Thursday, October 30, 2008

We are the Project Trafford Winners!

A final bit of closure for everyone who participated (or followed) Project Trafford ever since it was announced in late May this year: Group C is the winner!

Initially, the cynic in me said it was almost impossible to beat the groups (led by Kennia Sia, ShaolinTiger and others), but head honcho Nicole provided the spark in Group C and led us to victory! And to teammates Chics, Aronil, Simon and Kif, if brainstorming was as cool that the one that we did, then we gotta try it again sometime. :P

And oh, one more thing...

Cheque's already in the mail, but we can't tell you how much it is! :)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

2008 Penang Starwalk to be held on December 14


This year's Starwalk in Ipoh on June 15


Related news articles:
The Star - Biggest turnout at Ipoh Starwalk since inaugural event in 2004
The Star - Penang Starwalk back in December
(signup details in that article)

There will be two major stretches in the 10 km walk. First you'll have to go along the highway, pass through a forest on an uphill climb and only then will you reach the finishing point outisde PISA.

Some pointers for folks who are planning to have their first run this year:

Wear a cap or put on some sunscreen as the morning sun will be usually scorching (no thanks to the lack of trees alongside the highway).

How you keep yourself hydrated is up to you but I recommend you bring along a small bottle (500 ml) of water at least. Big guzzlers need 1.5 litres but running and carrying that will be a bit troublesome.

Signing up for the competitive category (RM12) is better than the non-competitive one (RM8). There's no difference in the route but at least you'll receive a nice certificate for your effort.

Keep your registration receipt stub safe with you and make sure to stick around until the end of the lucky draw ceremony. Last year there were a lot of unclaimed prizes when the numbers were announced. You don't want to lose a chance to win a motorcycle or a flat-screen television, do you?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Grand Coalition Government for Malaysia?

Well, well... The options are now laid out on the table.

In an interview arranged by The Nut Graph, constitutional lawyer Tommy Thomas proposes this fourth option in charting Malaysia's political future:
The other thing I would like to suggest is, in times of crisis, [perhaps] it is a good time for the formation of a national government. A government of all parties — a grand coalition.

We have the example of the Barisan Nasional (BN). After the events of 13 May, Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak formed the BN in 1974 (by inviting opposition parties like Gerakan, the People's Progressive Party and PAS to join the Alliance; only DAP and Parti Sosialis Rakyat Malaysia refused to join the coalition).

A grand BN-PR coalition government? Hmmm, now that's food for thought.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A By-Election in Singapore as Well?


(Click here for larger pic)

Malaysiakini, Malaysia Today, and The Malaysian Insider tend to be the "trifecta" of recommended reading in order to get an understanding of Malaysia's politics. But when the dust settles, the hype dies down and you're a bit tired of reading about the same old issues again and again (like Anwar and his by-election), it's time to look elsewhere.

My focus then went southward towards Singapore (it's been damn long since I wrote a SG-related blog post) and I came across this news which went under my radar for a month or so:

From Littlespeck.com:
The unfortunate demise of Bukit Batok’s MP Dr. Ong Chit Chung has thrown up opportunities for both the PAP and the opposition parties in Singapore, especially for J.B. Jeyaretnam's newly formed Reform Party.

...

If a by-election is held and the PAP receives a strong majority of votes, it will be a strong testimonial of the party’s infallability even in times of economic uncertainty. This will certainly help boost the ruling party’s image as one that is strong regardless of economic conditions.

If a by-election is held, and in the unfortunate event that the seat is lost to an opposition candidate, there can be a silver lining in the cloud - the party will then understand that, perhaps, some of its policies in recent times have lost touch with the electorate
.

Previous post: Singapore's J.B. Jeyaretnam To Register New Political Party On Friday

From 1988 to 2001, the late Dr. Ong served in the Bukit Batok constituency for two terms. From 2001 onwards, he was a part of the 5-member Jurong GRC (Group Representation Constituency).

In Singapore's law, there are no requirements that a by-election will be called in the event of the resignation/death of a GRC member, and past examples (like in 1999) indicate that the GRC team will take over his/her duties. So far the rather autocratic PAP government in Singapore has no plans for a by-election, but in case they change their mind, here are the stats of previous Jurong GRC elections:

2001:
Total voters - 115,113
Voter turnout - 109,198 (94.9%)
Spoilt votes - 2,945 (2.7%)
Winner's vote majority - 63,231 (59.6%)

PAP - 84,472 votes (79.75%)
• Halimah Bte Yacob
• Lim Boon Heng
• Ong Chit Chung
• Tharman Shanmugaatnam
• Yu-Foo Yee Shoon
SDP - 21,511 votes (20.25%)
• Chee Soon Juan
• Chee Siok Chin
• Ghandi s/o Karuppiah Ambalam
• Mohamed Isa Bin Abdul Aziz
• Yeo Boon Keng Vincent

2006:
Total voters - 116,573
Voter turnout - N/A
Spoilt votes - N/A
Winner's vote majority - N/A

PAP - Walkover
• Grace Fu Hai Yien
• Halimah Bte Yacob
• Lim Boon Heng
• Ong Chit Chung
• Tharman Shanmugaratnam
Opposition - No team fielded
• N/A
• N/A
• N/A
• N/A
• N/A

Sources:
Jurong GRC election results (2001)
Jurong GRC election results (2006)


Related articles:
• The Straits Times - Jurong GRC MP Ong Chit Chung dies
• The Straits Times - By-election: Pragmatism or Principle?

Monday, August 18, 2008

We're Still Proud of You, Lee Chong Wei


The Star: Chong Wei offers no excuse after tame loss to Lin Dan

That's the stigma of getting a silver in badminton. The backlash from the public wouldn't be that serious if Lee Chong Wei came back from Beijing with a lesser bronze medal. Why this mentality? Haven't 12 years of both success and failures proved to Malaysians that our sporting teams are an inconsistent lot?

