Monday, January 31, 2005

Noritta Samsudin: Case closed? WTF?

I was amazed to read that Datuk Mustapha Abdullah, the city police chief considers the Noritta Samsudin murder case closed. (Click here and here for some articles)

In July 2004, one En Hanif Basree Abd Rahman was acquitted and discharged by the court on the murder of Noritta. Of course, the months leading up to that ruling made for gross reading in the local newspapers… Early on I decided to just not read the papers, as it was obvious that the murder victim, who seems to have been a high-class callgirl, was the one being judged. I’m certain I did the right thing, for as time went by, more and more people started complaining about the level of detail being reported by the papers. Details about tears in the vagina, and age thereof seemed to be the focus of the court, rather than on the clients. Then again, from early on it was rumoured that many VIPs were among the victim’s “customers”, hence the blinkered focus on the victim rather than her clients. And the clients who were brought to light were just small fry in the mudpool of life.

Anyways: after a lot of mud dredged up and about, the accused was discharged, as the prosecution could only prove that a murder had taken place (well duh, there’s a body!), but they did not have evidence to show that
1. the death of Noritta was caused by the act of the accused (there was the presence of a mysterious “other person”, who smelled bad, if I remember correctly)
2. nor could they show that the death was done by intention (ugh!! Legal jargon alert!!! I wonder how to translate this one: does it mean they could not prove it was something like involuntary manslaughter? Or that they could not establish motive?)

Whatever. So the prosecution proceeded with the next step: appeal.

Six months later, on 30th Jan 2005, the Appeals Court upheld the previous ruling, again citing the above factors.

My concerns:
So… technically, the killer is still out there. But as far as the police are concerned, their man is Hanif, and the case is closed. They blame the defence for raising doubts. They blame technicalities. They seem to accept that they carried out a shoddy investigation. They may open the case if they get new leads.

Hang on: If they acknowledge that they were shoddy: do they REALLY still believe that Hanif is their man? What with all the doubts cast during the trial, and the presence of this mysterious “other person”… can they still sit there and confidently say that Hanif is their man?

I’m no lawyer, so I am probably barking up a wrong tree here,,, but I wonder if “double jeopardy” come into play? Is that why the prosecution is not going to continue investigations on Hanif, even though they say he’s their man? After all, they’ve got a good place to start: first, just work on dispelling all the doubts raised by the defense during the trial! Maybe hunt down that ‘other person” to get a better picture of what actually happened the night the victim was killed? What sort of “new leads” do they want? The longer you wait, the colder the trail!

The crux of my concern:

How can a case be considered closed if the suspect/accused is essentially found not guilty by the court?

Somewhere somewhen, I remember reading that Malaysia boasts a high rate of solved/closed cases. (If anyone can point me to official statement, and the statistics to prove it, I’d be grateful!!). I remember this precisely because I wondered about the validity of the statement… and when you consider the Noritta case,,, I start to wonder… how many of them were “closed” the way this case was closed? How many of the cases actually had a suspect prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and found guilty? How many are in reality “unsolved” cases?

Measuring effectiveness

To me, the Key Success Factor for such a case would be getting the accused to be found guilty. This would be a culmination of different departments working together: the police in getting the evidence and finding the suspect, and the Public Prosecutor in proving guilt in a court of law. (I’m assuming that they find the “correct” accused lah… being wrongfully sentenced is a whole other ballgame!!)

As far as the police are concerned, they did their part: conducting a thorough investigation and coming up with a suspect.

“Thorough”? Then why was the case essentially thrown out? Why would the judge say that shoddy investigation led to the discharge?

“Suspect”? Just coming up with a suspect, is that it? Then just pass it on and brush your hands off?

I do wonder what the Public Prosecutor has to say about this whole thing. Mustapha is quoted as saying “… the Deputy Public Prosecutor would not risk bringing a case to court if they do not have enough evidence,” yet the case was essentially thrown out due to lack of evidence.

