't have those either. We finally have to settle for the most mundane noodle dish of all : Kon Low Mee (Noodle cooked dry with mundane condiments) and waited.

And waited. And waited for the next 45 minutes.

I called the waiter over. He saw my not-so-pleased-by-now face. I asked him why the delay with our orders only to be told they are very busy serving customers. I glanced around and saw tables of no-so-pleased-by-now faces all waiting.

I waited for 15 more minutes and was delivered the best news of all : They have lost my order. Would I care to repeat my order again? Sure, I told him, in my next life. I stormed off that place, never to return. Today that coffee shop is very unpacked, even though others in the same area are enjoying full house status every morning. And I think the owner still doesn't get it.

The second one is located in town, at the new shops near the Executive hotel. Now this one is just opened for business too. Again it was packed, again our orders were late, and when I complained, was told everyone has to wait their turn. I told the owner of the place that of course I understand about queues and all that crap but waiting for orders for 50 minutes which can be fulfilled by other coffee shops under 10 minutes elsewhere is just too much to bear. At least he was apologetic, so I may just give it a second review in a month's time when they get their act together.

The third one was located in the same area, and BBQ meats/poultry is their specialty. Three months ago I had the same problem with it as those coffee shops above : long wait, insufficient staffs, wrong orders etc, and I was very disappointed. I went there last Sunday for breakfast and what a change. They doubled their staffs and cooks and no more waiting despite the place being full. Now this is a place that has learn its lessons, and is willing to adapt and change.

Now, why is that lately in Lahad Datu some people decided that since they have a few spare change, they want to open coffee shops just because they think it is a good way to make money without researching what it takes to open one? What ended up are customers suffering the long waiting times, false advertising, lousy service and worst of all, that take-it-or-leave-it attitude?

My father operated a coffee shop in the 70s through to the 80s, and I know what it takes to run one : dedication, and lots of blood, sweat & tears. Even my father's business was not successful in the end because he was resistant to the change in customers tastes towards the end of the 80s.

So don't any clueless new coffee shop owner come and tell me that it is not their fault that they are slow and lousy with their service. Nobody pointed a gun and forced them to start the business in the first place. They want to play, they have to play it right.

Greatest Song/Album/Guitarist of all time

Was browsing through Wikipedia today and out popped this article call The Rolling Stones Magazine 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time. It was an interesting read, so I researched a bit more and ended up with a new blog posting (I was getting sick of the Cheeky Girls' faces anyway).

The Top 10 songs from the The Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time:

1. Like A Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan
2. Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones
3. Imagine - John Lennon

4. What's Going On - Marvin Gaye

5. Respect - Aretha Franklin

6. Good Vibrations -The Beach Boys

7. Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry

8. Hey Jude - The Beatles

9. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

10. What'd I say - Ray Charles

It is difficult to rank greatest songs, compared to ranking albums and guitarists. Some may even say "The Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum)" deserves to be in the Top-500. I agree with most of the songs listed for the Top-10 as I have heard all of them before except for Ray Charles "What'd I say" although I do not think Nirvana deserves a number 9 ranking.

The Top 10 albums from the The Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time:

1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles

2. Pet Sounds - The Beach Boys

3. Revolver - The Beatles

4. Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan

5. Rubber Soul - The Beatles

6. What's Going On - Marvin Gaye

7. Exile on Main Street - The Rolling Stones

8. London Calling - The Clash

9. Blonde on Blonde - Bob Dylan

10. The Beatles ("The White Album") - The Beatles

Now albums are easier. Agree with all the Beatles albums listed although I believe Let It Be should be in the Top-10 as well. The Clash's "London Calling" deserves its number eight, and it is a remarkable achievement for a punk band.

The Top 10 guitarists from the The Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time:

1. Jimi Hendrix
2. Duane Allman - Allman Brothers Band
3. B.B. King
4. Eric Clapton
5. Robert Johnson
6. Chuck Berry
7. Stevie Ray Vaughan
8. Ry Cooder
9. Jimmy Page - Led Zeppelin
10. Keith Richards - Rolling Stones

I am not going to argue with Jimi for being voted number 1 (deep bow). As long as Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimmy Page are in the list, I am happy.