the letter z

The last letter of the alphabet is the bane of my existence, especially when it comes to Scrabulous/ Wordscraper. I don’t know that many words with ‘z’ in them, and the ones that I do require too many vowels that I do not have. Last I checked, they don’t recognise lolspeak.

Then there’s the pronunciation. I was in my very late teens when I learned that the Americans pronounce it differently from us (us meaning those who grew up saying lorries instead of trucks, autumn instead of fall, rubber instead of eraser, petrol instead of gas, holiday instead of vacation… you get the idea).

What we call ‘zed’, they call ‘zee’. Though I suppose we don’t really call it ‘zed’, but ‘zack’. But ‘zack’ is not too far away from ‘zed’, whereas ‘zee’ is akin to a different planet altogether. I may have immersed myself in some American culture, but ‘zee’ is something that I cannot bring myself to say. Memories of my Standard Six English teacher haunt me till this day.

Unless it’s a brand, e.g. TMZ. Then I have no problem with that.

Most of you would also realise that those educated in Chinese schools pronounce it as something else too. In words, ‘zoo’ becomes ‘joo’, ‘zero’ becomes ‘jilo’ and sometimes ‘New Zealand’ becomes ‘New Jeeland’.

I am not taking the piss. Since I didn’t really pay attention in my Mandarin classes, I wonder if there’s something in the phonetics/ language that hinders the Chinese educated peps from pronouncing it as ‘zack’ or ‘zed’. I know that KY spent his primary and secondary school years in a Chinese school, but this mispronunciation doesn’t apply to him.

Well, if you have any insight, I’d love to know.

noor nirwandy mat noordin is an imbecile

And so is everyone else ‘slamming’ the current Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim’s suggestion that UiTM be opened up to non-bumiputeras.

Not that I personally know a lot of non-bumis clamouring to be admitted to UiTM. Entrance to local universities (who do not practise that much of racial discrimination) is not that hard to get, if one would put in a little effort that is. Otherwise, there are loans and scholarships (particularly the FaMa scholarship) abundant in private institutions for those who wish to further their tertiary education.

Plus I don’t know why Khalid Ibrahim is even talking about UiTM. There are other more urgent and important things for him to focus on, no?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t wake up every morning wishing for non-bumis to be able to study at the university. Sorry for priorities.

But since he has bothered to raise the subject, it is inevitable for us to read about the reactions to his suggestion. Then reactions to the reactions, and reactions to the reactions to the reactions. At the end of the day, nothing will change, everything will remain the same. Khalid Ibrahim will move on to something else; hopefully something more pressing than this. Come the new semester, a new compulsory subject will be introduced to those at UiTM so they may study various voice structures, hand gestures and body language to make “CINA BALIK TONG SAN, INDIA BALIK INDIA” sound more menacing.

I have no doubt that UiTM produces (a few) excellent graduates. Some of my friends and colleagues received their degrees from the university, and thankfully they do not share the same sentiments as the current PPIM project director, the UiTM vice-chancellor and the 5,000 UiTM students who staged a demonstration in front of the state secretariat building.

That’s why we are friends and can get along beautifully. A common unifying factor is that we are able to see past race and skin colour to maintain our friendships, as well as to get the job done.

I didn’t learn that from studying at UiTM. They skipped the racial discrimination lectures.

But let’s get back to the article. I don’t need to emphasize that I am friends with people of all races to make my point. I am sure that it’s very tiring (for EVERYONE) to have to start off by explaining, “I am not a racist, I am good friends with Ali, Ah Leong and Muthu…”

Sheesh, get over yourselves.

‘No need to open up UiTM to other races’

PETALING JAYA: Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UiTM) is the last bastion for Malay and bumiputra students to further their studies and there is no need to open it up to other races, the Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) said.

In a response to the proposal by Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim for UiTM to open up 10% of its intake to other races, PPIM said the move would be seen as challenging the special rights of the Malays.

PPIM project director Noor Nirwandy Mat Noordin said the government and its leaders had to be tougher in defending such issues because although the country was multiracial, there was “no need to sideline Malay special rights.”

“If something like this is allowed to happen, then there will be a worrying situation where many Malay institutions will crumble and be ‘Malaysia-nised’.

“It is hoped that the exclusiveness of UiTM is not undermined by anyone and it be allowed to continue as an institution that will strengthen the Malays,” he said in a statement.

You can read the full article here at The Star Online.

1) Bastion? BASTION?! Fueling the on-going, unspoken but understood senseless racial war?
2) Keep your special Malay rights AND continue to lose the REAL war that is the survival of the fittest
3) Since when is bumiputera solely Malay?
4) When UTAR was launched, you buggers bitched so loudly that it’s a racist institution. Spot the irony.
5) What are you hoping to strengthen the Malays with that you cannot do with one or two non-Malays in the classroom?
6) Being Malaysia-nised is not derogatory. I guarantee you that it will produce not just better Malays, but better MALAYSIANS.