I wrote this in a blog post dated April 14, 2008:
I'm quite hopeful that Malaysia will get at least a medal this time round, but this time not from badminton. Despite coach Rexy Mainaky's efforts, the pairing of Koo Kien Kiat and Tan Boon Heong had a glimmer of an Olympic gold at one point but inconsistency has cost them a lot. No matter how much money the government pumps into the Badminton Association of Malaysia, we are looking at nothing if there's no more fresh talent.

Keep an eye out on our underdogs in the Olympics, expect nothing from the expected, and we might end up with a modest sum of medals in Beijing.

I wrote off Malaysian's badminton chances 4 months ago and I can say I'm glad to be proven wrong.

In the short few days leading up till the final, Chong Wei's achievement gave Malaysians hope that he'll put and end to our Olympic gold medal drought. He fought tooth and nail against South Korea's Lee Hyun-Il in the semis. He was probably nervous, tired and up against a fitter, superior, well-rested and definitely more confident opponent.

Lee Chong Wei, we're proud of you for being Malaysia's first medalist in Beijing. :)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

U.S. Warships Spotted off the Coast of Penang!

While taking photos for a little thing called Project Trafford on June 4th, 2008, we saw 2 U.S. Navy warships and a cruise liner off the coast of Fort Cornwallis. It wasn't until a couple of days later till we found out their names and purpose in Penang.

Related articles:
The Star - US navy ship visits
The Star - Fruitful outing for 630 navy crew members
The Star - Tourists soak up the charm of Penang


So ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you the USS Cape St. George, a state-of-the-art Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser:


(Click here for larger photo)

This is its escort, the USS Halsey, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer:


(Click here for larger photo)


Now for something different, we spotted this ship right beside the navy vessels. This is the Sun Princess, an Australian luxury cruise liner carrying 2,600 passengers.


(Click here for larger photo)

Here we have the Sun Princess crossing the path of the USS Cape St. George.


(Click here for larger photo)

Pretty amazing vessels, aren't they? :)

Photo credits: Evangel Lim

Friday, July 18, 2008

Penang State Government Gives RM500 to University Students

From the New Straits Times:

GEORGE TOWN: The state government is offering a one-time financial aid of RM500 to needy students here to cope with the cost of entering a tertiary institution. Political secretary to the Chief Minister, Ng Wei Aik, said in a statement yesterday that students whose parents earn a basic salary of RM2,000 and below could apply for the aid.

"Parents can apply through the Land and District Offices in the Northeast, Southwest, Seberang Perai Utara, Seberang Perai Tengah or Seberang Perai Selatan districts," he said.

The form can also be downloaded from the state government's web portal at http://www.penang.gov.my/.

Ng said each application must be verified by the chairman of the Village and Security Development Committee or the village heads in the respective district offices.

Ng added that the aid was only considered for the current year or session and those who were undergoing pre-university or matriculation courses were not eligible for the aid.

Instead of wading through the website, here's the direct link to page in question. With less than 2 weeks remaining before the July 31st deadline, be quick if you're interested!

Besides the RM500 financial aid, students can also apply for a loan from the state government if they're unable to receive it from PTPTN. According to statistics provided by the site, only 220 applicants were given loans from the state last year, a far cry from the thousands that PTPTN has to deal with every year. Yes the amount is lower (RM4,000-5,000 compared to RM6,500-7,000), but there should be less hassle in the application. Deadline is also July 31st.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Parti Sosialis Malaysia Finally Gets Registration Approval


From The Malaysian Insider:
KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 — Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid has approved in principle the registration of Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) as a political party.

PSM has two elected lawmakers who won their seats on the Parti Keadilan Rakyat ticket in Election 2008. Dr M. Jayakumar Devaraj was the "giant killer" who ousted Datuk S. Samy Vellu from the Sungai Siput parliamentary constituency and Dr Nasir Hashim is the Selangor assemblyman for Kota Damansara.

PSM has waged a 10-year battle to gain recognition as a political party including a law suit still in progress against the government.

The party will now request the Federal Court for an adjournment of the case. The Home Ministry's approval has made PSM's appeal against an earlier court decision to reject its application to be registered as a political party irrelevant. Syed Hamid's intervention in favour of PSM should make the party's new registration a sure thing.

PSM protem secretary-general S. Arutchelvan had on May 28 sought Syed Hamid's support for the party's request for registration.

Syed Hamid responded positively to Arutchlvan's email on June 4 when he said the ministry would allow PSM's registration to proceed.

Today the ministry followed up with a letter asking that PSM put in a new application for political party status.

Ten long years! Congratulations is all I can say to them.

What isn't mentioned in the article is that PSM originally descended from Parti Sosialis Rakyat Malaysia, which then later dropped the word "Sosialis" from its name and later merged with Parti Keadilan Nasional to form Parti Keadilan Rakyat. A splinter group who objected to the merger still keeps the Parti Rakyat Malaysia name but they failed to win a single seat during the recent March 8 election.

Speaking of splinter groups, one of them is the Malaysian Democratic Party which branched off from the Democratic Action Party. MDP ran under the PKR banner and won a parliament seat. At the moment these small parties have a strong base in their own constituencies but as for outside unfortunately not much is known about them. It would be interesting to see how would they grow given the proper political environment.

Related link: Parti Sosialis Malaysia website

Monday, June 16, 2008

I Was Standing Five Feet Away From Anwar Ibrahim!

...until the crowd swarmed towards him and I had to squeeze myself out.

But of course this is nothing compared to this blogger who invited Anwar and Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim to his Dubai house.

Anyways, I'm too tired to blog at the moment. Just wanted to say that the recent Pakatan Rakyat ceramah at the Penang city stadium (beside Lorong Kulit market) was very successful (my estimation is 10,000 people), seeing how everyone turned out just to listen to Anwar Ibrahim speak. He doesn't need any prepared notes nor cues from DJs for the crowd to applause. One thing I feel that sets Pakatan Rakyat politcians from the Barisan Nasional ones is their speeches seem to be more sincere. Their words flow out from their hearts rather than their pockets and most importantly, what they say is relevant to the lives of the ordinary rakyat.

