April 29, 2010

Never too young

2010/02/08    KASMIAH MUSTAPHA

Stress affects not only adults but children too, writes KASMIAH MUSTAPHA.
Children can get stressed out too.
Children can get stressed out too.
OVER the past month, Azman’s behaviour had changed drastically.

From a fun-loving 11-year-old who loves to play games and ride his bicycle with friends, to one who now prefers to stay at home.
At times, he refuses to leave his room, and is often irritated and sulky when his parents try to talk to him.

He even picks a fight with his brother and sister often.
His parents were at a loss of what to do as Azman refused to talk about his feelings.

When they approached his teachers, none could provide answers, although they too had noticed his change of behaviour.
Deciding that it was time to seek help, his parents took him to an expert.

Azman was diagnosed as suffering from depression due to stress.

It was revealed that he was stressed out at his new school.

His new classmates ignored him and he missed his friends from his former school.

This resulted in him falling behind in his studies.

As a child, the only way Azman could react to the changes was to show it through his behaviour.

While adults may think that children are stress-free, they could not be more wrong.

Stress is a normal reaction to an event or environment that is beyond a person’s control and just like adults, children too face it.

They would react to something that they do not have control over.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Aw Tui Iar said unlike adults, children react to their stressed situation through behavioural changes as they have no idea what they are going through.
To reduce stress, children should get involved in physical activities.
To reduce stress, children should get involved in physical activities.
“Even babies feel stressed when they can’t reach a toy, are left alone or want to crawl but can’t.

Their reaction is to cry.
“Of course, we don’t see this behaviour as being stressed.

However, this is their way or reacting when they can’t cope with the changes in their environment.”

She said older children react to stress by becoming more withdrawn, getting irritated easily, having mood swings and nightmares, bed wetting, falling grades and avoiding friends or refusing to go to school.

And in some cases, these manifestations appear much later.

The child may only show his or her reaction to an incident that happened three months ago.

Some parents may not even realise that their child’s behaviour is related to a past issue.

That is one of the problems in dealing with stress among children.

“While some parents may think the behaviours normal, they need to know that something is wrong when the child continues to behave in such a manner over a prolonged period of time.

“If the child is 10 and throwing temper tantrums like a five-year-old, you know that there’s something wrong with him.

I am saying that stress is not only a mental issue but also a physical problem.”
“The society they are living in now is so different.

Take the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia exam, for example.

We used to have only seven or eight subjects to sit for, now there are 17 or even 18.

Parents insist that their children do well and this puts the children under pressure to achieve success.
“For example, some Chinese schools give homework for all the subjects every day.

Sometimes the child has to stay up late to complete the work.

If they don’t, they will be punished at school.

These are the pressures children have to deal with.”

Aw said there’s no easy solution to helping stressed children other than by being nurturing and understanding instead of venting your anger when the child displays unusual behaviour.

“Parents sometimes do not believe that children can suffer from stress simply because they are children.

They need to know that children are human beings, too, and any changes in their environment can bring on stress.

When I talk to children, they always say that their parents do not listen.
“They should also never treat all their children the same way.

Each child’s needs is different, needing different approaches.

The way you deal with a child when he is two should be different from the way you approach him at 15.

Explanations and negotiations are key.”

Signs of stress: Six to 11 years old

SCHOOL-GOING children are more vocal about feeling stressed.

However, whether they verbalise it or not, it can also manifest as physical complaints and uncharacteristic behaviours.

School children who are stressed often have stomachaches, headaches, respiratory tract illnesses, sleep problems, no appetite or want to eat all the time, experience slow recovery from illness, stutter, need to go to the bathroom a lot, or grind their teeth, especially in their sleep.

They also can pick their noses, bite their nails, and have nightmares.

They may also revert to infantile behaviour such as bed wetting, throwing tantrums or baby talk.

Stressed children may also lie, bully, defy authority, be angry, aggressive and irritable, engage in disruptive behaviour, hit other children, refuse to go to school and do poorly in school.

They can also have panic attacks, withdraw, whine, be depressed, lose interest in usual activities, be worried, lose concentration, cry, appear to be lazy, be accident prone, and drop friends.

12 to 18 years old

PRE-ADOLESCENTS and adolescents, though the most articulate, are often the least communicative.

They also may deny that anything is troubling them and refuse to talk.
When stressed, teenagers may behave in many of the ways that elementary school children act when they are dealing with stress.

Their regressive behaviours manifest as being unwilling to take on more adult responsibilities and wanting to play more.

They may not want to go to university.
Stressed teenagers may also engage in dangerous behaviour that put their health or lives at risk.

They may also have suicidal tendencies.
Children may not be able to tell us that they are stressed, but their behaviours and physical symptoms can give us clues.

How parents can help

Parents can help children respond to stress in healthy ways.

Following are some tips:
• Provide a safe, secure, familiar, consistent and dependable home environment.
• Be selective in the television programmes that young children watch (including news broadcasts), which can produce fears and anxieties.
• Spend calm, relaxed time with your children.
• Encourage your child to ask questions.

Encourage expression of concerns, worries or fears.
• Listen to your child without being critical.
• Build your child’s feelings of self-worth.

Use encouragement and affection.

Try to involve your child in situations where he or she can succeed.

Try to use positive encouragement and reward, instead of punishment.
• Allow the child opportunities to make choices and have some control in his or her life.

This is particularly important because research shows that the more people feel they have control over a situation, the better their response to stress will be.

• Encourage physical activity.
• Develop awareness of situations and events that are stressful for children.

These include new experiences, fear of unpredictable outcomes, unpleasant sensations, unmet needs or desires, and loss.
• Recognise signs of unresolved stress in your child.
• Keep your child informed of necessary and anticipated changes such as job changes and relocations.
• Seek professional help or advice when signs of stress do not disappear.

What children can do to relieve stress

Open communication helps to reduce anxiety and depression in children.

Encourage your children to discuss their emotions and help them to change the stressful situation and/or their response to it in simple ways.

Below are some tips that children can follow to help them reduce stress:
• Talk about your problems.

If you cannot communicate with your parents, try someone else that you can trust.
• Try to relax.

Listen to calm music.

Take a warm bath.

Close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths.

Take some time for yourself.

If you have a hobby or favourite activity, give yourself time to enjoy it.
• Exercise.

Physical activity reduces stress.
• Set realistic expectations.

Do your best, and remember that nobody is perfect.
• Learn to love and respect yourself.

Respect others.

Be with people who accept and respect you.
• Remember that drugs and alcohol never solve problems.
• Ask for help if you are having problems managing your stress.

Sources :

April 22, 2010

Sehr gut: Why cycling in Berlin is a dream

Wide streets, bikes in parks, cycling culture ... 10 reasons why the German capital is a marvellous place to cycle

Bike blog : cycling in Berlin
A woman cycles along a section of the Berlin wall. Photograph: John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images

Having found myself enjoying an unexpectedly long sojourn in Berlin this past week - courtesy of the Iceland volcano - I decided to make the most of it by hiring a bike to pootle around one of my favourite places in the whole world.
Berlin is not, on the surface of it, a classic cycling city. The public transport system actually works, so you don't need to saddle up to be sure of reaching your destination on time. A portmanteau of two capitals, it is also huge, and so getting from one side of it to the other by bike can really test your legs. Plus there are cobbles all over the shop. Despite all this, it is a really marvellous place to cycle. Here are 10 completely subjective reasons why.

1. The streets are crazily wide

Thanks to a combination of Allied bombing and the Communists' insatiable appetite for tearing down lovely old buildings and replacing them with brutal new ones, many of Berlin's streets are incredibly wide. Yesterday I pedalled from Alexanderplatz (site of the 1989 protests) down Karl Marx Allee, the archetypal example of East German roadbuilding. Constructed to show off Communist town planning after WWII, this imposing boulevard is almost 90m wide. Even the pavements are broad enough for tanks to drive down two abreast.

2. You can cycle on the pavement

Well, you usually, can, anyway. All but the narrowest pavements have bike paths built into them.

3. No one tells you off for not wearing a helmet

Helmet use is on the up in Berlin. When I was a student here seven years ago, I don't remember anyone wearing a helmet, but I've noticed the odd one this past few days. At least once a week in London a friend or colleague will ask: "Where's your helmet?" Not here.