What on earth is going on here? Surely the prosecutor should know what is needed to build a strong case against their suspect? I wonder what their conviction rate is… nowhere close to the statistic of closed/solved cases, I bet! I also think Mustapha provides some conflicting statements when he says the case is closed, yet “investigations into cases like this will never end.”

So: after 2 pages of trying to get my thoughts in place… I wonder… what is the basis for the police chief’s statement: Arrogance? Sloppiness? Or just plain laziness?

Friday, January 28, 2005

tests and tribulations - part deux ;-)

Rather than update and repost an older entry, here are some quizzes (and results) to share with you. This site seems to have *lots* of pseudo-quizzes - check them out!

Key word = pseudo. That means most of the quiz creators are just talking out their a##es. Take them in your stride, as good fun & not to be taken seriously lah!

Take the quiz: "Your Psych-Ward diagnosis"

Social Anxiety Disorder
Diagnosis: Social Phobia / Social Anxiety.The fear of social situations and the interaction with other people that can automatically bring on feelings of self-consciousness, judgment, evaluation, and inferiority.

Take the quiz: "Which Tarot Arcana are You? (women)"

High Priestess
Hidden influences at work, unrevealed future. Creative forces of the subconscious, the female side of the brain at work for the artist, poet and mystic. A woman of great intuition, inner illumination.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Here's to blogs, bloggers, and blogging!

Have any of you sat back and wondered about blogs, and how their use seems to have exploded within the past year or so? Wait - even before that: how many of you even know what "blog" stands for?

Blog is short for a "weB LOG", and can be defined as an online public personal journal or diary. The activity of updating a blog is "blogging" and someone who keeps a blog is a "blogger". From a few dozen blogs in existence in 1999, there are now millions. Click here for a brief history/commentary on blogs.
What on earth would move so many people to share their personal thoughts with total strangers on the 'net, though?

For me, there are many reasons.

1. Channel & update
My first blog was set up in mid-June 2004: the first entry was an outpouring of disappointment and frustration at not having been able to submit a 3-month notice of resignation on my target date of 15th June 2004 (in the end I submitted a 1-month notice at the end of August). The blog quickly became a place for me to channel the frustration of those three months. It also didn't take me long to realise that by posting updates of sorts on in the blog, I was spared typing the same news three or four times for three or four different people! Yes, I prefer making a generic blog posting because I'm the type of person who feels like I'm "cheating" people if I send them all the identical letter! If I have to do that, I still make sure I customise it so that the recipient doesn't feel gypped.

2. Re-establishment of an old habit
I used to keep a diary: I think mom introduced me to the idea of keeping a diary when I was, hmmm, in Form 2. And I think I pretty much kept writing until my first year in the U.S. (so that's what... 5 years straight?). I fell out of the habit in the U.S. maybe because I didn't have much "anguish" to pour out... after all, I really came into my own when I was alone & independent. I didn't miss diary-keeping at all,,, until I had some turmoils in my life in late 2000. I started to write again, but somehow I just could not get going. Over the following 4 years, I had a few start-n-stops, the most consistent/concentrated effort taking place in Aug-Oct 2003. It was difficult for me to actually physically write. I'm not just talking about holding a pen to paper, though I must say that my handwriting has degenerated since starting work :p I think the method of TYPING as opposed to WRITING was more in tune with the current Lynne. I also realised that a lot of what I would previously had poured out into the diary was now the content of e-mails to a few select friends. So perhaps blogging is not so much a re-establishment of an old habit as perhaps a shift/repackaging of the activity. Whatever it is, I do feel much better about capturing my thoughts, however trivial or heavy they may be, into a "modern" diary.

3. Critique & practice
My original blog site (see reason #1 above) had a spin-off, where I made my attempt at doing book reviews. Didn't get very far: just 4 reviews in Aug 2004. Don't think I did a good job at it either :p But "good" wasn't the point: I just wanted to record my thoughts on the series / authors I was reading at that time. I also wanted to practice what I call "critique-al writing": after all, it's one thing to just write about anything - it's another thing to intelligently critique someone else's work! At the same time, among my many duties at the time, work-wise, was that of content provider for an intranet site (I have fond memories of my take on the "Secret Diaries" *grin!*) . With momentum from all that writing, it was not a big leap to have that creativity continue to percolate, and what other place to channel it than thru blogs?