Lim Guan Eng delivered a good speech as well though, even though it was a bit obvious that the heavily accented Hokkien parts of his speech didn't go down well with the Malay-majority crowd. However he managed to turn on the crowd's response when he started speaking in Malay. As usual, Lim Guan Eng is the more down-to-earth guy and I believe his tenure as Penang Chief Minister will truly outlast Koh Tsu Koon. If Anwar manages to become Prime Minister, I say Lim Guan Eng might have a good chance to become his Deputy. :)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Rammstein and Kittens!

What do you get when you cross Rammstein, a Neue Deutsche Harte (New German Hard) band, with some cute and fluffy kittens?

The result is this:



Giggled to death yet? :)

Moby - Dream About Me



In memoriam.

14 June 2007 - 11 July 2007

Friday, June 13, 2008

Malaysiakini: 2,000 Play "Cat and Mouse" With Cops [Video Inside]

Previous post: And the Fuel Hike Protests Begins! [Updated With Photos]

Barely 3 hours after the protest had started, Malaysiakini has come up with a video report on the event:

Today's fuel hike protest could be a dry run of sorts. The 2,000 strong crowd was most likely testing the response of the police and FRU (as well as the politicians behind them), in anticipation of yet another protest at KLCC on July 12.

How many are they aiming for? One million participants! Next month's protest would rival the Bersih and Hindraf ones last year in size. With enough time and preparation (it's an added advantage that July 12 falls on a Saturday), it would be entirely possible to rally at least 100,000 people in a month's time. It would also be important to see how the federal government would react.



Btw, anyone noticed how the police, government and mass media would stress the "illegal" part of "illegal gathering" in the days before today's protests?

And the Fuel Hike Protests Begins! [Updated With Photos]

The Malaysian Insider says:
Latest: Protest march in KL
Thousands, their arms linked in a show of unity, are about to start marching from the Kampung Baru mosque towards the Petronas Twin Towers, shouting "Turun harga" (down with prices), "Turun minyak" (down with petrol), "Turun BN" (down with BN). The police have yet to make any move to break up the assembly. The security forces, with shields up, are keeping a close watch.

One agitated protestor was heard shouting for Pak Lah to step down, calling him a "paling penipu" (liar who lies the most).

Malaysiakini estimates the size of the protest crowd to be roughly 1,000. Started just half an hour ago, the protestors had to take a different route to KLCC because of the FRU's (Federal Reserve Unit) intereference.

Update #2 from The Malaysian Insider:
Thousands of protesters, six-car lanes wide and about 100 metres long, are now on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman heading towards the Petronas Twin Towers. The road has been closed to traffic. The police are keeping a close watch of the situation and have yet to make any move to break up the assembly. A police helicopter is also observing the proceedings from the sky.

Malaysiakini now reports that the opposition-led protestors are avoiding any confrontations with the police. Hundreds of people are staging a sit-down protest in front of Sogo departmental store. As usual, it's going to be a game of cat and mouse between the protestors and the police. Malaysiakini now revises the number to 2,000.

This is the original protest route planned:


Update #3 from Malaysiakini:
Police have indicated that no arrests will be made so far, since after marching to PAS' headquarters in Jalan Raja Laut it is believed that the protestors will disperse there.


(Photo above credit to Stanley88 from the Lowyat.net forums.)


(Photo above credit to JS from the Lowyat.net forums. Click here for the larger version.)


(Photo above credit to JS from the Lowyat.net forums. Click here for the larger version.)

Update #4 from The Malaysian Insider:
"The leaders of BN are living off the backs of the rakyat," one protestor was heard shouting. Heavy police presence prevented protesters from proceeding to the KLCC as planned so the back-up end point is now Sogo in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. They are heading back to the PAS office in Jalan Raja Laut. PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar says they are hoping to collect 1 million signatures ahead of the July 5 protest which is to be the biggest in Malaysia. As of today, they have already collected 10,000 signatures. They want the fuel prices to go back to pre-hike level.

At a press conference after the protest march, it was announced that the Pakatan Rakyat roadshow to protest the fuel hike will kick off this Sunday in Penang at the Stadium Bandaraya. All the Pakatan leaders will be there including Anwar Ibrahim.

From The Star:
KUALA LUMPUR: A large group gathered in front of the Kampung Baru mosque after Friday prayers to protest the recent fuel price hike.

The group marched towards the junction of Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and Jalan Dang Wangi in front of the Sogo shopping complex.

They then sat on the road for a few minutes before moving on to the PAS headquarters on Jalan Raja Laut.

A total of 889 police personnel stood watch but did not confront the crowd for fear of provoking unruly behaviour among the demonstrators.

The crowd dispersed at about 3.15pm shortly after reaching the PAS headquarters.

Earlier it was reported that about 2,000 police officers and FRU personnel were deployed near Kampung Baru and the Kuala Lumpur City Centre ahead of the anticipated fuel price hike rally organised by PAS.

[Updates completed.]

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Watch Project Trafford In Action In Fort Cornwallis, Penang!

Previous post: Guess Who's In Nuffnang's Project Trafford?

On June 4th, 2008, this Project Trafford member who was in Penang, an outpost hundreds of kilometres away from the core group, executed his game plan on the unsuspecting public. How? By offering free hugs for chips! (We didn't settle for anything less than Mister Potato chips!)

Why free hugs?
A hug can be one of the most comforting things you can give to someone. It can be a sign of friendship or closeness and it just warms up the heart for both the giver and receiver.

Why Fort Cornwallis?
Two hundred years ago the fort was an important outpost for the British Empire. It was a symbol of the Empire’s military strength and it used to house the Royal Artillery troops and Sikh police. Now it's a very popular tourist attraction. If you compare it to modern day Old Trafford, I guess you can consider it to be Manchester United's very own fort!

On June 4th...
Andy the Project Trafford member and two of his accomplices set out to Fort Cornwallis with some colourful markers and some very large pieces of cardboard.