4. You are allowed to cycle through parks

The other day I cycled through Tiergarten, one of Berlin's biggest parks, and no one tried to stop me. I've never managed to bimble through the middle of Regent's Park without getting at least told off.

5. You only get fined for cycling crimes if you cause an accident

Again: usually. According to a cycle-themed edition of Prinz magazine which I have before me, if you cause an accident going through a red light which has been red for longer than a second (love that German precision), you can be fined €100 and get a point on your driving licence. Hurt a pedestrian while hurtling through a pedestrian zone and you can be charged €20. Pay €30 if you cause havoc cycling in the wrong direction. Interestingly, you can also be fined €25 for talking on your mobile while cycling, and if you are caught cycling drunk you can be taken to court.

6. It's almost completely flat

On Monday I cycled all the way from Neukölln in the east right through to Wannsee, the placid lake where the Nazis planned the Final Solution. It was probably 30km or so each way, and only when I hit the woods near the lake was there more than the vaguest of inclines. Incidentally, if you ever come to Berlin in spring or summer, you must visit the ginormous strandbad (lake beach) at Wannsee. Germans are a bit wussy about temperatures so when I went for a dip, there was just me and one old lady. Nudity is optional.

7. All flats have bike parking

We can take some credit for this again with our bombing. Traditional Berlin tenements (Mietskaserne) are built with courtyards perfect for storing bikes.

8. You can take your bike on tubes and trains

As long as you buy your bike a ticket.

9. Drivers expect you to be there

In Britain drivers still seem to be surprised and puzzled to see a cyclist. Hence the CTC's SMIDSY (Sorry Mate I Didn't See You) campaign. Here, whenever cars are turning right – usually straight into the path of the cycle lane, as in Britain – the drivers look first to see if cyclists are coming through.

10. It is really easy to hire a bike

I plumped for Fat Tire Bikes, which has shops at the zoo station and Alexanderplatz. It cost €12 for the first day, €10 for the second and €8 thereafter. This sturdy orange bike has taken me from east to west, north to south, on pavements and rough tracks. Sehr, sehr gut.


nota akhir/last note

Ini lah posting saya yang terakhir di semua blog-blog saya di bawah domain Rad Browser. Maaf dipohon jika selama ini ada terkasar bahasa tersalah tutur bicara dan ada perbuatan saya yang mengecilkan hati kawan-kawan dan sesiapa jua. InsyaAllah akan terus berblog walaupun tidak sekerap sekarang cuma di bawah nama baru dan domain baru. toche toche

This is my last posting for all the blogs under domain Rad Browser. Thousands apology for any misbehaved may occur by me while blogging all this while. InsyaAllah still blogging but under difference name with new domain/ID. Thanks you and terima kasih. From Malaysia, Peace.

Go: Art capital of Java


Batik, silverware, leather goods... HEIDI MUNAN visits Jogjakarta and is captivated by its many crafts

These workers are protected from inhaling dust and chemical fumes
These workers are protected from inhaling dust and chemical fumes
IN Java, wearing fine batik has been the prerogative of the high and mighty for as long as anybody can remember. The best artists were employed by the courts and they had no other work but to produce masterpieces for the noble families.

These workers are protected from inhaling dust and chemical fumes
In the 21st Century, connoisseurs still consider Java batik to be the world’s best, and Jogjakarta, or Jogja in short, the “batik capital” of Java.

Jogja is heir to the traditions of the defunct Javanese empire Mataram, and continues to foster all the ancient arts as valuable industries — batik, silver, leather, wood, ceramic, fibre crafts and related branches.

A government agency, Joga Craft, coordinates research and development, and helps cottage entrepreneurs market their wares.

“About 80 per cent of our batik is exported,” says a government officer, adding that “a good proportion of it goes to renowned fashion houses the world over.”
“Batik production” sounds like the work of factories. In fact, there are hundreds, probably thousands, of home or village-based batik producers.

Most employ a few dozen workers, some of whom attend to the mundane jobs such as preparing the dyes, soaking the wax, hanging out cloths to dry, etc.

Only skilled hands are entrusted with the canting (tjanting), an ingenious device that channels liquid wax in a fine stream, not unlike a fountain pen.

With this tool, the worker — no, the artist — draws time-honoured designs on fine cotton, or silk.

Completely hand-drawn pieces are obviously the most expensive, costing well over RM1,000, especially if they are teamed with a sash.

There’s a semi-automatic method of batik-making. A cap (tjap) or brass template is used rather like a rubber stamp, except that it is dipped into hot wax instead of ink.

This device produces repetitive overall patterns. The edge of the piece may still be finished by hand.

High-end consumers turn up their noses at batik cap, they wouldn’t even look at fabrics which are machine-printed with batik designs!

Only in Jogja

Tourists are not so particular. They can visit batik boutiques all over town and look at the luxury items even if they don’t buy many.

Jogjakarta lies in a district of fertile farmlands, where suburbs merge into padi fields
Jogjakarta lies in a district of fertile farmlands, where suburbs merge into padi fields

There is a roaring trade in every kind of craft, including batik, up and down the bazaars. Get an eyeful of the famous Malioboro shopping street where everything is on offer, from cheapy-cheap to court-standard!

“Court Standard” means something in Jogja. The present Sultan is also Governor of the Special Administrative Region, and he keeps the court of his ancestors in impeccable order.

Some parts of it are accessible to tourists — but don’t dream of strolling through the venerable portals of the kraton in shorts and T-shirt. Long skirts or pants, please, and decent shirts or blouses!

The Palace itself is an intricate array of buildings, courts, ponds and gazebos. With a bit of imagination, we can picture the coming and going of a sultan’s extensive family, numerous vassals and slaves, the noise of domestic work, music in the women’s pavilion, shouting in the kitchens, restless horses clanking their harness... all that is gone, but some of the atmosphere remains.

Elderly retainers here and there act as guardians of the place, guides stand by to explain the many exhibits to visitors. A gamelan orchestra performs in an open-sided central hall, a lengthy show of wayang kulit (shadow puppets) is in progress.

More crafts

Shadow puppets are cut of parchment-like leather, brilliantly coloured, to represent the good and evil characters of ancient tales.

The puppeteer manipulates the figurines on slender rods, illuminated by a strong light that throws their moving shadows on a screen in front of the audience.

Wayang puppets and leather-work in general is another craft for which Jogjakarta is famous. Harness-makers and saddlers used to work for the royal stables, other fine leather-work was made for the court, and for those townsfolk who could afford it.

To this day, the ponies who pull andong (horse carriages) around town are sprucely harnessed and decorated. The natty carriages do more than just add a picturesque note to the town’s street scene, they demonstrate its comparative safety. In Jakarta traffic, a pony would be reduced to minced meat in less than 10 minutes!

Horse furniture is embellished mainly with brass buckles, bells and spangles. In the old days some of it was silver.

Once upon a time, a whole village was employed by the court, simply to produce precious metal utensils and jewellery. This is Kota Gede at the southern fringe of the town, where every third house is either a silver workshop, or a silver showroom.

Like batik, silver comes in different quality and price ranges, and it’s worked in a variety of techniques. Filigree, lace-fine flowers and ornaments made from thin silver wire, is one of the specialties of Kota Gede. Young female artisans with slender fingers seem to be particularly good at this. A few ateliers turn out repoussé work, sheets of silver foil hammered into a carved mould that gives the finished work its shape.

According to one silversmith, the “good old days” were in the 1920s and 30s, when Dutch colonial officers ordered whole tea and table services to be made to individual designs. The skill is still here — but who orders a solid silver teapot, cream jug, sugar basin and hot-water jug nowadays? With a massive silver tray?

Unfortunately the price of silver has risen in the last decade so the finished products, however beautiful and artistic, cost more too. “Novelty” items like a silver figurine of a horse, a boat and the like sometimes catch the eye of a wealthy buyer, but the most popular items are jewellery, brooches and bangles and neckpieces, often matched.

It’s no longer enough to be a good silversmith — an artisan has to be a good businessman too, and keep a sharp eye on fashion trends.

