Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Storm over Copycat Remarks

A Malaysian professor, Dr Khoo Kay Kim, recently said that Chinese schools in the country have produced copycats through its rote-learning methods. As one might expect, angry Chinese Malaysians who are defensive of their ‘mother tongue’ lambasted him. One blogger wrote, “Khoo is a banana man. He is not in the position to criticize Chinese schools.” (Apparently the blogger wrote in Chinese. I do the translation.)

Well, I was educated in Chinese schools. Am I in the position to say a word or two on Chinese education system?

It is a known fact Chinese schools produce students who can hardly think independently and creatively. The Chinese-educated people condemned Dr Khoo simply because they wanted to defend their much-loved mother tongue. (The claim that Mandarin is the mother tongue of all Chinese is dubious in the first place.)

I am currently doing MBA. Many of my classmates were Chinese-educated. I have found that, even at this level, quite a few of them like to ‘copy and paste’ when it comes to doing their assignments.

To be fair, it is not just Chinese schools which churn out copycats. Most schools in Asia do. Which is why Singaporean Kishore Mahbubani had written a book with the title Can Asians Think?.

I had a chance of working in California several years ago. I remember a guy told me, “Americans have the tradition of challenging the authorities.” Such spirit is lacking in Asia.

We should be courageous enough to acknowledge the shortcomings of our education systems, and take steps to rectify them. There is no need to be mad at Dr Khoo’s remarks simply because he doesn’t speak Mandarin.

Thursday, November 26, 2009








P/S 鉴于这帖子的主题太过敏感,我决定不用英文发表。

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Causes on Facebook II

In one of my posts written last January, I mentioned that there were many ‘causes’ which Facebook members could join. I doubted their impact, though.

Recently, I came across a funny ‘cause’ on that social networking site:

Foundation for the protection of Swedish underwear models

I have no idea what this foundation does. It has got more than half a million members. Money donated - $313! What a joke.

Rather than raising fund on Facebook, I would suggest that the foundation bring a few of these models to Malaysia to perform on stage. More money can be raised. (Closed event, of course. This is a Muslim-majority nation.) I believe Malaysian shutterbugs would also like to photograph these models in lingerie.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

3G – USA vs. Malaysia

AT&T and Verizon are the two major mobile operators in the United States. Verizon recently launched an advertisement ridiculing its rival’s poor 3G coverage.

(Click to enlarge)

Verizon claims that it has 5 times more 3G coverage as compared to AT&T. Given the vast size of America, Verizon’s network coverage is really impressive. But even AT&T is not too bad. While its 3G network may not have reached deserts, forests and national parks, at least most cities are served.

Now let’s see what Maxis, Malaysia’s mobile operator, has offered us:

Maxis 3G coverage as of Nov 20, 2009…

(Click to enlarge)

All I can say is: pathetic

Thursday, November 19, 2009




这起“姐弟恋生变,男子发狂开枪恐吓女友”事件,是于今日中午1230分,发生在安邦waterfront 3一间位于二楼的美法院。35岁的巫裔受害者是美发院女东主,相信此事件与感情纠纷有关。。。


英文星报The Star也报道了这起事件。这是摘要:

A 23-year-old jilted boyfriend held his beautician girlfriend at gunpoint to win her back in a two-hour hostage drama.

In the incident at Taman Kosas, Ampang, the man arrived at the hair salon, owned by the 35-year-old woman who ended their relationship several weeks back, at about 9.30am. He waited for her in his car for over an hour before storming into the salon, demanding to speak to her. When she refused, a shouting match broke out and a struggle ensued with the woman being assaulted by the former boyfriend who used to work as a caretaker at the salon…

(The Star, November 14, 2009)

星洲日报在文中的第一句子就指出嫌犯是马来人(巫裔),第二段又说明女受害者也同样是巫裔。The Star则完全没有提到两人的族裔。不过,1115The Star报道此事件发展时,在文中第三段提到女事主是新加坡人。

我比较能够接受The Star的报道方式。星洲日报有种族歧视之嫌。

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Seat Pitch Comparison

In my post, Firefly vs. AirAsia, I wrote:

I hadn’t got a ruler with me, but my feeling is that Firefly’s planes have slightly larger legroom [as compared to AirAsia].

After doing some research over the Web, I finally got the figures for seat pitch of the two airlines. Seat pitch is defined as “the distance between two rows of seats”, or “the measurement from the same position on two seats, one behind the other.” While seat pitch is not the same as legroom, it’s a good alternative measure.

The seat pitch for AirAsia is 29 inches, and that for Firefly is 30 inches. That pretty much confirms my observation.

AirAsia X, the sister company of AirAsia, has slightly larger seat pitch at 31”. The seat pitch for economy class of Malaysia Airlines, according to the information I got online, is 34”. However, Malaysia Airlines’ fleet consists of many different planes, and it is not sure if all of them have the same seat pitch. If you think 34” is still too tight, you can opt for business class, which gives you 58” space.

Across the causeway, the seat pitches for Singapore Airlines (economy class), Jetstar Asia and Tiger Airways are 32”, 30” and 28.5” respectively. I can’t believe that Tiger Airways is even stingier than AirAsia!