This is one of the more popular spots in Fort Cornwallis as the cannons all face the sea. He stands there, waiting, and sees someone approaching... Ready for a hug? Not yet it seems...


The group then moved onwards into the room where the gunpowder was kept. He stands in front of the antique displays, eagerly waving his cardboard and hoping to catch the attention of visitors.


What's this? Noooooooooo! Andy is now locked inside the cell where prisoners were once held. It’s most likely a sabotage by Mister Potato's rivals, but he doesn't give up!


Luckily a sympathiser to our cause has released us from the cell! Instead of offering free hugs for chips, we switched our tactics and offered free chips for hugs to lure visitors. See the flag of the United Kingdom? That’s home to Old Trafford as well!


Yes! A Mister Potato fan has taken up on our offer! After hugging, we gave him a bag of Mister Potato chips. He may have gotten the chips, but all that matters is we got the pouch!

Our analysis and predictions...
If we repeated this game plan over many days and in various places all over Malaysia, we would soon be able to collect thousands of Mister Potato pouches. What you’ve seen in this post is the effort of a single Nuffnanger only. Imagine Nuffnangers thronging KLCC, Dataran Merdeka and other famous landmarks in Malaysia! Our primary objective was to secure pouches and seals for our eventful journey to Old Trafford, and our secondary objective was to promote Mister Potato chips to the public. And so we consider this a successful mission. :)

Our teammates are Nicole (leader), Chics, Simon, Aronil and Kif. Together as a team, the six of us executed our game plan in Penang, Kuala Lumpur and even Australia! Split into four groups due to circumstance, we were able to pull off our plan in different and unique ways, and just check out our blog posts to see which method tickles your fancy.

Be ruthless in getting pouches and be warm in giving friendly hugs, that’s one way to get yourself to Old Trafford! :D

Saturday, June 7, 2008

This Is How PPS Looked Like In 2005

I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!

Way back on August 31, 2005, I just knew that taking a screenshot of Project Petaling Street's new website design might be useful in the future. From then until now, the design is still minimalistic but its purpose remains the same.


Looks like a photo from a school yearbook, correct? (Click on the pic to enlarge it.)

So, about thoughts to the future... Can anyone envision a PPS coded in a Web 2.0 style (like Penang Bloggers or ping.sg), or how about a Web 3.0 version in another five year's time?

Anyways...
Happy Birthday to Project Petaling Street!

The Star: Penang Government To Run Bridge Marathon

What a nice turnaround of events. The Pakatan Rakyat-led Penang state government is planning to take over the bridge marathon this year, thereby saving it from cancellation! You know what? If they can pull it off better than last year's event, this will be another feather in PR's cap. As for Azalina Othman, nobody will believe in her crocodile tears anymore.

From The Star:
GEORGE TOWN: The state government is planning to take over the organisation of the Penang Bridge Marathon this year after the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) cancelled it last month.

State Tourism, Culture, Arts and Heritage Committee chairman Danny Law Heng Kiang said the state had sought permission from the LLM to do it.

"We have yet to fix the date though as we need to liaise with the International Marathon Council. We don't want the run to clash with other events."

LLM director-general Datuk Mohamad Razali Othman had, on May 11, announced that there would not be a run due to financial and manpower constraints.

A week later, Law told reporters yesterday that Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said was disappointed with the cancellation as the marathon had been successful in attracting local and foreign participants in past years.

Previous articles:
• May 12 - 2008 Penang Bridge Marathon Cancelled
• May 13 - Penang Bridge Marathon Cancellation - Satu Lagi Projek BN?

Increase Your Google Adsense CTR With Background Pics


Dot Com Mogul has come up with a collection of over 300 background pics designed to be used with Google Adsense and also Adbrite ads. Don't worry as these Adsense backgrounds are certified safe to use by Google. These graphics stand out in your website and they're suitable for various popular ad sizes. For only US$5, it's quite a good buy if you want a higher CTR (click through rate) in Adsense. :)

Even I'm thinking of getting them. What do you think of these backgrounds? Interested?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Creation of New Anime Blog!

One's a serious as hell issue that affects the fate of both nation and people, and the other is just a form of (rather addicting) entertainment. There's no way I can continue blogging about both politics and anime in the same breath. I gotta separate both posts into different blogs, which is now I present to you:

Delta's Anime Corner

Please point your addresses to that blog for your future anime updates. :)

PAP's Lee Kuan Yew and SDP's Chee Soon Juan Face Off In Court

It looks like the unflattering side of Singaporean Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew was revealed to the world in a transcript published on Singapore Democratic Party's website on Sunday. As we know, men are not infallible and neither should Lee Kuan Yew be casted into the limelight in the likes of Joseph Stalin and Kim Jong Il. But if the Minister Mentor (what a snazzy title, Mahathir should've gotten it!) wants to be associated with maniacs and dictators, that's his choice but why drag the rest of Singapore with you?

Click here to read a portion of the court transcript.

Unfortunately Chee's efforts in court came with a high price: 12 days in jail for Chee under the charge of "contempt of court" while his sister is sentenced to 10 days in jail. There's no need to "reward" him, Singapore's judicial system has the capacity to fully self-destruct.

The only person in Malaysia who can come close to what Chee Soon Juan has done is most likely Tian Chua. Both have shown themselves to be both vocal and physical activists against their respective goverments, and both have absorbed a great deal of punishments. While Tian Chua has the support of his fellow PKR and Pakatan Rakyat MPs and assemblymen, the political situation in Singapore is not favourable to Chee and his sister right now.

To the PAP, just keep on with your authoritarian style and get ready to receive a bloody nose from your electorates in 2011. PAP's share of the popular votes is on a downward trend from 75.3%* in 2001 to just 66.6%* in the latest general election in 2006. Based on my predictions (ceteris paribus and no walkovers) and realistically speaking, PAP's share in the next general election might drop until 54% and opposition lawmakers might take at least 1 Group Representation Constituency (probably Aljunied GRC) worth 5 parliamentary seats and 10 other Single Member Constituencies (SMC). Next time would be the time that the opposition gets it right, most people would feel that way.

