Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Malaysian Maladies - Part 1

For some reasons, I tend to think that the enforcement of the social order in Malaysia has been deteriorating resulting in us seeing so many unacceptable practices becoming a norm in our everyday lives.

In this series, I'm posting some of the example of what I'm referring to. So rampant, Malaysians have slowly becoming immune and starting to accept these practices as part of the Malaysian way of doing things.

This "Malaysian Maladies" is of course might not be exclusive to the land known as Malaysia, as I'm pretty sure it is also rampant at other backward third world countries. For sure, you will not find these in our nearest and first world neighbour, Singapore.

The first malady is the hoisting of an extremely damaged national flag even though it is during the so-called Merdeka Month.

Believe it or not, this despicable view was taken at a Kindergarten, a fully operational kindergarten where its students are seeing the "flag" on a daily basis.

Respect for the flag is utterly zero with the management and teachers of this kindergarten, and the neighbours, well nobody seems to be bothered to tick off the the kindergarten or better still the local authority.

While some might be indifferent on the flag that they fly at their premises, there are also those who doesn't seem to be thinking straight when picking a pole to hoist the flag.

This pole for instance was picked to hoist the Jalur Gemilang during the Merdeka month and what do you see? It's a flag being hoisted at half-mast! So instead of celebrating the nation's 51st Anniversary of Independence, the nation is as if in mourning!

Maybe, we do have a reason to mourn, with all the arrest of prominent figures like RPK and Teresa Kok, for reasons beyond the comprehension of any normal apolitical Malaysians like me.
Next is the selfish attitude of Malaysian drivers. Like the one in this picture, there is absolutely no respect to the yellow line which means "No Parking" along the lane, but as you can see everyone parks the car along this yellow line, not on one side of the road but on both sides!

Further up is a taxi stop, guess who stops there? None other than more cars leaving taxi commuters having to waive for the taxis in the middle of the road. And the taxis have no choice but to drop and pick their passengers from the middle of the road!

Very frustrating right? But this is what we at Leboh Ampang, Kuala Lumpur have to endure almost every day and at every hour of the day (especially during office hours). Where are Bandaraya and PDRM? Don't know!
And lastly (for this series) is the nuisance motorcyclists who just refuse to use the dedicated motorcycle lane provided along certain expressways.

This picture was taken along Kesas Highway, I just can't understand the mind of the motorcyclist pictured here. The motorcycle lane (which is much safer)is just beside the expressway but he chose to ride on the highway, racing with the speeding cars.

I wonder who would be at fault if there is an accident involving a car and a motorcycle on an expressway like this. I won't be surprised if the driver of the motorcar is put at fault since it is an acceptable practice to ISA a journalist while the perpetrator (as reported by the journalist) is scot free (and going to be on a nationwide road show soon).

Uniquely Singapore, I don't think so, I think "Uniquely Malaysia" is more appropriate.

Jasni AJ

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Farewell Maal, Welcome Back Nabira!

The Final Farewell
On 1st Muharram in Year 2006, on a day known as Maal Hijrah, JF2 found 2 little kittens, not more than five days old, crawling at the pavement in front of the house. "Ma, Pa, look I found two little kittens, can we keep them?", asked JF2. Looking at the helpless kittens with the mother nowhere to be found, we decided to provide a shelter for the two kittens.

They were named Maal dan Higgy, taking the occasion of the day that we found them, Maal Hijrah. So since then, they have been part of the "household", fed and taken care of by the best of our ability.

Though they are not "bred pets" but rather of "stray cats", the attention and care (which include medical care) given to them was at par to those accorded to Persians or other exotic breeds.

Higgy however left us during last year's Raya holidays while in a boarding facility, leaving Maal alone. But Maal was never really alone as he regularly received visitors from other stray cats in their attempts to share Maal's food.

There is one particular orange cat that Maal would always avoid contact. Perhaps the orange cat was rather aggressive. But he got along well with the others, he will let the "gang" consume his food without ever exerting any territorial dominion over his supposedly home.

However, suddenly, out of the blue, he started to loose appetite and within a day got dehydrated and just lying helplessly last Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Mrs. J brought him over to the neighbourhood's veterinary clinic for medical attention and he was subsequently warded for observation.

Come Thursday, he actually showed a remarkable improvement. He looked healthier but he doesn't seem to be able to move anything other than his head.

And come Friday, the veterinarian confirmed that Maal's brain was infected causing him unable to control his body movements other than the head.

Due to this, he is no longer able to eat or drink on his own. In short, Maal is now paralysed. Maal is now a vegetable!