Travel Tips

Visitors to Jogjakarta can find accommodation aplenty, from five-star hotels in town to very modest homestays in the Prawirotaman area.

A few “heritage homestays” have taken over colonial mansions, some of them beautifully adapted. It is a good idea to browse the Jogja section of and make a few inquiries before booking at a really cheap place.

And then, rush into the shopping fray. Malioboro Street is a good place to start. Don’t forget to bargain vigorously!

Ask around for smaller, specialised markets like the one at Baringhario where locals go for spices and jamu. There’s even a Bird Market at Ngasem — the problem is probably how to bring your tweeting purchase back home.


Batik and silver ateliers welcome visitors. Jogja Crafts can provide their addresses. Details, call 62-274 488 560, 274 4890 219, 274 749 7005, fax 62-274 488 560 or email

There are daily direct flights from KL to Jogjakarta. Check flight details with Malaysia Airlines (www.malaysiaa or AirAsia (
A mistress of the art, working on an exclusive piece of batik
A mistress of the art, working on an exclusive piece of batik

April 21, 2010

Ray of Light in Darkness



As a war zone field officer, city girl Anita Ahmad had stared death in the face. But, she tells VIMALA SENEVIRATNE, this has given her the strength to touch more lives in a positive way
ANITA Ahmad is a die-hard optimist. For this bubbly single woman who works at the United Nations Development Programme in Kuala Lumpur, there is no situation so hopeless that one cannot see a ray of light at the end of the tunnel. “Even in war-torn places like Baghdad, Kandahar and Darfu, you see hope shining brightly in the faces of simple folk there. Of course there is cruelty but you also see the goodness in people there — their courage, sacrifice, kindness and, most of all, their will to rise above the senseless destruction, cruelty and madness.” These observations, made during her days as a field officer with Mercy Malaysia when she came face to face with the atrocities of war, left deep impressions in her life. “When you have stared death in the face, seen your van driver shot dead at point blank range, believe me, you view everything in a totally different light. Life is so precious a gift and you don’t take it for granted. You learn to appreciate what you have because you have seen others in a far worse situation. “If you choose to see only the worst in situations and people, you lose the capacity to act positively to ease the pain, to show compassion and to help bring about change for the better.” She pauses a moment to dig into her lunch. She is at ease with herself and gives me a megawatt smile as she forks a piece of fish. She continues: “It gives you the strength to move forward, touch more lives in a positive way and to make life a little better for them.” The 30something, the youngest of three children of a retired civil servant father and academician mother, is dressed in comfortable clothes — a loose, black silk blouse worn over ash pants. Her hair is neatly covered under a soft yellow headscarf. Except for a touch of light red lipstick, her face is almost devoid of make-up. She touches her necklace strung with orange-yellow stones. “It caught my eye when I was browsing around one of the bazaars in Turkey.” By all accounts, Anita who comes from Petaling Jaya in Selangor, is a formidable person who lives her own life on her own terms. She studied law but chose not to practice it. She dabbled in book editing and web designing as well. “But I grew restless. I wanted to do something more fulfilling with my life.” She joined Mercy Malaysia first as a volunteer and then as a field officer working in Kandahar in 2002. She did a short stint in Baghdad the following year before working with the displaced people in Darfu for a year from 2004. “The work there was challenging for all of us but it was in this place that I had peaceful sleep despite the lack of basic necessities like water and electricity,” says the chatty and personable Anita.

Where does she find the courage to work in such difficult and dangerous situations? “Faith in God’s will and protection as well as my family and friends’ prayers and support. I am very clear in my objectives.” She also believes that if others, especially the westerners, can do it, so can she.

Then, she took on a “safe” job two-and-a-half years ago at the UN body as programme manager, socio-economic development cluster. “It was mainly for my parents’ sake, in particular mum, that I decided to take on the job. They are getting on in age and I don’t want to cause them any more anxieties. Although I have their blessings in whatever I do, I think I have given them enough sleepless nights when I was working in the war torn countries.” She finds her work with the UN body just as fulfilling as her days with Mercy Malaysia and speaks with passion and eloquence on issues that now concern her. “I may no longer be in conflict zones but I still continue to help improve people’s lives - the disabled, the elderly, pregnant women and even able-bodied people like you and I.” The main focus of the projects she is working on is addressing income inequalities among different social groups, gender equality and justice and addressing the needs of social groups excluded from society. “My projects revolve around eradicating poverty, ensuring gender balance in our national policies and programmes and mainstreaming development to ensure that the needs of different social groups are addressed including persons with disabilities.” Anita is one of the speakers and moderators at a two-day national conference on Accessibility and Universal Design to be held in Kuala Lumpur from tomorrow. Among the aims of the conference is to create a platform for policy makers, planners, architects and those with disabilities to share experiences and ideas on implementing universal design in Malaysia.

She explains that making a product or an environment accessible to people with disabilities often benefits others. “Take the automatic door. It not only benefits individuals using walkers and wheelchairs, but also those carrying groceries and holding babies, as well as elderly citizens. That’s what universal design is about — putting a high value on both diversity and inclusiveness.” Her wish is for policy makers, planners, architects, engineers, developers and enforcement officers to move towards understanding the importance and practicality of implementing universal design in the work that they do. “Ultimately, it should not only benefit people with disabilities but people like you and I.” For the past few years, the UNDP has been working with the Penang and Johor State governments as well as the private sector, transport providers and user groups to access public transport facilities and infrastructure including pedestrian infrastructure and footways. In George Town, Penang, for example, the accessible footways are not built to the standards needed to achieve accessibility, and are often blocked by minor obstructions, shop displays and parked vehicles. “We have all the policies, by-laws... the whole mechanism in place, yet there are public places that are not user friendly. ‘‘It all boils down to implementation. All parties must join hands to strictly enforce the laws. The mindset too has to change,” says Anita who makes it a point to go on holiday to at least one exotic destination every year. “This time I am going to Algeria.” She has been to most Middle Eastern countries and, with a straight face, says she has not visited the great pyramids of Giza despite having stayed in Egypt for four months. “It’s the people and their culture that fascinate me. Bosnia, which I visited last year, was one of the most beautiful places I’ve been. What moved me most was when I heard church bells ringing and the Azan call at the same time. The ordinary folk of different faiths, living side by side, moving on in life.” Other places to explore on her list are the South American countries and the Caribbean islands. Anita, who loves reading, enjoys photography and cycling as well. “I love cooking too — Middle Eastern and local food.” For the Lunar New Year, she has invited friends to her open house steamboat dinner. Meanwhile, she keeps herself occupied with charity work like raising funds for worthy causes. Does she miss the field work? She laughs. “I would consider field work but not necessarily to a war zone area.”


April 18, 2010

Two ‘budak Cina’ in a Malay household

IN this poignant tale that grew out of a eulogy for his late elder brother Say Teik, MARTIN LIM recounts their extraordinary teenage years – two "budak Cina" growing up in a Malay household in Kampung Teluk Wan Jah, Alor Star, and the lessons he learnt that have shaped his life. The story, invested with delightful details, transports us to a gentler era around the time of the declaration of Independence.
THE year was 1955. Alor Star was your typical small town in pre-independent Malaya. Seemingly quiet on the commercial facade, but buzzing with life behind its private residential walls.