* Data source: Singapore-Elections.com - 2001 and 2006

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Datacentre In Houston Catches Fire, 9,000 Websites Affected

I noticed that the performance of some websites are alarmingly slow and some aren't even working at all. Possibly related to this datacentre fire in Houston, Texas perhaps?

From News Blaze:
The Planet Houston Data Center Goes Up in a Puff of Smoke

Tonight at 5:45 p.m. in Houston, Texas, a transformer in The Planet H1 datacenter caught fire. The fire department required them to take down all generators.

This significant outage is impacting around 9,000 servers and 7,500 customers.

Luckily, there were no injuries. It is now known that there was an explosion that knocked down three walls surrounding the electrical equipment room.

...

According to staff, their management team and facilities staff are on site evaluating the situation.

"In our latest assessment, we have determined that networking gear has not been damaged, but we are without power so assessments continue. All disaster recovery systems are in motion, and we have teams already working in the data center."

More updates:
• The Planet Forums - Hstntx1 Wide Spread Outage
• The Planet Forums - H1 Data Center Outage


One of the websites affected is Entrecard, and this is the notice they issued to all members through e-mail.
Greetings,

Unfortunately, there has been an electrical fire at the data center housing Entrecard's servers. The servers have not been damaged, but the site may be down for as long as 12 hours.

Entrecard is hosted with The Planet, and this fire has effected over 9000 websites, as many of the world's most popualar websites are hosted with ThePlanet. They are working around the clock to get their data center back online, and we are hoping that they get it back online fast.

Thank you for your pateince and understanding with this rare and frustrating problem. Unfortunately, there is absolutely nothing we can do but wait for The Planet to get their datacenter back online.

Please check back with Entrecard in 12 to 24 hours.

Thanks,
Entrecard Team

Guess Who's In Nuffnang's Project Trafford?

Just a bit over a week ago, some curious Nuffnangers might've heard of this top secret project on Nuffnang's official blog.

Hmm... The word "Trafford" sounds awfully familiar...

Could it be related to this?


Or this perhaps?


If images of footballers in red jersys and white shorts popped into your head when you saw those pics, then congratulations because that's what Project Trafford is all about!

And if you would like to know who else is on board this project, here are our other five comrade in arms involved in this top secret mission:

Nicole from Nicole Chocoa Heaven (Numero uno leader and mastermind)
Chic from Bootylicious
Simon from Simon Says
Linora from Aronil - Just Me
Kif from 3POINT8

Our goal? We will be showing you how to win a once in a lifetime chance to visit Manchester United's home stadium in where else but Manchester, England! 30 lucky winners will be touring the grounds of Old Trafford and entering the team's very own personal museum. This valuable prize is worth RM15,000 per person and there is a way to win it (with your arms and legs intact, I promise!) :)

How? Just keep your eyes on this blog as we'll reveal to you the entire mystery of Project Trafford. I can only tell you it's related to Mister Potato and its yummy goodness. We'll be making 30 enthusiastic Man U fans very happy soon enough!

Giving Thanks To Entrecard Droppers

This blog post is a sign of thanks towards these Entrecard pals for faithfully dropping cards everyday on the month of May. Thank you. :)

60 Were Enough --- 31 drops
Sensory Over Load --- 30 drops
Search Engine Panel --- 29 drops
Sonnie's Porch --- 29 drops
Matt's Blog --- 28 drops
Carl G --- 28 drops
Health Nut Wannabee Mom --- 28 drops
sourkandy --- 28 drops
BaReFooTeD Me --- 27 drops
Juliana's World --- 26 drops

Friday, May 30, 2008

Received Google PIN Postcard!

Opened my postbox this evening to find this little slip inside. I'm sure most of you know what it means to reach the US$10 limit for Google Adsense. It took me two years just hit that amount. Well, 100 bucks, here I come! :)

Here's how the little postcard looks like. Though it doesn't have a stamp and a postmark means it could've been dropped into my postbox personally!

Front:


Back:


Inside:

The Malaysian Insider: UK Withdraws Malay Terrorist Ad

From The Malaysian Insider:
KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — The British High Commission here has agreed yesterday to withdraw an advertisement posted in the British Defence Ministry's website which portrays Malays as terrorists.

Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri said the action was taken following complaints from Malaysia.

"The ministry has also instructed the Malaysian High Commission in London to obtain further clarification on the matter from the British High Commission and to take the necessary action," he said when winding up the debate on the speech by the Yang Di-pertuan Agong in the Dewan Negara yesterday.

The advertisement, which runs for 30 seconds and is also screened in cinemas in Britain, was revealed by a reader of a local newspaper, who saw it when he was in the United Kingdom.

The advertisement shows a leader of a terrorist group, who is a Malay, firing into the air and said "Akulah orang yang paling jahat dalam dunia ini. Mari lawan aku. Aku akan bunuh semua' (I'm the most evil man in the world. Come fight me. I shall kill all of you)."


Terrorists could've easily been Arabs, Africans or even Caucasians rather than Malays, so what has prompted the British Defence Ministry to choose them to portray as terrorists? Charisma? Better acting skills?

Not really. To be honest our terrorist looks corny enough to have stepped out of a James Bond movie. Here's the clip on YouTube.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bernama: Grand Saga Asked To Stop Erecting Barrier



And it has fallen! Hopefully this time it'll stay down for good.

From Bernama:
KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 (Bernama) -- Syarikat Konsesi Grand Saga has been asked to stop erecting a concrete barrier at Jalan Mahkota Cheras to avoid further confrontation with residents, which began on April 21.

Selangor police chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar said the problem would not be settled until the parties concerned discuss it and reached an amicable settlement.

"Grand Saga which is erected barrier for the third time must stop it. The Highway Authority of Malaysia and Public Works Department should discuss and come to a decision quickly," he told reporters here Wednesday.

The residents who gathered as early as 10am Wednesday to protest the erection of the barrier swelled to a 500 crowd by 6pm and started destroying the barrier using hammers and lorries to drag the concrete slabs.