But no one ever listens to me. :(

my camera is like, better than yours

I have in my hands a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ15 — 9.1 Megapixels, 10x optical zoom, 28mm wide angle… I guess that just about covers all my point and shoot needs! If I am not mistaken it retails for RM 1399.

So I stood at one spot in my boss’ office, looked out the window and took a photo.

Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ15 - normal
Mode: Intelligent Auto. Tarak zoom, nothing, nada, zilch

Then at the same spot, I took it again at 5x zoom.

Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ15 - 5x zoom
Mode: Intelligent Auto. Zoom 5x

And again at 10x zoom.

Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ15 - 10x zoom
Mode: Intelligent Auto. Zoom 10x

:D

You can click on the photos above for a slightly larger version. Some quality loss from photoshop, but not too drastically a lot, I’d imagine.

hk june 08 – food food food

1) All photos taken using my super duper sibeh canggih Nokia N82.
2) You can click on the photos to view a larger version. It’s okay, we are all a bit blind sometimes.

When we touched down at the airport, the first thing that came to my mind was… KRISPY KREME! Well, what to do… we don’t have it here in Malaysia (yet) and all you people kept going on about how marvelous it is and how delicious and how everything, that I felt I ought to give it a try. Not VERY affordable, okay… half a dozen for HK$110 for freakin’ doughnuts!

Hong Kong - Krispy Kreme outlet at airport
The Krispy Kreme outlet at the Hong Kong international airport

Erna and I bought half a dozen to be shared. And this is my Krispy Kreme New York cheesecake doughnut that I could not finish consuming, because my family has a history of diabetes and I didn’t want to take my chances.

Hong Kong - Krispy Kreme New York cheesecake
Got my saliva somewhere

My colleague tumpang a dozen from me. When he received and tasted it, he remarked that the Hong Kong version was too sweet — apparently he got some in Jakarta and the sugar level was very much acceptable. But not the Hong Kong one. I am sticking to Big Apple for my doughnut fix :P

We stayed at the BP International for our first night in Hong Kong. Package included breakfast, so…

Hong Kong - breakfast of champions
Breakfast of champions!

Erna was very amused by my sandwich. It tasted awesome! The bacon was crispy and crunchy, the omelette had cheese and mushroom and ham and capsicum, the thousand island sauce because I am Malaysian. As I bit into my very delicious sandwich, I could feel my arteries clogging up. But it was worth it. I suppose in 20 years’ time I’d look back and slap myself for wittingly screwing up my internal organs but that’s 20 years away!

Second evening in Tsim Tsa Tsui, we decided to eat cheap(er). Wandered into a random restaurant but the only available table was next to the toilet. So we decided to tar pau balik to our hotel room instead.

Hong Kong - beef ball noodles
Beef ball noodles with oyster sauce

You know, when it was written ‘beef ball noodles with oyster sauce’, I didn’t expect beef ball noodles WITH oyster sauce… I thought they’d at least mix the sauce like how we get our wantan mee here. I suppose I should not take such things for granted. It doesn’t look very appetising, right? Well, it wasn’t.

One evening in Central district, we walked back to Lan Kwai Fong for beer, and decided to have our dinner at a German pub called Schnurrbart. Mostly because it was cosy, we were tired and lazy to go elsewhere, beer is always fantastic, and the bartender was very helpful with giving us directions to Stanley etc.

Hong Kong - sausages, potatoes, sauerkraut
Typical German pub food – PORK sausages, fried potatoes and sauerkraut, yum!

We also ate at McDonalds once, at Burger King once and a quick sandwich at Pret a Manger. And a English breakfast set on the morning before we left for home. Familiar stuff can be comforting, heh.

Another noodly meal at one of the roadside restaurants:

Hong Kong - roadside noodles
Bread, egg, and noodles with pork chop

We had our last evening meal in Hong Kong at a restaurant located a short distance from our hotel. Looked promising because there were a lot of people eating there. Heh, that’s almost always my gauge for edible (hopefully food) food. A typical conversation would go something like this:

“Let’s check out this restaurant/ food place!”
“Oh? What do they sell?”
“No idea. But there are lots of people in there! Shouldn’t be too bad.”

We got an order of deep-fried chicken wings because we saw it being delivered to one of the customers. Apparently the restaurant was well-known for it. Not bad.

Hong Kong - deep fried chicken wings with spices
Deep-fried chicken wings with spice

And more noodles! Thankfully this one was a bit different, with the soup being of the hot and sour kind. Plus you could add whatever ingredients you wanted — assorted parts of the pig, sotong balls, etc.