On the veterinarian's recommendation, it was then decided that the most humane act is to end his suffering by putting him to a permanent sleep.

Maal's Final Resting Place
So today, after all the family members (except for JF1 who is spending the weekend at his hostel)bid farewell, Maal was put to sleep at exactly 11.00 a.m.

He was then laid to rest under a shady tree opposite the house.

At long last, she's back!
Such a sad day indeed, losing a pet, though came by uninvited but had surely brought colour to the house.

The low spirit of the day got uplifted when Nabira, who was "hospitalised" for more than 2 months was brought back home. The car now look brand new and I would say that the workshop had indeed done a splendid job in repairing the damages "she" incurred from the traffic accident that occurred on 4th July.

I have three months to check and see of anything not right with the car and hopefully, there would not be any. The rear sensor was conspicuously missing and the workshop has asked me to send the car back anytime for them to reinstall the rear sensor device which they had accidentally "forgotten" to install.

So we now look forward for happier times ahead, starting with the fast approaching Hari Raya holidays as we will be on our "balik kampung" journey to the northern states of Penang and Kedah.

Till then "Selamat Berpuasa" and if this is not too early, "Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri".

Jasni AJ

Saturday, September 6, 2008

4 Hours to reach home!

Up till last week, my exposure to the Klang Valley's public transportation has been exclusive to the Kelana Jaya LRT line and occasionally the KTM Komuter service. I'm a regular LRT commuter, using the service from Kelana Jaya Station to Masjid Jamek Station almost every working day.

Occasionally, I would also be taking the KTM Komuter service from its Batu Tiga station to KL Sentral, where I would switch back to using the Kelana Jaya LRT line to disembark at Masjid Jamek.

And this has been my routine for the last three years since taking up a position at my current office which lie smack in front of the Masjid Jamek Station.

And from the three years experience I have with the public transporation that I'm used to, I have considered that our Public Transportation was really not bad (despite the occasional hiccups from time to time).

But this assesment of public transportaion is perhaps due to the fact that I do not rely on public transportation wholely as as we use our own car to travel to the stations from home (and vice versa).

This arrangement changed earlier this week when Mrs. J's office implemented a new woking hours in conjunction with the Ramadan month.

Instead of finishing work at 5.30 pm, the office now closes an hour earlier at 4.30 pm but starts at 8.00 am (instead of 8.30 am) and a reduced lunch break from 1 hour to just half an hour.

It's great to have the working hours adjusted as this would enabled its employees to reach home earlier to prepare for breaking of fast with the family members.

Unfortunately, not all offices observe adjusted office hours. Mine, for instance is business as usual, making Mrs. J's adjusted working hours meaningless if she had to wait for me to arrive at Kelana Jaya LRT Station only about 6.00 pm.

So we decided that Mrs. J should just go straight home after office and let me find my own way home using KL's Public Transfortation system all the way. And that's where my nightmare began!

It was on the third day of Ramadan that I experienced the real pain of using public transportation. I started the journey home from office comfortably using the much familiar Kelana Jaya line, but instead of disembarking at Kelana Jaya station, I got out at KL Sentral Sentral instead. And I got there in less than 5 minutes.

Once at KL Sentral, I had two choices, one, switch to KTM Komuter to Shah Alam station or two, take the RapidKL bus from KL Sentral all the way to the Sri Muda Bus Hub.

I opted for choice No. 2 and proceeded to wait at the bus station besides KL Sentral. But I noticed something, there don't seem to be any bus servicing Sri Muda passing through KL Sentral Station. I remember taking the bus from that station once (when they first introduced the service), but where is the bus now?

After going through all the embarkation bays and couldn't find one that could let me board a bus to Sri Muda, I went to check with a RapidKL bus personnel based at the station.

I was then told to walk further to the "other" KL Sentral Station, the one belonging to Monorail as the bus now passes that station instead. (It's funny though that here are two KL Sentral Stations, one the real KL Sentral Station, and the other, the smaller station located about a kilometer away but still bearing the same name!).

So off I went to the other KL Sentral Station and joined to crowd all waiting for their respective buses.

But all other buses passes by but not the one heading to Sri Muda! So after waiting for about half an hour, I headed back to the "real" KL Sentral Station to take the KTM Komuter service instead.

Within minutes (which was already about 6.15 pm), the KTM Komuter to Port Klang arrived and just like the earlier LRT ride it was also a smooth journey of about half an hour to my destination, the Shah Alam station.