The situation returned to normal by 10.30pm after the concrete wall had been removed.

Related article: The Malay Mail / Malaysia Today - Night of violence at the Cheras barricade

Poster credit: mob1900

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bandar Mahkota Cheras Barricade Demolished Again!

One can only wonder how much money Grand Saga spent just to build a barricade that nobody wants. Tens of thousands of ringgit? Congrats to the residents of Bandar Mahkota Cheras for having the guts to fight for what they believe in!



Words written on that big stone block:
"Rakyat menang" (The people won)
"Grand Saga macam samseng!" (Grand Saga are like hooligans!)
"Taruh satu, roboh satu" (Place one, demolish one)

Photo credit: Kclau from Shutter Asia (more pics here; registration required)

Previous posts:
EXCLUSIVE: May 8-9 Bandar Makhota Cheras Standoff Photos!
Malaysiakini: Bandar Mahkota Cheras Residents Doused and Gassed [Video]

Chi's Sweet Home AMV

I was a hack economist in my previous post, and now I'm a hack video editor. :P

Ever since watching Chi's Sweet Home, the idea of turning it into an anime music video (AMV) kept bubbling in the back of my mind. If you had seen the song's original music video, you would've known why I chose to bring these two elements, the song and the anime, together.

Anyways, enjoy!



Song: Dream About Me
Artist: Moby

Episodes used: #1, #2, #4, #17 and #20

Video converter (from MKV to AVI): AllToAvi
Video editor (first draft): SolveigMM AVI Trimmer
Video editor (second draft): Windows Movie Maker

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Signs of a Snap Election Approaching?

First, the Election Commission tells its officers to be ready for a snap election, barely 3 months since the March 8th election was held.
The Star - Be prepared for snap polls, officers told

Then, Shahrir Samad says that the Barisan Nasional government might call a snap election if its powers are further eroded.
The Edge Daily - Govt may call for a snap election, Shahrir says

Now, Raja Petra Kamarudin predicts that PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi might dissolve parliament if Anwar Ibrahim's 30 or more crossovers succeed.
Malaysia Today - Be ready for a snap Parliamentary election

It looks like it's not over yet for Malaysia's political drama. There's still a long way to go!

Inflation and Stagflation


Ask anyone who's grumbling about rising food and living costs and they'll tell you it's because of inflation. So what is inflation really? Some kind of phenomena burdened on the shoulders of nations and people? Actually no. Inflation is usually associated with a robust and booming economy as well as a low unemployment rate (4% or less). This means that everyone has jobs, their total income and purchasing power would increase, prices of goods would then be pushed upwards so that suppliers can reap bigger profits and that's how inflation typically occurs.

But nope again. This isn't happening in Malaysia and in other parts of the world. There's a recession going on in the United States and oil prices are spiralling out of control, this mix of recession and inflation results in a situation called stagflation. This happened once before in the 1970's when oil-producing Arab countries imposed an oil embargo on Western countries for their involvement in the Yom Kippur War and stagflation is happening again.

In theory, stagflation in this instance can be solved by placing restrictions on oil companies as well as stimulating (with government assistance) industries badly affected by stagflation. Unfortunately this theory has no practical use. Its practical application is flawed since the government is unable to provide that much assistance. And especially in Malaysia, macroeconomics just isn't designed to deal with human factors such as corruption and the unpredictability of human behaviour.

We can solve the food crisis when nations increase their harvest for the year, but oil supplies is finite and will run out eventually. So I can't see any point in the future where oil prices can decline unless the world weans off its oil addiction. I know it's a pacifist strategy, but for now we have to sit out this rocky moment and hope that stagflation goes away by itself. There's no real solution yet, deficit spending to help end recession isn't popular because of the perception that our government's spending will only amount to wastage. If we can't fight recession, then all's that left to fight is inflation, and that's what you're seeing right now.

Related article: The Star - Oil hike reaches "tipping point"

Btw, I'm just a hack economist with pre-university education. Form Six's syllabus for Economics is a total pain in the arse since it's entirely in Malay. If any real economists can speak out on stagflation here, I'd appreciate it. :)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Tama the Cat is a Japanese Stationmaster!


From Associated Press:
TOKYO (AP) — A money-losing Japanese train company has found the purr-fect pet mascot to draw crowds and bring back business — tabby Tama.

All the 9-year-old female cat does is sit by the entrance of Kishi Station in western Japan, wearing a black uniform cap and posing for photos for the tourists who are now flocking in droves from across the nation.

Tama has been doing such a good job of raising revenue for the troubled Kishikawa train line that she was recently promoted to "super-station-master."

"She never complains, even though passengers touch her all over the place. She is an amazing cat. She has patience and charisma," Wakayama Electric Railway Co. spokeswoman Yoshiko Yamaki told The Associated Press Monday. "She is the perfect station master."

Appointing a cat to turn around fortunes makes cultural sense in Japan, where cats are considered good luck and are believed to bring in business.

Tama even has a Wikipedia article on herself!

Related article: Japan Probe - Stationmaster Cat Draws Tourists

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Entrecard Adds New Features and Releases e-Book


If all's silent on the front, then you can bet they're plotting something in the background. This is exceptionally true when it's related to website coders.

So Entrecard has listened to feedback and included some key features in its website overall. Some of them include the ability to add multiple blogs to one account. This eliminates the hassle of signing up for two accounts just because you have two or more blogs. Each blog allows you to drop 300 Entrecards daily so you can imagine how useful it is.

To me personally, some of the most important features they've added this time round is dating the cards dropped on your blog as well as adding an RSS feed for monthly top droppers. Besides that, Entrecard has also released an e-book designed to help newcomers as well as giving advice to seasoned card droppers. It's a good tool if you need some help understanding how the entire system works.

Check out this blog post for more information on ongoing Entrecard contests, whereas the free e-book is available at this link (PDF format, 5.87MB).

