Wednesday, August 30, 2006

About LRTs and Malaysia turning 49

When Malaysia's Light Rail Transit (LRT) first came into being around the mid-90s, I genuinely believed it was a great step forward for the country. For those familiar with KL's notorious traffic jams, also known as potential-breeding-grounds-for-road-bullies, the birth of the LRT gave PJ-ites and KL-ers new-found mobility to get from Point A in PJ to Point B in KL in less time than it takes for you to finish one episode of anime, minus the commercials too.

However, since an official announcement was made in early May 2006 that the LRT was losing train-loads of money, besides receiving a RM10 billion bail-out by the Federal Government, management decided there was no better time to turn LRT's white spaces, both inside and out, into (lucrative?) advertising canvasses.

In the eyes of a media-obsessed student, like me, it did seem like a pretty smart move.

That is, until the moment I got very, very, very tired staring at fake-smiling grandmas piling on fat and cholesterol by munching on finger-licking battered chicken, clueless teens who think they are cool so long as they keep holding up the latest, most innovative, most colourful blah blah blah mobilephone against your face, and (no offence to WWF and all save-the-animals-related organisations) brooding orang utans who look exactly like my fellow passenger, proving that Darwin did get something right after all.

For the record, I did believe that things couldn't get much worse than they already are, but now I know better than to underestimate the greedy lengths multinational companies go to influence the hearts and minds of consumers.

Trust me, things are going downhill now that Ronald McDonald has taken over the trains.

Besides having to stare at super-sized images of "fresh lettuces", "juicy tomatoes" and "tangy onions", all of which are at least twice or perhaps triple the size of your head, you now have to learn to be very patient while listening to the very loud infomercial on where to locate McD's latest gimmick - the chicken and beef foldover - that follows every "next station announcement".

The ad go more or less like this, "... next station: Asia Jaya. Step off at this station to get your hands on the yummy delicious chicken/beef foldover as the nearest McDs is just a 10-15mins walk away."

Makes no difference if you choose to ignore the suggestive request, because come next station, you are reminded of what you've (sorely) missed.

"... next station: Taman Jaya. Oh no, you missed it! But there's no need for panic as the next McD is only three stops away!"

Such (overly abused) enthusiasm from a voice-over screaming about chicken/beef foldovers is torture enough, but at 7 in the morning, it's enough to make you want to step off the train, while it's still moving at 70 km/h.

No wonder we no longer see the 'no music' and 'no eating' signs that once decorated the trains' interior when they first started.

So what are the available options to bring back peace and tranquility?

Stopping short of driving to work (KL's a landmind during morning and evening rush hour), you can of course, try to catch the train that has yet to be infested by Ronald's germs. Although, I must warn you that because the clowns have been sent in, and they're making a mess as usual, it won't be long before darling grandma goes ga-ga over the sound system.


Onto a more patriotic rant, since Malaysia is turning 49 in less than 24hrs, there has been a lot of fuss made and even more fluff said about how Malaysian or Un-Malaysian (ala Kenny Sia) you are.

Now here's my question: Is it really that important whether you are 55% Malaysian and 45% Un-Malaysian or even 23% Malaysian and 77% none? Just like it's impossible to measure how much you love a person, it's equally silly to put a number on how much you love your country.

If your loyathy lies outside Malaysia's borders, then covering your house, car, husband, wife and kids with tens-of-thousands of Jalur Gemilang means absolute nothing, except the fact that you may be suffering from compulsive-buying behaviour.

But never mind the obvious, we Malaysians like putting aside the issues that really matter, in order to flood the media with things that don't. So while the jury is still out there trying to decide how to best calculate your Malaysian-ness, or the lack of, I think we should just go out and celebrate the fact that tomorrow's a holiday.

Really. =)

Finally, to wrap up, here's a random "how much do you really know what happened on 31 August 1957" question:

When the British flag was lowered and the Jalur Gemilang (I'm pretty sure it was called the Malaysian flag back then... but I digress) went up, how many times did Tunku Abdul Rahman shouted "MERDEKA" (independence)?

Television fooled us into believing it was 3 times, but fact of the matter is, Tunku cried out "MERDEKA" 7 times.

So much for putting your trust in public broadcasting stations...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The March of the Penguins

Have you noticed how mooncakes creators/bakers are becoming more creative (see Exhibit A), but at the same time heartless and argubly NOT much of an animal lover (see Exhibit B)?

Don't believe me? Then allow me to illustrate:

Exhibit B1: Now you see it...


Exhibit B2: Now you see less...


Exhibit B3: And now you've seen too much!

Somebody get me a mop!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Blessed Be

Do you count the blessings that you hold
in your hands, in your heart
Do you wake up every morning
feeling thankful that you're alive
for yet another day?

Two sides to every coin

Count your blessings
Remember your sins

What's the use of repenting
when you can't undo
the void that has lodged itself
firmly in your heart?