Martin Lim
Pekan China was a business street to the Chinese and running parallel to it was Pekan Melayu. This major thoroughfare was, and, still is, lined with a few kopitiam at its south end, and goldsmith shops to the north, ending with the beautiful, classical Masjid Zahir.
The Empire Theatre sat imposingly, across from Pekan Rabu, on the eastern side, while Jalan Langgar on its south, was flanked by a mixture of shops, including the ever-present "chettiars".
Children, like me, in our respective loyal uniform, brown and white, green and white, white and white, were noisy as we made our way to school. It was not my usual morning, as I walked past my old school, St Michael’s, towards Sultan Abdul Hamid College (SAHC), my new school.
The night before had been eventful. It was close to midnight. My father had fallen very ill. Our step-mother, his third wife, was worried. She asked me to fetch his personal doctor. I did, peddling my Raleigh as fast as my legs would pump, from Lorong Merpati where our small two-bedroom house was through the dark town, zipping by the majestic Balai Besar until, finally, curving in front of the eerie Nobat tower and across to the doctor’s fenced residence in Kampung Baharu.
My yells were unforgettably loud in that midnight quietude. The screams woke him up. Some frantic identification and explanations followed. Satisfied and convinced, he drove to our house. Administered an injection, our father gradually found comfort and drifted to sleep, snoring loudly.
He was breathing abnormally heavy when I left him that morning.
An hour or two later, I was back in the house. My brother, Say Teik, had come by my classroom, and in between sobs, announced that our father had passed away.
Even though my father had only recently been baptised a Catholic, his subsequent funeral and burial, three days later, was in traditional Buddhist, all to the tight-lipped insistence of Lim Eng Hoe, our strict grandfather.
Our paternal great-great-grandfather, Lim Hua Chiam, was a past president of one of the more prestigious Chinese kongsis in Penang at the beginning of the last century.
He was the "pendatang" in our family lineage, the first to emigrate out of Fujian, China, to Malaya.
We only learnt, quite recently, that he might have been instrumental in leading the Hokkiens to fight the Cantonese in a well-documented local communal uprising, sometime during the start of the 20th Century in Penang.
How we ended up living in a Malay household
We were staunch, traditional Chinese, although Peranakan by choice. Babas on our father’s end, Nyonyas on our mother’s. We grew up learning never to stray from our established roots. Inter-racial marriage was a constant no-no reminder.
Skin colour was a segregational determinant in our dating. "Chinese we are and Chinese you will stay!" almost became the family cry.
Therefore, it was a heart-wrenching commotion when our mother, Ooi Ah Ean, divorced our father, converted to Islam and renamed Fatimah binti Abdullah to marry Abdul Rahman bin Shamsuddin, a Malay. As a consequence, she was disowned and ex-communicated in our Chinese family.
Naturally, my brother and I felt threatened. It was an unimaginably difficult situation to place two unfortunate young boys in. However, we somehow survived the ordeal. And, now, three years or so after that traumatic change in our household, my brother and I found ourselves, once again, in a new predicament, the death of a much revered father. How could anybody replace him, let alone a Malay and a Muslim?
It was not easy, to say the least, in view of the racial, cultural, religious, and colour barriers we had grown up with.
Luckily for us, we had spent time with this "pak-tiri" before, on a number of occasions, on school holidays, in Langkawi. He had been posted over there. We had also met and shared many happy days with our step-siblings, Meh and Kak Nab, scaring them with made-up stories of "orang minyak" (oily man).
Some of the preconceived notions we had constructed began to be demolished, unconsciously remoulded and altered because of these earlier contacts. We were both treated with unusual kindness, patience, thoughtful attention, inclusion, trust and non-threatening approaches to our learning and gradual adaptation to a Malay family.
But still, the thought of having to move in with the Malay "Pak-cik", the new term for us to address our step-father, his Malay children, our "jib-huan" (in Hokkien, a convert) mother, in Teluk Wan Jah, a very Malay kampung, left both of us close to tears, uncertain of our own future.
Moreover, we did not want to risk hurting the vital linkage to our Chinese family either.
Fortunately, when the moment came to move in, Pak-cik was receptively warm and welcoming. He was aware of our teenage plight, confusion, and vulnerability. He quietly made us feel wanted, took time to assure us and more importantly, gave us a lot of personal space to learn, observe, and grow in the new Malay family.
Above all else, he never forced us into Islam. Clearly, here was a man who fervently placed religious choice on a personal level. The Holy Quran, as I remember, was always placed prominently in the glass cabinet in the living room. Respectfully, this was probably our step-father’s way of inviting all of us to inspect its contents. He always made himself easily accessible if we had enquiries.
Learning ‘adat’
Our introduction to Malay customs started with placing our footwear outside the door. Our mother explained that shoes and slippers tended to carry all kinds of unwelcomed dirt, and wearing them into the house would have dirtied the living space.
Moving barefoot in the house also meant we had to keep our feet washed and clean. We found out only too quickly how merciless the household rats could be, sleeping on the floor with unwashed feet. Those nocturnal creatures would nibble our toes until they bled. We would wake up in agony.
Washing is a very essential Malay practice. We familiarised ourselves with the term "najis" (excrement). We washed our hands before a meal. We washed ourselves after using the toilet. We ceased using toilet rolls.
Sarongs now replaced our customary shorts and pajamas when home. We learnt to position the correct designed part of the kain in the back, overlap the front fold and to neatly roll the top down uniformly with measured tightness. Then there was the cultured way of sitting as opposed to, as my mother would put it, the uncivilised way.
"Jangan-lah ‘dok kankang ... Lipat-lah kaki hang ‘tu ... ‘dok-lah sila," our mother would drum into us. ("Don’t sit with your legs wide apart. Cross your legs".)
She would converse in Malay with us; but would use Hokkien frequently too. She was quite adamant about our Malay. "Cakap pun macham ‘apek’. Cuba cakap macam orang Melayu," she would tease us, even though her own pronunciation, often times, needed our giggling corrections.
("You both speak like a Chinese ‘uncle’. Try speaking Malay like a Malay.")
She was right. Respect and amazement usually attend the one who speaks a language foreign to him commandingly.

Lim (standing third from left) and Say Teik (standing fifth from left) 
with their step-father Abdul Rahman and mum Ooi Ah Ean (seated in centre) 
in a black-and-white family photo that had been hand-coloured.