4. Keeping in touch
And as you know, another reason for blogging - and for setting up this particular blog site - is to keep in pseudo-touch with my family, friends and ex-colleagues as I vegetate halfway across the world from my birthplace in Malaysia. You could look at it as part of reason # 1 - not writing identical letters to people. But there's a difference - it's a conscious decision on my part to make this blog site as the main communication device. It's an acknowledgement of everyone being caught up in the rat race, where even catching up on e-mails can sometimes feel like a pipe dream... so those who think of me but are too busy to write, are still able to know some of what goes on in my life (or in my head, at least!). And for those who do e-mail - well, they get a little extra lah :-)

5. Mystique and vanity?
There is this fascination that I have about having total strangers read about my thoughts, my life... In fact, this particular site is quite "constrained" as I do feel the need to "censor" much of what I would like to say to the world. Re-activating my old site, or starting yet another site, seems quite appealing.. tho maintaining so many would be quite the challenge... sigh... we'll see how that goes... but I digress... this "pull" to share my thoughts with net surfers everywhere is compounded with a hankering to know what people think of what I wrote. I look forward to seeing comments posted by friends and strangers, and wonder what topics I can write about that would generate more comments. My mind then wanders, wondering if I'd ever reach audiences beyond those who have some sort of link to me. Imagine having as many readers as Jeff Ooi, maybe... aahhhhh, maybe, one day....

For those who slogged through this entire rambling - congratulations on your endurance! I doubt that the above reasons are MECE (*wink!!* that's Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive - uh-oh.. that's not copyrighted by "Daddy" or McK is it????), but they served to organise my thoughts a little as they poured themselves out for ya.

And with that: did you know that there is an individual who runs the Bloggies, which are awards for blogs, in various categories. The Bloggies have been running since 2001. Check out the "2005" final nominees (for best in 2004) here. If you have the time, do check them out, and vote too!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

SciFi: a handy blog AND the reimagined Battlestar Galactica reviews

... sigh ... having access to (only) 20 channels leaves me unable to actually watch the new, reimagined, Battlestar Galactica series... Yes, my earlier post on that was not very supportive of the show, but a morbid curiosity... and fascination would have had me 'accidentally' flipping to the SciFi channel, if only i could.

So, taking a peek at SciFiDaily, looks like the series is doing pretty well, doing quite a bit of character development, AND is overall dark and gritty (as opposed to the pretty cheesy original). Wish I could get a chance to see these new episodes so I could actually HAVE a real opinion!! :-(

Here are some links to specific reviews/opinions from SciFiDaily, which I enjoyed and would like to highlight to you:
1. Bill's America loves ... (posted Jan 15 2005) (that's Apollo on the left, and "Starbuck" on the right)
2. Greg's Better than Ori (also posted Jan 15 2005) (that's "Adama" on the left and the "President of the Colonies" on the right)
3. Bill's review of first two episodes (18 Jan 2005)

Of course, if you have the time and interest, by all means please go through the other articles in there. I like the authors' styles, you (like me) will probably pick up on not-so-famous-in-Malaysia classic movies and stuff. The only reservation I have with these folks is their love for ol' William Shatner, teehee!!

...ever had a song pop into your head? and never leave?

The song "Kumbayah" popped into my head the other day... and what else did I do but Google it to get more information on this word.

Firstly - you DO know the song, right? sung to the same tune as "Michael rows the boat ashore, hallelujah", this song goes "Kumbayah, my Lord, Kumbayah". I have no idea how i picked up on either song, but hey, i am a hippie at heart, and kumbayah is something i associate with doped up 60's people in flowing white robes ;-)

aaaanyways... it seems that it actually stands for "Come by here". Cool, eh?

The language is "Gullah", which is a creole consisting of English plus words and constructions from the languages of west Africa, the Gullahs' homeland.