Friday, May 23, 2008

ICJ Awards Pedra Branca to Singapore


Okay, let's summarise the International Court of Justice's ruling:

Pedra Branca (Pulau Batu Puteh) belongs to Singapore.
Middle Rocks belong to Malaysia.
South Ledge is still undetermined and subject to discussions between both countries.

Even before the verdict was handed down, my own thoughts about this issue is: I don't really mind which side wins ownership of the island. If the Malaysians get it then it'll be an abundant fishing site for Johor fishermen. If the Singaporeans get it then it could probably be turned into a valuable eco-tourism site. Besides, having the lack of land in Singapore means that they'll be able to treasure the island more than Malaysia. And if it were up to me to decide, I would've forced both countries to share sovereignity and this essentially turns the territory into a condominium (no, not that kind of condo you're thinking of).

Just take a look at the Diomede Islands in the Bering Straits which is split down the middle between Russia and America. Who says this is a loss for Malaysia? This is not a life-or-death situation and neither is our country in a state of war. Trust me, I agree with Rais Yatim when he says this judgement is a win-win situation for both sides. If Malaysia is still unsatisfied then they ought to do something like build an installation of their own on Middle Rocks. There are seriously other pressing matters for both Malaysia and Singapore other than the islands' ownership. Right after they solve the South Ledge dillemma, let's just close the books and move on.

Related news articles:
• Reuters - Maritime disputes in Asia
• The Malaysian Insider - Johor letter 'gave island to Singapore'

Switching from Advertlets to Nuffnang



No offence to Advertlets but after two months of (almost) daily blogging and seeing such a low income through its ads, I decided to drop them in favour of Nuffnang. Seriously, even Project Wonderful's ads that cost 1 or 2 cents per day works much better than Advertlets.

I'm quite thankful that bloggers here at least have the option to switch between either one. Let's just see if Nuffnang's prospects are brighter than Advertlets. I'm certainly hoping so.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Strange Earthquake Lights Over China

It's a long while since I delved into paranormal, anomalous or just plain weird stuff but this one looks interesting. Strange clouds with rainbow-like formations have appeared over China an hour before the magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck in Sichuan on May 12.

This video was taken in Tianshui, Gansu province (3 mins 23 seconds):


This one was recorded in Meixian, Shanxi province (47 seconds):


Before you brush this off this phenomenon, the USGS has this to say earthquake lights in general:

Q: What are earthquake lights? Are they real?

A:
Observations of earthquake lights (EQL), mostly white to bluish flashes or glows lasting several seconds associated with moderate to large earthquakes, have been reported infrequently by observers since ancient times. It wasn't until the phenomenon was captured in photographs, taken during the Matsushiro earthquake swarm in Japan between 1965 and 1967, that the seismological community acknowledged their occurrence. A satisfactory theory to explain EQL, however, has been elusive and is still not agreed upon. Proposed mechanisms include piezoelectricity, frictional heating, exoelectron emissions, sonoluminescence, phosphine gas emissions, and fluid injection (electrokinetics), but the most recent theory suggests that EQL are caused by separation of positive hole charge carriers that turn rocks momentarily into p-type semiconductors.


The Weather Guys from USA Today thinks it was a coincidence though:
I'm a meteorologist and not a geologist or seismologist, but it appears to me to be a circumhorizon arc that was captured in the video. This is an atmospheric phenomenon that occurs around midday, when the sun is high in the sky, as sunlight is refracted by ice crystals in cirrus clouds close to the horizon.

Is there any relationship between the arc and the earthquake? I think not. While meteorology and seismology fall under the same umbrella of earth sciences, rarely does one impact the other. Circumhorizontal arcs are strictly an optical phenomenon in the atmosphere. The fact that they preceded the earthquake was simply coincidence. They are a relatively common occurrence and, I'm sure, precede all kinds of events, both good and bad.

Singaporean Blogger Arrested for Racist Comments

From TODAYonline:
POLICE have arrested a 24-year-old man for posting contents in his blog that could "wound the racial feelings of another", according to their statement.

The man was picked up at about 9.45 pm at his home in Paya Lebar Way. A computer was seized for investigations.

Police had received two reports on Monday complaining of the alleged posts.

Under the amendments made last September to the Penal Code, whoever, with intent to wound the religious or racial feelings of any person, causes any matter to be seen or heard by that person, shall be punished with a jail term of up to three years, or with a fine, or with both.

The Deputy Commander of Central Police Division HQ, Superintendent Lee Ping Yue, said the police "take a serious view of such irresponsible blog postings" and will expend all efforts to track down the offenders.

In 2005, three youths were convicted under the Sedition Act for making inflammatory racist remarks on their blogs.

Two were jailed; the third was put on two years' probation and ordered to do 180 hours of community work.

Related article: Tomorrow.sg - Racist Crap (update: Blogger got arrested)

It's a little too late for any apologies now isn't it?

Anyways, I'm torn apart between opposing any prosecution of bloggers and supporting any legal action against idiots with keyboards. What do you think?

Suffered an Entrecard Burnout


The graph above is the amount of Entrecards that I've been dropping daily for the past month. As you can see after consistantly dropping 150+ cards daily for two weeks, once I hit the magical 300 cards a day limit I had pretty much crashed and burned.

The lesson from all of this? Find your own card-dropping pace and never force yourself to the limit every day.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Magnitude 5.9 Earthquake in Sumatra (Updated)



Just to clarify: There has been two earthquakes in the same area in the past hour.

2008 May 19 14:26:45 UTC (10:26 p.m. Malaysian time) - Magnitude 5.9 (USGS)
2008 May 19 14:49:24 UTC (10:49 p.m. Malaysian time) - Magnitude 5.1 (USGS)


Updates:
• Initially 6.2, the USGS has now revised the magnitude of the earthquake to 5.9 on the richter scale (Source).
Malaysian Meteorological Department says the first earthquake's scale was 5.8 and the second was 5.0 (Source).
• Quake heavily noticed in Kuala Lumpur and Klang Valley, but Penangites are less affected.