 "Speak English like an English or don’t speak at all," one past colonial headmaster at the SAHC used to boom at us.
Our mother was no religious slouch either. She did her share of daily observances, went for her pilgrimage and, faithfully continued her Muslim practices until her passing in 1997.
She continued to educate us in Malay manners during our teen years. "Kaki-tu yang bisa sekali," she used to emphasise. "Kepala pantang sunggoh! "
She said to the Malays, the leg or foot is the most insulting (part of our body), while the head the most esteemed.
Never point your toes at a Malay, or for that matter, at anyone. This is totally unacceptable. I once smacked the outstretched foot of one of my impudent college students, here in the USA, off the front table, much to his consternation, and my resentment.
That was not my normal behaviour. I had felt instinctively insulted. Of course, he was customarily ignorant of his action. I did explain to him, quite elaborately (including a geographical map), the cultural significance of his foot-placement, in Malaysia, a country I had come from.
I would like to think that he learnt a rewarding lesson that day. And, never, never touch nor slap the head, even in jest. As a matter of fact, I recall someone telling me, following a question from me, some 50-odd years ago, as to why Malay men wear the songkok. He told me, in earnest, that it was more of a religious reminder that Allah was that high above the head, notwithstanding that there’s where our brain is also located. I took him at his word, and never thought about authenticating his explanation.
It was my step-father who pointed out to me that the threshold of the front door to a Malay house is quite sacred.
I was sitting in our silent, tidy living room, one hot, humid, stifling afternoon, when a stranger walked up to our front door. He asked, somewhat rudely, to see Abdul Rahman. I went to the back to fetch my step-father. When we entered the front-room, he suddenly let out a fierce yell: "Celaka! Orang ta’ dak adat! Kurang ajar! Keluar dari sini! " (Person without custom. Poorly brought up. Get out of here.)
With that, he shoved the shocked "guest" out of the door, and slammed the door shut.
When he had calmed down, he explained: "The visitor had it coming. He crossed over the threshold of our front-door. He had done this once before, uninvited. I had warned him, then. It is customary that if you are a guest to a Malay home, you wait outside the threshold to the host’s house, until invited to enter. You never cross it. Failing to do this, you insult the host."
This is true of many other cultures. He also told me "to wait at the main door until the guests have all departed before shutting it. Do not insult them by closing the door before they have left."
Even to these days, I still wait at the main entrance to our home, much to the amusement of some of my American guests, waving, until all have completely driven away.
We were also instructed, as a gesture of respect and politeness, to bow with one hand stretched down by the side, in front of people older than us whenever we walk pass close to them. Our mother used to kick our butt playfully, as a reminder, anytime she caught us not doing this. "Tunduk! " she would order.
When I first arrived in the USA, I remember passing by my daughters’ late maternal grandfather, Fred Voigt, one evening in their home, outside Brownsville, Oregon, when he tugged on my side, and asked why I did that each time I passed by his wife or him.
I explained. He was impressed, but lamented its absence in their American culture.
Our mother continued to be the cultural teacher. She was always reminding us of the Malay proverb, "Biar mati anak, jangan mati adat! " (The importance of customs and manners in the Malay culture outweigh even the value of one’s child, in a manner of speaking).
She would advise us on how to address various relatives and friends in the kampung – mak-lang, pak-lang, chu-Darus, pak-Mat, mak-Tam, mak-Embon, together with their acceptable protocols in greeting and salutation.
There were days in Kampung Telok Wan Jah, when someone in the neighbourhood would bring a dish of special food to share. Mak-Mah, our mother as she was known by the children, would place some sugar in the clean plate after it was washed and dried. When asked about the sugar, she said it was customary among the Malays to thank the giver by either returning the container with food, or if none was available, a lump of sugar. One never handed back a gift-plate empty.
Our diet at home also changed, in due course. The food we were eating "mutated" and became spicier and spicier. It gradually obliterated the blander food we were accustomed to. The sambal-belacan for our daily ulam intake took on a new mixture of cabai-melaka mixture. Each dish grew "hotter". So did the curry. It was not good enough unless we slapped our thighs in blistering pain, with every gulp. Only the daun-kadok santan remained cooling to our flaming tongues. The enjoyment by the entire household over our mother’s cooking was close to being festive.
Thankfully, she passed this skill on to our adopted sister, Zaini.
We helped raise and mould her. At the age of three, Anak-ku Sazali, became her signature song. We taught her to sing that. She is now in her early 50’s, happily married to Putra for the past 29 years. They have five children.
When Say Teik, her "bang-Hor", was dying in the hospital of lung cancer complications, in June, she sat faithfully in vigil, never leaving his side except for prayer, the powder-room, or home for the night. But she would be right back early the following morning, sitting by our brother, shedding her share of tears. That’s dedication and love.
Memories of ‘berkhatan’ ceremony
The Hari Raya celebrations and the performing of the puberty rites, known as the sunat or berkhatan (circumcision) are probably the two most anticipated occasions in a Malay boy’s life. Lighting the oil-lamps to mark a path to the house and spreading them on wooden posts around the house was as exciting and memorable as the sumptuous, colourful array of kueh-mueh (dessert) on all the clothed tables.
The puberty rites of my two step-brothers Fuad and Feisol remain etched in my mind. There’s the long yellowish looking banana-tree trunk lying in the living-room, close to the kitchen entrance. The Tok-Mudin from the local madrasah and his assistant sat on opposite sides of the trunk. In between them were what looked like two bamboo skewers, the size of regular chop-sticks.
These stayed implanted, menacingly, in the shape of an ‘X’, into the trunk. There were only a few of us privileged witnesses present. The prayers began. Twelve-year-old Fuad, one year younger than his brother, Feisol, was led, gingerly, from the kitchen by the Tok-Mudin’s helper to the appointed spot.

Lim (second from left) and his late brother Say Teik (third from left) 
at the wedding of their nephew Zaid Fitri Abdul Rahman Putra and 
Erma Farizan in 2007, accompanied by Say Teik’s family members.

Fuad, covered only in a fresh white sheet of light-weight cotton cloth around his waist, knelt nervously on the man’s instruction, close to where the two sticks stood waiting, stuck on the trunk. The pious man continued reciting Quranic verses, as he subtly reached out for the young man’s prepuce, pulling it through the opening made by the straddling bamboo. The skewers were, then, pushed down quickly, over the foreskin, until they held it tightly in place.
Anticipation was written all over Fuad’s face. More, quicker verses followed, and, at hardly the blink of an eye, the Tok-Mudin, tugging on the extended epidermis with his left fingers and thumb, lopped it off with the small, sharp scalpel he had been holding in his right hand out of sight all this time. It was over. The boy became a man. He did not cry. He merely winced in momentary pain. Feisol’s turn came the year after.
Our choice
Say Teik and I lived with our Malay family until the end of 1959. By then, the Malay neighbours had grown accustomed to the two "budak Cina" in their midst. You could say they eventually, adopted us, and finally, made us one of their own, jokingly but fondly, nicknaming my brother, Yusof, and me, Halim.
Meanwhile, we kept our visits to our Chinese family, as often as permissible. That was important to us. It would be disingenuous of me if I failed to indicate here, that while we were growing up in the Malay house, the Chinese relatives of ours in Penang never interfered but never ceased to monitor our daily well-being either.
It is important to point out also, that it never occurred to us that we had to accept the living situation then, because the alternative was worse. We had an uncle, our father’s older brother, in Penang, and cousins to boot, who would have willingly taken us in. We had a choice.
I left for Brinsford-Lodge, England, in December 1959. My elder brother departed for training in the Health Ministry. I returned after two years and began teaching at SAHC, my alma mater. My brother completed his training, and was appointed a full-fledged health-inspector. He and Wong Foong Moi, a Seremban girl, also a health nurse, tied the knot in 1964. I was his best man.
I stayed on for two more years in the Telok Wan Jah home after returning from England, before moving into the SAHC hostel as one of the hostel-masters. I married a Peace Corps volunteer, Joan L. Voigt, in 1966, and migrated to the US at the end of that year.
The bigger picture
Two Chinese, living as Malays, with Malays, among Malays. Is there a bigger picture to be seen in all this? Possibly.
Other than the usual sibling rivalry, and suspicion among step-children, one begins to accept the idea, very quickly, that the real trick in getting along with people different from yourself, is not so much in your differences, but in your similarities, such as sharing common needs and working together to achieve those needs. Living with identical problems, and solving those problems, together.
Solutions must be based on the merits of total honesty, integrity, fairness and equity.
If it’s within a family, then the unity, security and success of that whole family become its overall consideration, not just the individuals in it.
Our own experience in co-living taught us to be cautious when making judgmental calls. All may not be what it seems.
Initially, my brother and I had to consciously suppress our innate and cultivated fear. Fear that we will be forced to convert our religious belief was foremost on our mind. Many well-meaning friends and relatives would shake their fingers at us as in warning as they voiced their suspicions to us. Time went by. What we feared did not materialise. Our uneasiness was allayed. We were encouraged. Our step-father became our trusted mentor. Mistrust, as we are well aware of, can be so insidious.
Pak-cik’s no-nonsense honesty, together with his ever-positive outlook, gave us ample reasons to emulate him in many ways, so that all those misgivings and warnings we had been hearing, quietly dissipated.
In the absence of those two formidable walls – fear and mistrust – we were able to verify the real condition ourselves. We grew more adventurous. We found ourselves more open to learning and instructing. The kampung folk reciprocated, in turn. With new confidence, we started to visit the different neighbours in their homes more frequently, putting to use what we had learnt at home, the greeting, the bowing, the proper sitting position, the polite invitation before drinking or eating, until the final leaving.
We played with the boisterous children in the village, and, before too long, our spoken Malay improved. We began to speak Malay more like Malays. This was particularly important to me. Its fluency allowed me to blend into the family and community, provoking a sense of belonging. In exchange, we shared our Chinese background and practices, when asked by the curious, translating a host of everyday Malay usage into Hokkien.
As we settled in and grew more comfortable with ourselves, we realised that much of what we had been told in our previous "pre-Malay" period, were hearsays, innuendos, rumours, generalisations, passed down.
It would however be utterly naïve of me to pontificate that even though our personal observations dismissed a good amount of the negative assumptions we had heard in the past, that life in our kampung home was all peachy.
On the contrary, we had our fill of family "pecking" orders, including your everyday dissent and dissatisfaction. Every community comes with its share of builders and demolishers. People who either help garner the general good of the group or cause its demise. The Malays are no exception.
But it would be wrong to suggest that they are generally lazy, inefficient, unintelligent, manipulative, corrupt, non-ambitious, "earth-diggers". Their own achievements through the years are testimonies to their prowess.
Within the scale of the kampung children I grew up with, there’s Din-garu, who went to work without shirking; Umak-siam, who, feeling obligated one day, enlisted in the army, and left our kampung, to fight in the Congo; Kassim, Mak-Tam’s younger son, ended up a general in the army. My step-sister, Kak Nab retired a teacher, was herself Kirkby-trained. My step-brother, Feisol, academically successful in SAHC, was awarded a scholarship, went to Dublin, graduated from one of its fine universities, returned home, and has been doing very well ever since.
Our cousin-sister, Jumaah, is a lawyer by profession. Loyal to both her Malay and Chinese relatives, she is one highly motivated Datin. These are all very genuine, ordinary folk out of one small, insignificant kampung, taking on what some might consider quite extraordinary feats. They reached their positions and goals, despite their race, not because of it.
Our dear old childhood friends, Syed Salem Albukhary, whose nomadic ancestors walked "the vast region comprising lands of Jazira al-Arab right through the sky-piercing ranges of Central and South-Asia", and Wan Ahmad Sobri Wan Tajuddin of humble Acheh-mix, come immediately to mind, as other figures whom this incredible category of high-achievers with very modest beginning, fit.
Fully aware of the ramifications, the people I am familiar with had to work even harder to prove their mental and professional worth. I had to do the same here in the US. I had to slog to maintain a high GPA (grade point average, academic achievement grade) throughout my university study, to convince the local folk (with their own racial bias, very pronounced at that time), that one’s skin colour, looks, or race does not ultimately determine the measure of his intellect or personal character.
Generally, speaking, I see no glaring difference, growing up as a Chinese in a Chinese home, as opposed to a Malay one. Apart from their respective moral bearing, cultural cloak and religious conviction, both could be as ambitious, disciplined, capable, inventive, purposeful, patriotic, and fiercely competitive, given the appropriate equity, fairness, incentives, hope, aspirations and opportunities.
Within the confines of the family-building, there is no special treatment accorded to one member, and not the other; no extra share of the fortune or loss; no more chances than another; no more burden to one, and not the other; no one-sided reward; no lopsided punishment.
Since all have equal stakes in its success, all should have equal or equitable opportunities and responsibilities. The family head must lead inclusively, not exclusively.
The true culprits lie in oneself, our arrogance, our unwillingness, our close-mindedness, our envy, our jealousy, our selfishness, our convoluted bias, and our fears.
Race has very little to do with it.
Martin Lim Say Leong resides in the United States where he teaches. He still "balik kampung" whenever he finds the time. 