"Creole", among other things, means "a language that has evolved from a pidgin but serves as the native language of a speech community" (thanx,!)

Read more about Kumbayah itself here, and about the Gullahs here.

Have an educational day!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

tests and tribulations ;-)

Greetings, earthlings! Have you stumbled across these many different sites with these fun personality tests and the like? For more "serious" tests, I highly recommend tickle: here are results from some "other" tests ;-)

I am nerdier than 49% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

What is your weird quotient? Click to find out!

You Are 23 Years Old


Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Battlestar Galactica : a "re-imagining"?

Sci-fi RULES!!

"Wait a minute," I hear some of you say. "I thought she stays away from Sci-Fi, and reads mostly fantasy books?" Well, you are kinda right. I can't quite explain why I'm so NOT a fan of sci-fi books when they are "fantasy" in a way... but that is a digression... this blog is about Sci-Fi tv series. I'm going to highlight two specific shows, tho there are plenty more to say about many others...

1. Battlestar Galactica (BSG):

How many of you, like me, had this HUGE crush on Starbuck, played by Dirk Benedict? He and his buddy Apollo would be fighting the Cylons while Commander Adama led the rag-tag fleet to a distant planet known as earth.

How many of you remember "Galactica 80", a very lame continuation of the series, where the Galactica actually does arrive at earth, only to find it technologically inferior, and totally unequipped to deal with the revelation of "brethren" from the stars let alone the existence of Cylons that want to wipe humans off the face of the universe?

How many of you caught the tribute to Dirk Benedict's role in BSG when, in one episode of the A-Team, Dirk Benedict's Faceman is at one of those theme parks, and a Cylon passes by, and we see Faceman doing a double-take, as if the Cylon was familiar to him but he didn't know why? I certainly loved that scene :-)

And a few months ago, I found a VCD on Battlestar Galactica (thanx "Joe") which turned out to be either the 1978 movie, or the pilot episode of the series. Aaaaah, it was so nice to see the actual beginning - how the 12 colonies were attacked by the Cylons, how Baltar was entangled with the Cylons, how Apollo got saddled with thet irritating kid and his pet "dog"...

So.... when I heard recently that the Sci-Fi channel was "re-imagining" the series, I did wonder what it was all about. Caught an interview with the director/producer/whoever who actually said "If you are a fan of the original series, do NOT watch this new series." Hmmmmm, that doesn't sound too good...

Somehow managed to catch what looked like the pilot episode of this re-imagined series ... and O M G it S U C K S!!
Firstly, it seems to take place about 40 years AFTER the original series started, and again takes place at the "12 Colonies of Kobol."
It's essentially the same "pilot episode", except that Starbuck, Apollo, Boomer, etc are "call-signs" for the current pilots?? huh?? and "starbuck" is female??? so is "boomer"???
According to the story, the Cylons had "disappeared" for about 40 years, and suddenly return out of the blue (looking much cooler, i have to admit,,, even their spacecraft have the "roving red line"... but then again they HAVE to add that in since cylons don't look like the cylons we know anymore... they look like regular humans (well, 12 of them do, anyway)), knocking out most of not all of the colonies' defense because the cylons have some sort of virus that, well, knocks em out.
The Battlestar Galactica is practically the only thing that is immune to them, because Commander William Adama (grooooaaaaan... yes, Adama...) didn't trust technology, or has foresight maybe?, and refused to upgrade the network on the ship.
Immune also would be the obsolete Vipers from 40 years ago, that just so happened to be onboard the Galactica during the time of the Cylon attack. If nothing else, are they trying to tell people NOT to upgrade to the newer version of Windows?
Oh, and the theme about "trust no-one, the enemy is among us" (i.e. the American's paranoia about terrorism) is greatly played upon, what with a cylon known to be among the humans on the Galactica...

I sat through that show, cringing at almost every other scene, wondering why people couldn't just leave the show as it was,,, I think I'll just go out and get myself a copy of BSG:TOS (Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series), all 24 episodes, and watch them to wash the bad taste i my mouth left by my exposure to BSG:TNS!