Hong Kong - noodles with assorted toppings
A big bowl of noodles in hot and sour soup

I bought back some ‘lou poh bing‘ because Pinky insisted that I get some to try. Hmmm… tasted like any Chinese pastries that I can get here in Malaysia :P I shared it with some noobs and they seemed to like it :P

noobs eating wife cake
Noobs eating wife’s cake

For the record, Kim had only one. I took two photos of her eating that single one, that’s all :P

.::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::.

All blog posts on this trip:

- hk june 08 – the obligatory ‘i waz there’ photos
- hk june 08 – food food food
- hk june 08 – things you can buy with money
- hk june 08 – what little alcohol tales
- hk june 08 – when relieving yourself is not a relief

- Flickr set for Hong Kong 2008 trip

felt i should jump on the 080808 bandwagon

… and update my blog. The Beijing Olympic Games begins today, right? Trust the Chinese to select such a date. Yesterday my sister asked me if I knew what time the opening ceremony starts. I told her I have no idea because I don’t care about the Olympics (in so many words). I think she rolled her eyes, but I couldn’t be sure because I was already telling her about the small shelves that I want to get for my bedroom.

The only time I was excited about the Olympics was when Tiesto played a 90 min set in Athens in 2004. The album unbelievably outstanding, I think I had tears in my eye.

Tomorrow I am watching Wall-E at 1U. It’s a charity screening, tickets bought by TNB in support of the Malaysian Nature Society. I’m bringing Ryan along, and after that we’ll be meeting up with Peter Tan and Wuan somewhere @ 1U, most likely at Waffle House between 12.30 – 1 pm. Come join if you like.

Watched The Mummy 3 with le Spongefox and Rach. If you have yet to watch the movie and would like to watch it, you should stop reading this post just about… now.

I read countless reviews on the movie, and how sucky it was, Brendan Fraser was only cashing a pay cheque, bla bla bla. They were all correct. But because of those negative reviews, I went into the cinema hall with high expectations that it would suck. And it pretty much did! The cast members had absolutely zero chemistry. You can’t pay me $100,000 to believe that Brendan Fraser and Mario Bello’s characters were a loving married couple. It was very difficult to take in that Brendan Fraser didn’t seem to age at all padahal his son was so grown-up. Luke Ford should get another day job. Most of the CGI was colourful, but unbelievable. Did I mention Luke Ford? Well he should never speak Mandarin again, ever.

Jet Li, Anthony Wong and Michelle Yeoh were great though. I guess not so much Jet Li lah, since his acting has always been wooden anyway. But when he could be bothered to fight… sigh I live for those moments.

Despite noobness in the acting and plot, I really enjoyed watching it. Hah! One of those no-brainer, don’t have to think at all kind of movies. I even enjoyed watching the cringe-worthy moments, because I kept laughing to myself thinking how cheesy everything was. Damn best, I tell you. I think I am going to watch The Mummy 1 and 2 at home tonight.

Admittedly I am a bit slow, but I just found out that you can purchase tickets and select your own seats via GSC’s website. I have been living in the past when you call to book movie tickets via the phone for too long. This is so much fun! The site’s a bit slow to load though.

Sometimes I wished I had enough balls (figuratively speaking) to tell the people seated next to me/ behind me in cinemas to shut the fuck up/ stop kicking my chair. Too many people are immune to angry glances.

Need to spend some time and rearrange my blog’s categories, etc. And to delete irrelevant entries from back when. Need to clean my room and throw out a lot of stuff. Need to finish writing *that* blog post. Need to figure out what to eat tonight. Need to get a haircut.

Oh yah, remember my review on Chris Blake’s Wave? Hah! Guess he found my review, read it and liked it. Check out what he blogged on his MySpace ;)

*kembang beribu juta*

Oh while still on the entertainment topic, I am watching the making of LOTR 1,2,3 again. Bit by bit la, there are 7 DVD discs in total. Why not watch the *actual* movies instead of the making? Well, I’ve seen those a few times too. But I always love watching ‘the making’ more, because they went on great lengths about the fine details of things. Costumes, make-up, sound, miniatures, special effects… it allows me to better appreciate the movies; like a documentary on actual places and events, and not something from Tolkien’s mind.

Also maybe because I can’t stand Liv Tyler, and I’ve always thought that Arwen should not have so much screen time. Cate Blanchett played an elf too, but she didn’t speak as if she was out of breath all the time. Don’t like, don’t like.

But my biggest grip with LOTR: RoTK was the near-ending, when Aragorn was crowned and Elrond brought forth Arwen. Then Aragorn rushed out to take Arwen into his arms and they kissed and every man, woman, hobbit, elf and dwarf smiled and clapped their hands. z0mg, worst scene ever, makes me hate RoTK the movie. Why couldn’t Peter Jackson make them hold each other tightly and leave it at that? Makes me wish that a fell beast would crash land there and then and wipe them off the face of Middle Earth.

What’s your most-hated scene in any movie?