April 16, 2010

Kuala Lumpur 1961

MichaelRogge — October 14, 2007 — Kuala Lumpur in 1961 was a quiet place without presentday skyscrapers! The railway station looked monumental. A unique place where three races live peacefull together.

April 12, 2010

Largest orbital gathering of female astronauts in history

Image provided by NASA taken on April 9, 2010 shows three female astronauts and one male astronaut at the International Space Station. The shuttle Discovery linked up to the International Space Station early Wednesday, April 7, 2010, bringing 13 people together on two different spaceships – including the largest orbital gathering of female astronauts in history

Image provided by NASA taken on April 7, 2010 shows Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Naoko Yamazaki (R) and mission specialist Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger (L) at the International Space Station. The shuttle Discovery linked up to the International Space Station early Wednesday, April 7, 2010, bringing 13 people together on two different spaceships – including the largest orbital gathering of female astronauts in history.

BEIJING, April 11 (Xinhuanet) -- The shuttle Discovery linked up to the International Space Station on early Wednesday, bringing three female crew members, along with the woman already on the ISS, making the largest number of women in orbit ever.

Discovery lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida at 6:21 am (1021 GMT) as scheduled. It brought three female astronauts: mission specialists Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, 34, a former high school science teacher; Stephanie Wilson, 43, a veteran of two shuttle missions; and Naoko Yamazaki, 39, an astronaut with the Japanese space agency since 1996. Along with the woman already on the ISS -- NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson -- the mission marks a first in space: four women in orbit at the same time.


Editor: Fang Yang

Original title: Largest number of women in orbit

April 11, 2010

Google news reading tool Fast Flip

  BEIJING, Jan. 11 (Xinhuanet) -- Google's experimental news reading tool, the Google Fast Flip, is now part of the Google News homepage, according to the company's announcement quoted by news reports on Monday.     In its announcement, Google said the Fast Flip has encouraged readers "to look at many articles and, for the ones that catch their interest, click through to the story publishers' websites."
    The Fast Flip, which embedded in Google News' bottom page, features the screenshot news webpages of all the major online medias as well as all the topic-related special journal outlets.
    Flipping through content is fast, so you can quickly look through many news pages until you find something catches your eyes.
    In only a month before the move, Google expanded its Fast Flip source to more than 90 news sources around the world.
    New features of Fast Flip is still going on experiment in Google Labs and Google wants it to encourage readers to look at many articles in just seconds of time in the future, it said.

Original titile: Google experiments with news reading tool Fast Flip

Showdown over 'sexism' claim among scientific elite

Supporters of the Oxford don who was sacked from her post as Royal Institution director will tomorrow try to dismiss its entire leadership
Robin McKie, science editor

Several hundred of Britain's most distinguished scientists will gather tomorrow in a modest, steeply banked lecture theatre in London's Mayfair to determine the fate of the world's oldest independent research body, the Royal Institution.

They will debate a motion – described as "unprecedented in legal history" – that would dismiss its current council and replace it with supporters of the institution's former director, Lady Greenfield.
Susan Greenfield was sacked on 8 January following massive cost overruns incurred during a major refurbishment of the institution's headquarters that she had instigated. But now her supporters are mounting a dramatic bid that could lead to her reinstatement.

They say Greenfield is a victim of sexism and want to impose a completely new "transitional council", made up of their own members, on the institution, which is based in Albemarle Street, Mayfair. They claim the move would save the organisation – whose directors have included Michael Faraday and Humphry Davy – from ruin.

One supporter, Professor Lisa Jardine, of St Mary's College, London, said Greenfield was likely to win "anything between £500,000 and £1m" at an industrial tribunal because of her treatment. "That would only exacerbate the institution's financial crisis. However, the present council has boxed itself in over this," she added. "They are funny boxed-in clique and we are trying to free the institution from their influence."
However, opponents say the plan would sabotage efforts to refinance the debt-ridden institution. "A move like that would see the closure of the institution within six months," one member told the Observer. "This is a fight for the life of the Royal Institution."

Greenfield was appointed director in 1998. It was hoped that a charismatic, media-friendly new leader would sweep through the institution and introduce new ways to raise funds and popularise science in a body that was widely recognised as being badly out of date.

The appointment was controversial but necessary, said Jardine. "You either love or hate Susan. No one ever says 'she is quite nice'. However, she is a bloody distinguished neuroscientist."

But Greenfield's attempts to generate funds were unsuccessful and the institution was forced to sell its portfolio of properties in a bid to pay off debts incurred in refurbishing its building. It is now £2.5m in debt, with an annual operating loss of around £1.75m. "Only a major charity can save us, and so far we haven't found one who seems interested in our survival," said one member.

Nor are its problems helped by the furore over tomorrow's vote. "Corporate organisations work on the principle that you have a rotation of members on its council or trustees," said Frank James, professor of history at the institution. "But this motion seeks to replace totally the existing council. The idea is unprecedented in legal history."

It is also a concept that alarms many scientists. "If you replace the whole council, that will bring a great deal of instability," said Dame Nancy Rothwell, the Manchester neuroscientist who presented the institution's 1998 Christmas lectures. "It would disrupt all the RI's efforts to raise cash, which is why the staff have urged against the plan. "

Many, including Rothwell, warn that if tomorrow's vote is in favour of the transitional council the Royal Institution would close within months. The 211-year-old organisation was set up primarily to promote scientific understanding among the public and for much of its history it succeeded spectacularly, with its lectures being regularly sold out in the 19th century, while in the 20th century its Christmas lectures, televised by the BBC, were watched by millions.