2. Babylon 5 (B5):

I believe this is the best Sci-Fi series ever.. although I have only seen perhaps half of the total series. Didn't help that I only started watching it during my last year in college (Season 2)... and while it was a miracle that B5 actually made it to Malaysian tv (Season 3), it didnt stay on very long (what to do... so few Malaysians actually like sci-fi maaaaah)...

Because this series came out around the same time as ST:Deep Space 9, many people assumed it was essentially the same story told on a different channel acted by diferent actors. WRONG! B5 had a definite start and end, unlike all ST series, that just kept going and going and going until writers ran out of ideas, or ratings dropped too low, or whatever :-)

This is a unique story, designed to be told over the span of 5 years. It mixes in angles on spirituality with classic good vs evil situations plus of course providing a view of earth, politics, and how all things are linked... cross-reincarnation of souls... age-old evil... politics... economics... social order... telepaths... inter-species love & marriage...

In a way, you could look at it as an allegory of what's been happening on earth, where the League of Nations, and later the United Nations were set up to broker peace after major wars. In this case, Babylon 5 is a space station, built by Earth but considered neutral territory. "Its goal: to prevent another war by creating a place where humans and aliens could work out their differences peacefully. It's a port of call, home away from home for diplomats, hustlers, entrepreneurs, and wanderers. Humans and aliens wrapped in two million, five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal, all alone in the night. It can be a dangerous place, but it's our last, best hope for peace."

Part of the beauty of this story is that its arc is over 5 years, not everything gets neatly tied up at the end of each episode. For example, for things that happen in one episode, the implications may only rear its head a season later. For example, i had an epiphany of sorts today watching Ep1.05: it showed the first appearance of the Shadows!! In fact, I am slowly making my way though the entire Season One (thanx again for the gift, Kosh!), and am sure I'll see much of the foundation being laid for the bits of the story that I do know from Seasons 2 & 3.

Can't wait to get my hands on the remaining Seasons 2 - 5!!!

Breaking news: B5: The Memory of Shadows is either a full-blown movie, or tv-movie, that's due to be out in 2006. It seems that Warner Brothers is in the process of getting things together for it... and it seems they are totally re-casting every character, which has the B5 fans up in arms... my concern would be story itself: I do hope they don't go off on a tangent, or create something inconsistent with the main storyline...

Please please please let this NOT go the same way as the "re-imagined" BSG!!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Idiot Box: Part 3

D'oh!! How much of a slave am I to the idiot box?? Not much, i think. I'll let you decide. So, what HAVE i been watching since I got here?

1. The Simpsons: I have a new appreciation for this adult cartoon. Homer's "D'oh!" is firmly part of my vocabulary, as is Nelson the bully's "Ha ha". It's been on the air since 1989 folks! geeez, I sat for my SPM at the end of '89 and that feels like aaaaaaages ago! For a show (ANY show) to last this long, and is still going, speaks foritself, no?

2. House, M.D.: A new series by the Fox network. It's not THAT great of a series, but you know what... with the overabundance of reality tv crap, this provides a welcome breath of fresh air! The main character is a doctor who limps around on a cane, and pops painkillers like candy. He is the most cynical and smartmouthed doctors you'll ever find in tvland. He doesn't treat patients - he treats illnesses, because "Treating illness is why we became doctors. Treating patients is actually what makes most doctors miserable." Each episode pits him and his team of docs against some mysterious illness of sorts - they go through a myriad of diagnoses before finally figuring out what is wrong with the patient, and succeeding in seemingly miraculous cures.
Ep#1: tapeworm in brain
Ep#2: mutated measles virus in brain
Ep#3: colchicine poisoning as a result of having done ecstasy cut with colchicine
Ep#4: maternity ward epidemic - virus spread by gift-delivery volunteer
Ep#5: nun's stigmata is actually allergic rxn to a forgotten copper IUD from her "wild days"
Ep#6: Schizophrenic mom turns out to have Wilson's disease
Ep#7: Successfully treat wife for African Sleeping Sickness but this proves she was unfaithful
New episodes start again next week. For more info visit here. I'll admit, plot-wise it's been kinda lame & far-fetched. But I just love the cynical attitude of Dr House, and that is what keeps me watching....