Internet reactions to the quake:
• 5xmom - 10:29 pm - Tremor felt in Penang
• Anak Merdeka - The ground just shook in Seremban
• Lowyat.NET - EARTHQUAKE!
• Vivid - tremors in the night
• Alvin Lim - Earthquake again…this time in Indonesia

How To Get The Most From Your PPS Pings


Here are some tips to pull in the Project Petaling Street crowds whenever you ping to it:

1. Ping once in the day (for the evening readers) and once after 12 a.m. (for the next day morning readers). First thing some people do at 7 a.m. is to check PPS for updates, so be sure that your ping catches their attention.

2. Although PPS has an anti-spamming feature to block out repeated pings, you can easily get around the block by adding/removing the "www" part of your URL ping.

3. Come up with an interesting and eye-catching (but not overused) blog post title and an equally attractive extract. Never ever mislead readers with a different title or a non-existant extract or else you'll lose their readership.

4. If you noticed that a ping leads to a broken webpage, it is common courtesy to inform the person that they've pinged a bad URL. I do this whenever I notice it, and you'll leave a good impression on others if you're helpful.

Hope these tips manage to improve your traffic as well as readership. Do share if you know other useful tips. :)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dr. Mahathir, You Took The Wrong Pills Is It?

Dr. Siti Hasmah, can you please check on your husband's medications? He's been saying some rather embarrasing things in public recently.

First he challenges the government to charge him over the V.K. Lingam scandal. Your husband said he forgot the details already lah!

Secondly he says that Malays' political power are getting weaker now. Eh hello, actually there's one more Malay MP compared to the previous parliament. It's UMNO's rugi (loss), not the Malays.

Lastly he says the Iskandar development project in Johor Bahru was intended for Singaporeans. This kind of talk lubricates the minds of fellow conspiracy theorists. Whatever he sees in that crystal ball of his, I want to see it as well!

Start an Online Store with PayPal Storefront Widgets

From TechCrunch:
Paypal has launched the Paypal Storefront Widget, a web based widget that allows anyone to embed a store widget on a web site.

The Storefront widget offers a seamless e-commerce platform for those wishing to sell anything on their site, such as t-shirts, CD’s or other items

The widget (see pic) includes:

• An index page that shows thumbnail images of all the items for sale through the widget
• A product page that shows a larger view of the items/ products for sale
• A shopping cart directly within the widget
• About and policy pages mean that any conditions are also contained with the widget


Launched around half a year ago, PayPal's Storefront Widget is relatively new compared to Amazon and eBay's own stores. Apart from me and a few local bloggers who use it to peddle our Entrecard credits, Lynne from The Sewing Mom uses the widget to sell her blankets and baskets. So it's quite a stroke of genius from PayPal to have come up with such an idea.

As for me, the widget is just another avenue for me to sell some Entrecard credits aside from eBay's auctions. Currently I'm making my icons available to anyone who wants to create a store. My only request is that you use any of these 188x168px icons, please provide me a proper credit (DeltaPanthera) and link back to this blog or blog post.

500 Entrecard credits icon
1,000 Entrecard credits icon
2,000 Entrecard credits icon
5,000 Entrecard credits icon
10,000 Entrecard credits icon (pic on right)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Anime Watchlist - May 2008

Originally a monthly affair, but I guessed I skipped April's anime watchlist due to some overzealous blogging on other topics. This watchlist is probably going to be useful for anyone involved in our little own ATR (Anime Trading Route), a small clique designed for anime fans. If you watch animes, you'll go insane if you don't keep some kind of record of what you own/watch.

Finished watching...
Ah! My Goddess (only missing one OVA)
DearS *
Death Note *
Hayate the Combat Butler #
Loveless
Shuffle!
Trinity Blood
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Unfinished...
Basilisk
Green Green *
Ichigo 100% (until episode 12 and some OVAs)
Kannaduki No Miko (until episide 2)
Mai-Hime
Nightwalker
Nanoha Strikers (until episode 1)
Rozen Maiden (until episode 1)
Soul Link * (until episode 1)

Currently watching...
Bleach (until episode 169)
Chi's Sweet Home (until episode 27)
Jigoku Shoujou * (no idea which episode, watching this on the telly)
Kekkaishi (no idea as well)
Pumpkin Scissors (until episode 11)
Shounen Onmyouji (until episode 24)

* New animes included in this list recently.
# Recently updated status for old animes.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Penang Bridge Marathon Cancellation - Satu Lagi Projek BN?


Related post: 2008 Penang Bridge Marathon Cancelled

Is the cancellation of the 2008 Penang Bridge Marathon part of the federal government's plan to punish Penangites? Is this a crazy idea? If you think so, then let's lay out the info that we know so far.

Firstly, one of Azalina Othman's first acts as tourism minister is to cancel MoUs with Pakatan Rakyat states, threatening to throw state tourism plans off balance. State tourism agencies weren't even informed of upcoming events and faced difficulties in securing funds from the federal government.

Secondly, the administration and maintenance of the Penang Bridge comes under the provision of the Malaysian Highway Authority (Lembaga Lebuhraya Malaysia), an agency under the Ministry of Works (Kementerian Kerja Raya). Unfortunately, the federal government which has the final say makes them guilty of being puppetmasters.

Lastly, the rationale and timing of the cancellation raises some eyebrows. For god's sakes, sponsors are supposed to do what sponsors do - fund events in exchange for advertising and the chance to do some good public relations. At last year's event some 30-40 different logos were easily seen on participants' T-shirts. Now, why would the MHA now decide to be considerate and "not tax their sponsors"? Take a look at their pathetic news statement on their website. Do they think that Penangites are a clueless bunch?

If there's anything that the government can't provide, the private sector can fill in the gaps. If there's no private company willing, then it boils down to public interest to keep it going. It shouldn't be hard to recruit and train volunteers to be security personnel, just like the process of selecting election observers from the public.

This begs the question: Would the federal government pump funds into the event if a Gerakan man was holding the Chief Minister post? It's a sure yes.