But science popularisation has become a highly sophisticated business. Young scientists such as Brian Cox and TV series like The Wonders of the Solar System bring glittering scientific images into homes, while the Science Museum and the Wellcome Trust have proved adept at scientific showmanship, presenting complex issues – including shows on stem cell research, DNA databases and other subjects – in a highly accessible manner. By comparison, the RI has lagged badly behind. "Susan deserves great credit for all she did to pull the RI into the modern era," said Oxford neuroscientist Professor Colin Blakemore. "But it now needs someone else to find a niche for it this century."

For her part, Greenfield insists she is a victim of sexual discrimination. "I was unfairly dismissed," she told the BBC on Friday. "I am female, and it is my contention that a man would not have been treated in the same way."

Greenfield has warned that she will take the matter to an employment tribunal at the same time as her supporters are plotting to replace the council.
It does not bode well for the future, said Blakemore. "Whatever the merits of the various claims, this dispute and the attempt to install an inexperienced council and to reinstate Susan are only going to do further harm to the Royal Institution's chances of survival."

Photo & more from 

April 7, 2010

Formula 1 2010 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Sepang Circuit

Formula 1 Grand Prix of Malaysia


02 April 2010 Photos
03:00-04:30 1st Free Practice - (Live Report)
07:00-08:30 2nd Free Practice - (Live Report)

03 April 2010 Photos
06:00-07:00 3rd Free Practice - (Live Report)
09:00-10:00 Qualifying - (Live Report)

04 April 2010 Photos
08:59 Starting grid
09:00 Race - (Live Report)

Formula 1 Grand Prix of Malaysia

Season Circuit Winner
Sepang S. Vettel
2009 Sepang J. Button
2008 Sepang K. Raikkonen
2007 Sepang F. Alonso
2006 Sepang G. Fisichella
2005 Sepang F. Alonso
2004 Sepang M. Schumacher
2003 Sepang K. Raikkonen
2002 Sepang R. Schumacher
2001 Sepang M. Schumacher
2000 Sepang M. Schumacher
1999 Sepang E. Irvine

Formula 1 2010 season

Date GP information and schedule
14 Mar. 2010 Bahrain Bahrain, Sakhir
28 Mar. 2010 Australia Australia, Melbourne
04 Apr. 2010 Malaysia Malaysia, Sepang
18 Apr. 2010 China China, Shanghai
09 May 2010 Spain Spain, Barcelona
16 May 2010 Monaco Monaco, Monte Carlo
30 May 2010 Turkey Turkey, Istanbul Park
13 Jun. 2010 Canada Canada, Montreal
27 Jun. 2010 Europe Europe, Valencia Street Circuit
11 Jul. 2010 Great Britain Great Britain, Silverstone
25 Jul. 2010 Germany Germany, Hockenheim
01 Aug. 2010 Hungary Hungary, Hungaroring
29 Aug. 2010 Belgium Belgium, Spa Francorchamps
12 Sep. 2010 Italy Italy, Monza
26 Sep. 2010 Singapore Singapore, Singapore
10 Oct. 2010 Japan Japan, Suzuka
24 Oct. 2010 South Korea South Korea, Korean Int.Circuit
07 Nov. 2010 Brazil Brazil, Interlagos
14 Nov. 2010 United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi

Formula 1 Update From The Source

I want everyday My wife don't ?

Try to discover her reasons – and don't pin blame on her

I'm 30 and have been happily married for four years, but my wife doesn't like sex. I want it every day, but she wants it once or twice a month. This hasn't harmed our relationship so far because I love her very much. However, my libido is increasing every day. Having protective sex puts her off; condoms hurt her, she gets headaches with the pill and is reluctant to try other forms of contraception. We don't want children yet. I don't want to leave her, but I'm desperate. Is there any way in which using a condom won't hurt her?
Your problem is not condoms. There is an important reason why your wife is uncomfortable having sex and avoiding it. The two of you must begin to communicate about what exactly is the issue – so try to make her feel safe enough to share that with you. It might be a physiological problem, which requires consultation with a medical practitioner; perhaps medication is lowering her libido, or she has a hormone imbalance or some other medical condition.
There might be psychological issues (for example, depression can deplete a person's sex drive). She may be ambivalent about having children, or there may be other relationship issues (these could all be addressed with the help of a therapist). Make your inquiries gently and with empathy and view the problem as one you share, rather than something that is all her fault. And don't ignore the problem – it won't go away.

Original title: My wife doesn't like sex. I don't want to leave her but I'm getting desperate
Pamela Stephenson ConnollyPamela Stephenson Connolly is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders. - Life and Style 

April 6, 2010

Novel Kasih Ke Syurga by Raihan Zaffya

Just finished read a novel by Raihan Zaffya. This is her first novel. The title and the story very interesting which is Kasih Ke Syurga published by .

I put the synopsis here for those who are interested in reading Malay Novel.


PERTEMUAN ini tidak dipinta. Namun, takdir TUHAN telah menemukan Yusuf dan Zulaikha. Kesederhanaan Zulaikha memikat hati Yusuf. Tapi pantaskah dia memiliki sekeping hati Zulaikha sedangkan antara mereka ada jurang yang menghalang?

Keimanan dan ketakwaan Zulaikha bagai satu tembok jurang pada Yusuf. Dia merasakan dirinya amat kerdil kerana Islamnya hanya pada kulit saja. Telah lama dia mengabaikan tanggungjawabnya kepada ALLAH SWT. Perubahan diri Yusuf menyentuh hati Zulaikha. Di saat mereka hendak diijabkabulkan, umi Yusuf menentang kerana hasutan orang ketiga.

Mampukah mereka menghadapi rintangan yang mendatang?

Blog Penulis: Raihan Zaffya

April 2, 2010

Indomitable Bergen


The city burned to the ground not once but eight times. But where most would have given up, the folks of Bergen refused to be beaten, writes SEAN AUGUSTIN

N a book on Norway, given to me prior to my trip, there is a picture of a smiling young girl in a yellow poncho holding a bright red umbrella in the rain. The caption reads: “Bergen is blessed with plenty of rain...”

Take a brisk walk through the streets of Bergen and you sense that it is not just showers that soak the roads and cobble-stoned lanes. History too is drenched in her paths and saturated in its walls, either wooden or stone.

Facades reek of both tragedy and triumph, enveloping the air with a redolent of nostalgia like a damp cloth in a small room. Tragic because the city, once the capital of Norway, had to endure a baptism of fire, literally. Bergen was the first capital of Norway before being replaced by Oslo in 1299.

The city burned to the ground eight times and while the causes remain unknown, the flames that once licked the edifices could not destroy the spirit of the inhabitants which, for the lack of a better cliché, rose from the ashes.

And this is why the buildings are built so far apart, one of the very first things I notice about Bergen as we head for Bryggen, our first stop.

Where The Triumph Begins

Bryggen is where the very first buildings were constructed and it slowly became the heartbeat of the city. In 1360, the German Hanseatic merchants set up offices here and dominated trade for the next four centuries. Their influence can still be seen in the names of streets and alleys as well as crests that decorate some buildings where I imagine firemen once scrambled in futility to douse the wicked fiery tongues. Remnants of the Hanseatic merchants can also be found in the many German names of Bergen families.

Now, tourists sit basking in the rare sunlight, sipping red wine and facing either the fleet of cruise ships and vessels, or admiring the rows of shops which have dates of when they were restored.

It is the face of these shops that draws you, like an elusive mermaid draws a sceptical sailor, to wander in.

Here, as you walk on creaking floorboards with the scent of wood wafting in the air, the city’s history seems to develop a soul. The narrow alleys, borne of shops packed cheek by jowl, means they sanction very little light to sneak in, which at times baths you in an air of reverence for all things old, including the termite-holed pillars that prevail the worst parts of history, be it the two world wars or the worldwide economic slump.

Maybe one of the horsemen of the apocalypse had a soft spot for Bergen, though the cacophonous mix of men and machines tell you that it’s the people of Bergen who yearn for the past to remain present.

As we meander through the shops, parts of the buildings are being lifted to lay new foundation. But neither that nor the souvenir shops snuggled in the alleys do little to erode that sepia-toned sentiment. (It made it to the Unesco World Heritage honour list in 1979).

Omniscient View

The clear sky that day means we are not to be short-changed of a bird’s eye view of the city, courtesy of Mount Fløyen, one of the seven mountains surrounding Bergen.