3. Medium: A brand new show - only 2 episodes have been aired so far. It's based on a true-life character, and right now it's at the early stages where we meet this gal who's always been able to "hear / communicate" with the dead, and she ends up being a special consultant for the District Attorney's office.
Ep#1 covered her semi-successfully proving that her "dreams" are true, but mother nature intervened such that the worst storm of the century resulted in the spot where she "knew" a body was buried was washed away. However, her "gut feel" in filling in the blanks and being able to figure out what happened during a crime, just based ont he photos of the scene, has her hired secretly by the District Attorney.
Ep#2 sees her put to good use to assist in jury selection, for sentencing someone who was already found guilty of necrophilia-related crimes. Coincidentally, she has been having dreams about the perpetrator and is so horrified by what she sees, she really makes sure the jury selected WILL choose to impose the death penalty. She succeeds, but at the end of the day, she actually sees the person being sentenced and has a shock because he is not the person of her dreams. This episode was SO slow-moving... so we dunno if the guy was innocent, or if there is another necrophiliac out there that she will run into in the future, or what...
So far, I'm not too impressed with this show, but I'll give it another episode or two before I decide whether to axe it off my viewing schedule.

4. Enterprise: Ah yes, the newest installment of the Star Trek realm, this actually takes place 100 years BEFORE first contact, 100 years BEFORE Capt Kirk set forth in the adventures covered by the original series. This covers the adventures faced by the FIRST starship Enterprise - manned by NASA-level trained humans accompanied by a Vulcan science officer - sent forth to explore, and thus setting precedent for future captains such as James T. Kirk, Jean-Luc Picard, Kathryn Janeway... I'm not a true Trekkie, but I definitely enjoy most of the Star Trek series that have been churned out through the years, and this is no exception. I think it's partly because even a pseudo-Trekkie like me can appreciate the history that is now being told through this series... a special feature showed how Dr Soong turned from genetic manipulation to building androids hence paving the way for Data, who was one of THE characters in ST:TNG. I guess it helps that Capt Jonathan Archer is played by an actor I'm fond of, from Quantum Leap : Scott Bakula!

5. Angel: A spin-off from the (LAME!) cult hit "Buffy: The Vampire Slayer", the vampire with a soul Angel moves to L.A. and leaves Sunnydale behind. Takes it upon himself to keep L.A. clean of demons and such, and many of the episodes deal with such scum. However, there is an overarching storyline, where he seems slated to play an important role in the upcoming apocalypse. This series has actually ended, i'm getting caught up by watching reruns. I like the entire premise of a coldblooded (pun intended) vampire suddenly acquiring a conscience when he is "cursed" with a soul, and his attempt to make up for his past by ridding earth/u.s./l.a. of demon scum and the like.

And that, dear reader, are my main tv shows that keep me occupied.

In theory, if I watched only the above shows, I only spend 10 hours a week in front of the tv. In reality, I spend LOTS more than that... There are a total of 6 episodes of "Friends" on daily, and I catch them if I can - always looking out for Season 10 as well as refreshing my memory of the other episodes *grin!*

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Idiot box Part2: unreal reality shows :p

Yeah, I seem to be revisiting some of my older topics... bear with me... This entry is a rant against those unreal reality shows on the air...

My first exposure to this so-called "reality tv" was "Survivor"... and even then I really was never bothered with it. Why on earth would I want to see how different people schemed against each other, put themselves thru stupid tests, essentially whore themsleves on tv, all for some money? Granted, the money was substantial, but hey, I didn't relate to it at all... but I know of at least one person in KL who refused to go out on Friday nights because that was when Survivor was shown on Malaysian TV.