Personally, I am comfortable with 30”. Nonetheless, for routes not covered by Firefly, I have to bear with AirAsia.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Twitter for Business

Chef Choi with his truck (source:

What can you do with Twitter, other than announcing to your followers what movies you watch and where you have your dinner?

American chef Roy Choi has found an ingenious use of the micro-blogging site. He sells Korean BBQ taco from his mobile kiosk – a truck. (Taco is originally a type of Mexican food, but Choi has added Korean touch to it.) He announces his whereabouts via Twitter alerts. (The End of California? Dream On!, Time Magazine, November 2, 2009 issue)

That’s a creative use of technology, isn’t it?

Friday, November 13, 2009







Tuesday, November 10, 2009

KLCC in the Evening

KLCC, the premier shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, and Petronas Twin Towers, the tallest building in the country, are two popular subjects of photographers. Every time I go to there, I see many shutterbugs.

Recently, I learned of a technique, from book, for taking ‘night view’ photos, and decided to put it into practice. Hence, I headed to KLCC. Here are a few of my photos…

At 6.50pm…

At 7.00pm…

At 7.06pm…

Strictly speaking, I am not very satisfied with these images. I had not brought along my tripod, and was handicapped by that. Perhaps I will have another try in the near future.

Photography Tips:

‘Night view’ photos are best taken when the sky is still bluish, preferably with twilight. Do not wait until it is completely dark. Timing is critical.

It is advisable to stabilize the camera using a tripod.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


我在英文帖子The Chinese Diaspora中指出:中國人一方面強烈愛國,另一方面又老是想移居海外。但他們的愛國心,可能會妨礙他們融入當地社會。



Thursday, November 05, 2009

Two Commercial Ads

In my post, Malaysia’s Broadband War, I mentioned P1’s ‘Cut Now’ advertisement. P1 also has ‘Cut Now’ TV commercials. Unfortunately, the commercials were met with strong objections from certain groups, who thought they were derogatory to women. In this conservative Muslim-majority society, the word ‘cut’ has another meaning – removing skin from a man’s private part.

‘Cut Now’ commercial (Cantonese version) on Youtube…

The controversy caused by P1 reminds me of Japanese commercial for Wacoal Up-Up bra. In this commercial, a man drops his document when he sees a pretty lady at the elevator. The lady lowered her body to pick up the paper. It’s at this moment that the guy sees her breasts, enhanced by the Up-Up bra.

18SX! Up-Up bra on Youtube…

I gather that this kind of ads will never make it to Malaysian TV. But let’s assume for a moment that it does, what would happen?

Religious groups would condemn it as obscene and polluting the minds of youths.

Women’s groups would criticize it as a form of gender discrimination.

What do you think of the two commercials? Are they distasteful or creative? Are we too conservative?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

An Encounter with a Thai Model

As a shutterbug, I like to photograph sunset and beautiful models. Recently, a photographer organized a model shooting event by a beach. The theme was ‘Sunset Bikini’. Since the theme involved two of my favorite subjects, I happily signed up. According to the organizer, the model was Kat. I thought, “Kat must be short for Katherine.”

The photography session was scheduled to start at 5.00pm, but the organizer and the model failed to turn up on time. I was a bit impatient, as we didn’t have much time left before it got dark. At 5.30pm the organizer finally arrived with the model. But there was another lady who appeared to be the model’s mother. I was intrigued.

It turned out that Kat was actually Katoy, and she was a Thai. She had just flown in from Bangkok. It is said that Thai girls are very attached to their families, so it was no surprised that Katoy asked her mother to come along. According to the organizer, Katoy was stuck at the immigration. Apparently the officers suspected that she was a sex worker! It wasn’t until she proved her return flight that the officers let her go.

Wasting no time, five shutterbugs – myself included – took pictures of this sexy model from the Land of Smile. Sadly, I didn’t quite manage to capture the sunset. Anyway, I got a few OK shots. Here are two:

More photos on my Flickr set.

Katoy’s homepage

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Malaysia’s Broadband War

Among Malaysian consumers, ADSL is the dominant technology used to access Internet. Streamyx is the leading ADSL service providers. In the past few years, however, wireless technology has emerged as the alternative means of Internet access. 3G and WiMAX providers are now challenging Streamyx.

P1, the leading WiMAX operator, recently launched an advertisement with the slogan ‘Potong Now’ (Cut Now). The ad tells us to cut the plain old telephony line (landline). Since most of us own mobile phones, landline is redundant, except in the case of prolonged power failure. And if we cut the landline, we essentially terminate the Streamyx service as well.

Here is the P1 ad. Click to enlarge…

Streamyx responded by launching its own marketing campaign. In its ad, a man is shown as having to surf the Net from a window. It implies that wireless technology is not good, and that we can’t use it indoor. (I doubt the claim, though.)

This is Streamyx’s ad. Click to enlarge…

P1’s ‘Cut Now’ slogan may backfire. In this Islamic state, the very word ‘cut’ has another meaning. It implies the circumcision ceremony performed on Muslim boys.

The broadband war has heated up in Malaysia. Competition is good for the consumers, isn’t it? (Well, except in the case of soccer TV broadcast.)