The less than 10-minute funicular train ride means we are not short of breath when we reach the top of the mountain which is 399m above sea level.

And here is what I appreciate about Bergen apart for the earlier trip down memory lane. The fact that you can turn your back on the hustle and bustle of the city, walk or in this case hike away, for some solitude minus the hassle of packing for an expedition.

Where at the top, despite the babbling tourists admiring the view in a language of their own while clicking away furiously, you can still find serenity on the steps leading out to the cliff.

Where at the peak you’d get an omniscient view of the city, casting her in a different light as you realise the fjord looks like a rugged guardian angel faithfully watching over his stoic yet vulnerable being.

From up here, you’d be hard-pressed to believe that she once was scarred by a calamitous past. From up here, the city parades her beauty marks.

So there I sit, surrounded yet alone, as I picture what it would be like to take part in the Seven-Mountain hike, which takes place annually.

Would I have the stamina? Or would the arresting views of the city and the docked ships from different angles seize my ambitions to complete such a race and have me acquiesce to savouring the scenery instead. Even if I came in last, I reckon I would not have lost.

Film Buff & Three Playwrights

As I walk back to my hotel, I take a second look at Rick’s Nightclub — which belongs to the Merchant’s Association of Bergen. Decades ago, the Germans made this the Gestapo headquarters, where many Norwegians were tortured by men in black uniforms. The Gestapo were the secret police under Nazi rule.

The irony would, of course, not be lost to a film buff familiar with Humphrey Bogart’s Casablanca, though it is a memorial for those who lost their lives that reminds you of the war instead of the timeless tune played by Sam.

Less than 100 paces later I run into three playwrights — Henry Ibsen, Euripides and William Shakespeare — or their marble casts, at least, nuzzled in a little enclave of the Den Nationale Scene or the National Theatre.

Although founded in 1850, the theatre was opened in 1909 and became Norway’s first theatre. It was wholly financed by Ole Bull, a renowned international violinist.

And if behind every successful man is a woman, then these bearded storytellers have a divine right to literary sainthood for Talia, the Greek Goddess and protector of the arts lords over them.

Her hands outstretched, clutching the two masks synonymous with drama as if to ward off threats, both fires and jejune ideas from the cinema nearby, to the arts. A sacred ritual of which she may have performed well.

Shakespeare after all is a legend while Ibsen’s often referred to as the godfather of modern drama and is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre.Euripides was the last of the three great tragedians of classical Athens.

The trio are now mute though their quixotic dialogues still reverberate through staged plays and their marble casts gaze on picnicking couples in the throes of love or students buried in their books on a comfortable green lawn.

Beauty To The Ears

I call it a day, promising myself to explore the city the next morning but Bergen has a funny way to make me feel like one of hers. And her humour isn’t dry.

I keep thinking of the smiling girl in the red umbrella as I struggle on Bergen’s sodden streets with my luggage, anxious not to miss the bus to the airport. A stroll in the rain would have been a novel way to complete my visit here — after all I am already bathed in her past and cloaked in her beauty. Though beauty, I am also reminded, is not just in the eyes of the beholder.

Sometimes, it is also in the ears, a revelation of which only occurred to me on my last night in Norway as I sit in the Arctic Cathedral or the Tromsdalen Church in Tromsø, north of Oslo.

The chilly night eggs me to get into the church as soon as possible, like a repenting soul, though it is warmth and not forgiveness that I am seeking.

Once inside, the first thing I notice is how plain the cathedral is, with only the Skittles-coloured symbolic stain glass a Dan Brown enthusiast would appreciate, providing for something vivid.

Created by well-known sculptor Victor Sparre in 1972, the cathedral nevertheless has an outstanding feature — the mosaic is one of Europe’s largest stained mosaics. It rouses my tired eyes as I scrutinise the art — a welcomed move for a restless man who spends the whole day on foot, not to mention it is already past midnight.

Then I hear it. And as much as I hate repeating a hackneyed phrase, it is heavenly as it emanates from a man who sings without a microphone, reverberating notes that are familiar yet foreign.

This is the Midnight concert that locals boast about, where the performance humbles you with the simplicity of a three-man band.

I was a born-again listener, inspired to sing along but it would have been blasphemous to make a sound or any sound for that matter as a haughty tourist ticks off my photographer with condescending glances for clicking his camera. The songs, be they folk or hymns, get me thinking about “what ifs”.

What if the band sang as I am on board MS Richard With, the cruise ship that sails to Tromsø from (Svolvaer) on a clear and chilly night? Especially as she eases cautiously between the forks of the fjords, with a spotlight to show the rocky cliffs that are part of a larger silhouette just up ahead.

It seems menacing, no thanks to Hollywood-influenced morbidity, but it’s hard not to stay rooted or even irritated that you can’t capture the moment without having the flash waning the romanticism of jet black mountain under a starry sky.

So I stand there, braving the chill that manages to negate the act of wearing three layers of clothing, desperately trying to remember what I can of this 11,025 tonne cruise ship as it navigates its way out of the fjord with the grace of a ballerina.

The music would have done me some good here as I lay on the deck, watching the sky, wishing hard for a streak of aurora to make a cameo. Unfortunately, this can only be seen in winter.

What if the songs were the soundtrack to the story, as told by my guide Knut Hansvold, of Roald Amundsen, the first guy to reach the South Pole in 1911 after a three-year expedition? But that wouldn’t be what I would reserve the powerful tenor for.

The ballad is meant for Amundsen’s dramatic yet ill-fated bid, which holds an Orson Welles sway over an international audience, to rescue a team of Italians who had crashed en route to the South Pole.

Amundsen and company crashed and perished near Tromsø, some think near Bear Island. Sadly, their remains were never recovered. The news splashed in papers both local and international as a group of journos had camped in here to cover the planned rescue. Knut calls it Tromsø’s “15 minutes of fame”, but a bronze statue honouring Amundsen, though not related to this tragic end, overlooking the port vouchsafed that particular heroic quarter, is a tireless re-run among tourists .

What if the songs were the ballad for three female bearded seals who moved graciously and performed tricks all in the name of fish for their eager audience, in the tank of Polaria, a zoo-like centre on all things arctic?

Seductress Storsteinen

Your own sweet time is what is needed in a centre like Polaria which is something I don’t have, much to my chagrin. Nevertheless, the city makes it up with a trip 421m above sea level to Storsteinen.

Unlike the ascend up to Fløyen, where foliage veils the bird’s-eye view of the city like a bride on her big day, Storsteinen has no such tease. She is laid bare for all to see, the seductress she really is, claimed and accused of being.

(Tromsø is often regarded as the Paris of the north, thanks to her nightlife which enjoys national fame. A day before I arrive, Tromsø hosted rapper Snoop Dogg.)

From the top, Tromsø tantalises with her clear azure blue sky, with still white clouds that seem to strike a pose for a picture. From up here, she seems lifeless, with the only pulse I get coming from a ship cruising by and the sound of a plane purring in the distance.

Like Bergen, the view here too is breathtaking though you’d wish for once, vertigo or a fence isn’t a tourist’s worst enemy as it would have been even better to enjoy Tromsø, sitting at the edge of a cliff.

From the peak, you’re tempted to think that you know all about her with just a glance. But the truth is, she still retains a little enigma and quirky bits of history which make her a little more mysterious then her self-proclaimed haughty counterpart Bergen.

Take for example the street signs in Sami, an ethnic minority group in the country whose language was once forbidden in some areas until the 1950s. (The language , which is “related” to Hungarian and Finnish, is spoken by the Sami).

Or the tale of a man named Eidis Hansen, who some years ago rows into Tromsø. He then walked into the nearest bar for a drink but was deemed unfit to enter because of the few he’d had on the way.

Annoyed, he went back to the beach where he found a 371kg stone and carried it to the doorstep of the bar, for he declaimed that if he couldn’t come in, then nobody else should. The bar is long gone but the legendary stone is still there.

Back at the cathedral, the audience claps appreciatively for the trio, inducing an encore. He obliges with an Amazing Grace.

It is my last night in Norway. It is chilly and I am tired. But it is the prefect way to end my trip.

 Travel NST Online