Things really took off from there, didnt they? By the time I left Malaysia, Fear Factor and various mutations of American Idol had the nation in their brain-mushifying grip...

Then I get to the u.s. and see even more of this crap on tv! Let me get one thing straight tho: Most of my exposure to these are thru the previews/trailers ... I certainly went out of my way to AVOID catching these shows:

Trading Spouses: moms or dads switch households and are forced to adapt to a new family for a certain amount of time (i'm guessing a week). For example: Some stranger comes in to your home and takes over all mom-related functions. I bet lots of the "entertainment" would come from conflicts between the "new" mom with the kids. Can you imagine: different philosophy in disciplining would already wreak havoc. How about when the affected families are of different religions? Dunno if the exchanged "moms" are expected to function as "wives" too... Somehow i dont think switching dads would be as traumatic... but hey, doesn't matter... who on earth thought of such an idea, and why on earth would people want to do that to themselves and their families? Money, i bet. Never did figure out what the "prize" was, but I imagine it was substantial.

The Apprentice: Ah yes, Donald Trump's search for a new hireling within his massive empire... I did watch a few episodes of this show... and every time I'd wonder if anyone in large corporations in Malaysia (my ex-employer, for example) would think of using this as some sort of case study or conversation trigger: What sort of person is Donald Trump looking for, based on the variety of hoops he makes the candidates jump thru? How does that fit with any internal movement to "develop leaders"? Too many times I had major problems with what happened on the show: the entire "individual is king" premise was contrary to the more teamworky approach practiced in Asia. Of course, that "team" makes it much easier to avoid personal/individual accountability, so I do think Asians could do with a bit more of "western" accountability values... then again, I think the western business world needs to ease off the individual focus and look the network of people within... after all, "No man is an island"!

Gilligan's Island: Speaking of islands... can you believe there was a reality series based on this tv show of a bunch of people stranded on an island? I think what they did was recruit maybe 5 people per character (i.e. 5 different Gilligans, 5 different Skippers, 5 different Mary Janes, etc); form maybe 5 teams with a compete set of the castaways; then put them thru these various tests to eliminate the different teams.... I do wonder though,,, i doubt they reward teamwork, so somehow i bet the winner would be just one person, not one set of castaways... it seemed such a ridiculous premise...

He's a Lady: from the preview, it seems as if the show's organisers put out a casting call for the manliest men, and only after they were on board did they find out that they were going to compete to be the best LADY. Yeah, so we were treated to scenes of there muscular beefy men getting their chests waxed, get decked out in dresses, and looking overall VERY scary! brrrrrrr!!!

Who's your Daddy: Imagine you were given up for adoption at birth or when you were very young. You are given an opportunity to meet 8 or 10 different men, and try to figure out who among them is your true/biological father. If you choose correctly, you get tons of dough. If you choose wrongly, the person you thot was your dad gets the money instead. Isn't that ridiculous??

The Biggest Loser: The only series that i think has some redeeming qualities. A bunch of extremely obese people are brought together, and put through rigourous exercise etc. Split into two teams, they of course compete in different challenges, and the losing team eliminates one person. Elimination also occurs in people actually GAIN weight. Sounds simple? Well, the 5 minutes I happened to see of the show indicated that it was full of crap too... they'd put these people through hard exercise, then tempt them with extremely sinful desserts etc... and the person who chose to gorge themselves on the desserts would "win" the priviledge of a phone call to the family (I guess they were in isolation during this time?). So it's not just a matter of caving in to tempation - it's sacrificing your discipline in order to hear your loved one's voice... geeeeeez!!

Of course, this over-abundance of reality shows will spawn spoofs. I have heard of, but can't get access to, Cartoon Network's Drawn Together: This is a parody of reality shows, with a cast that spoofs several famous types of animated characters. Caught a promo of it, and the 10 seconds was enough to have me ROTFLMAO! Any reader who has LimeWire, Napster, iMesh etc - do hunt this down, I'm guessing it will be worth your while!