By 6.45 pm, I was already at Shah Alam KTM Station. Again I joined the crowd waiting for the feeder bus that would take me to the Sri Muda Bus Hub. But there I was, waiting in vain, 3 other Komuter passed but not a single bus arrived. At last there was this bus that finally arrived but its destination was to the other part of Shah Alam and not the one heading to the Sri Muda Bus Hub.

So at 7.15pm, I decided to walk towards the main road which was about 2 to 3 kilomoters away. And along the way, I could hear the sounds of the azan signalling the time to break fast. But unlucky me, I was all alone walking by myself with nothing to break fast with.

At the bus stop along the main road, came a bus that took me to the Sri Muda Bus Hub. But the bus came only at about 7.45 pm and I reached Sri Muda Bus Hub half an hour later.

At Sri Muda Bus Hub, the waiting game repeated. There were no buses, both the RapidKL Feeder Bus nor the Mini Bus until at around 8.45 pm, and it was the Mini Bus that arrived.

The Mini Bus, which was very much a run-downed bus ( I wonder how Puspakom approed this bus for service with automatic door not working, air-cond kaput, and squeky sounds everywhere) finally brought me home at exactly 9.15 pm. A journey of 4 hours to reach home from office. Wow! What a shame! (I could have reached Penang I were to drive from KL!)

I hope someone responsible for public transporation would re-look our public transportation service again and improve on the connectivity of the various modes of public transportation. It is a shame that while we do have a quite a decent public transporation modes like the LRT, Komuter, RapidKL buses and (eeee) the Mini Bus , the connectivity and synchronosation of the various services is still very much in disrepute.

I have to keep on using the public transportation thoughout the month. For the next trip, I want to change the route. I would take the RapidKL Bus from Pasar Seni
all the way to Sri Muda. Let's see how long will it take. I'll keep you posted, just in case if you have any need to use public transportaton as well sometime.

Jasni AJ

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Conman cum Thief Lurking

The Crime Scene
If my last post was about the streaker who disturbed my maid, this time around I'm going to tell you about a fully clothed conman cum thief.

The story goes like this :-

It was last Tuesday, the second day of Ramadan. I was at Kuala Lumpur's The Mall having a business meeting with a client going through some documentations to be executed accordingly.

Half way through, our meeting was disrupted when my client got a call from his daughter who happens to do some shopping at the very same mall.

She told her father that she had been "caught" for being suspected of shop-lifting. "What, Shoplifting! Is there a mistake or something?" asked the father.

"It's definitely a mistake. I did not shop lift anything. I just bought something from Guardian and got into Parkson when this House Detective stopped me." explained the daughter. "Papa, please come here to help me out. I'm here at the Security's Office on the Third Floor." asked the daughter.

"Okay, I'll be there in a jiffy."said the father.

And so, he excused himself to attend to the more important matter in hand, leaving me alone at the meeting place.

About ten minutes later, he came back along with the daughter. I asked, "So, what's the story?" "I think they're trying to be funny disturbing young girls. The House Detective who stop my daughter for suspicion of shop-lifting was no where to be found. And we were waiting at the Security Office like fools", said the father.

"Emmm, something sounds not right. Why would a House Detective go missing after asking his "catch" to go to the Security's Office", I said.

"Yeah, I think I'll go back there later to lodge a complaint against their House Detective, such a nuisance!", said the father, totally convinced that it was the Shopping Complex House Detective playing the fool.

When we were just about to resume our discussion, the daughter, who was sitting on the next table besides us, suddenly cried "Papa, I've lost my purse!". Yes, she lost her purse, and how did she loose it?

Well, apparently when she was stopped by the "House Detective", she was asked to follow him to the Security's Office. Along the way, at the escalator, the House Detective asked for the handbag to do a search. It was during this time that the "House Detective" skillfully took the purse away.

After successfully and unsuspectingly stealing the purse, he then asked the girl to proceed to the Security's Office while he will follow suit later after getting some documents. And of course, it was just a trick so that he can escape without attracting any attention.

So that's how my client's daughter got tricked. Tricked by an imposter impersonating as a House Detective targeting young and naive girls.

A police report was later lodged and apparently, this method of stealing is a new modus operandi and quite rampant at The Mall.

So for those frequenting The Mall, or any other shopping complexes for that matter, just be careful. Don't surrender your handbag to strangers, even though they might appear to be a person of some authority.

What's interesting is that the image of the imposter was not captured by any CCTV installed at the Shopping Complex. He did his work all at "blind-spots", meaning to say that he has adequate knowledge on the various "blind-spots" in the complex. Who could he be? A former security personnel? I tend to believe that as otherwise, how would he know where to strike undetected!

Jasni AJ