Stay tuned for the next installment of tv commentary on a "re-imagining" of Battlestar Galactica! what on earth will they think of next??? :-(

Monday, January 10, 2005

running around like a headless chicken - for HOW long?

The thylacine was Part 1, this is Part 2 of an irregular series of educational features :-)

Now, the phrase "running around like a headless chicken" comes from the fact (so I've been told) that when a chicken's head is cut off, the body still runs around for a while, but it'll stop soon after.. the heart would have pumped all the blood out of the severed arteries, and overall there's be no brain attached to tell the rest of the body what to do, right?

So, ... how long do you think a chicken HAS been able to survive after having its head lopped off?

a few hours? maybe a few days?

try ............ EIGHTEEN MONTHS!!! yep... one and a half years, ladies & gentlemen!

gee.. i suddenly feel like i'm hosting an episode of Ripley's Believe it or Not!

Click here for a brief write-up on Mike the Headless Chicken - this site also leads you to possible subscriptions to various newsletters like the REAL Stella Awards and This is True that help highlight the idiocy of the human race in general, and lawsuits in particular, and also Heroic Stories, which highlights the heroism of the human race. What a bunch we are, eh? (I subscribe to all three, btw).

And here's what the Guiness Book of World Records has to say about poor ol' Mike.

And that's it for Part 2 ... Part 3 will be posted when I stumble across yet another weird piece of news to share. Till then - keep supporting the blogging community, and keep in touch, people!

in and out... of touch

It’s a week into the new year, and my thoughts drift to those I left behind… schoolmates, colleagues, friends: or those I *thought* were friends…

It saddens me that some people whom I considered relatively close friends / colleagues have not seemed to be bothered to keep in touch…

Mr YesMan, a mentor of sorts during my previous worklife, someone who already disappointed me once by “dropping the ball” in keeping an eye on a friend’s job application, indirectly teaching me a lesson about politics within the organization… someone I still turned to for some advice during my agonizing period figuring out whether to resign or stick with it… someone who, by his deafening silence ever since I informed him of my resignation, seems to not want to “contaminate” himself with my “taint” within the organization… either that, or I transformed into someone not worth his while? Doesn’t change his impact and influence on me during some formative years within the organization… just saddens me how he just “switched off”… of course, I’m assuming all of the above... he may just be too busy over the last 3 months to even reply to the two or so emails I’d sent out…

Then there’s my Beanie Buddy… kept out of the loop during my decision-making process mostly due to her being extremely busy with work at the time: I imagine part of the silence is related to disappointment at not having been told more, earlier… little does she know she was the first to get an indication of things to come (Hale: remember that Beanie session in USJ, during the fasting month (Oct/Nov 2003)? Yep, that was the beginning…!).

Then again… there’s the other side of the coin… the pleasant surprise… someone I was not **that** close to, she was more like a friend of a friend… very nice gal: outgoing personality, quick to smile, joke, etc… but not really my “style” lah (read: I am SO out of her league)… on one hand you could label her as a bit of a ditz, yet from early on she’s been very supportive, and seems genuinely happy for me, and has actually emailed me (unlike the friend that linked us up) NanAz – if you read this – know that just remembering your early mail about a slice of cake brought me to tears again – thanx for your support, my dear!

Don’t get me wrong! I’m not judging these people. (For one thing, that’s only the tip of the iceberg… if I were to list ALL the people I thought would keep in touch better than they have in reality, well,.. that leads us to another topic altogether regarding realistic expectations lah!). I believe that some people are destined to be friends for a lifetime, others just for a season or so… yet even for those seasonal ones: their impact may last a lifetime. So, while it saddens me that some of those I thought were lifetimers seem to be seasonals instead, it doesn’t lessen the impact they have had on me.

To everyone I’ve interacted with in my 32+ years alive on this planet: I thank you for all the lessons provided: words whether said or unsaid, actions whether done or not done, support & encouragement whether given or not given… combined they all provide a fascinating insight into human beings both as an individual and collectively. May you yourselves take the time to reflect on those who have impacted your life, and those you have had an impact upon.

May the force be with you.
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