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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Man vs Animal

In Santiago, Chile, a dog rescues his furry friend who was hit by a vehicle. See the video below.

Meanwhile, in Foshan, China, this happened (viewer discretion advised).

Who's the one with the 'hati binatang' now?

p/s: The toddler has since died from her injuries.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Palestinian-Israeli Prisoner Swap

There was a prisoner swap between Hamas and the Israeli government today.  An Israeli soldier was traded in exchange of hundreds of Palestinians. And Yahoo! decided to cover the story with the headlines, "Israeli soldier very excited to go home".

I wonder whether the hundreds of Palestinians (most probably just civilian) freed actually even have a home to go to. 

Kids These Days

The world of technology is ever evolving. What was the in thing as recent as a few months ago might be so yesterday today. Back in my days, there were cassettes,  the Walkman, VHS. Ask kids these days and they'd have no clue to what I just mentioned above. 

And with such advanced technology like the smartphones and tablet computers, its a matter of time before people would no longer know books and magazines. Case in point, see video below.

I wonder what the future holds.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What Grinds My Gear (2)

I promised another raya issue for 'What grinds my gear'.

What really grinds my gear is that, as far as I can remember, TV stations are always airing ghost movies during the raya period. Why?

No comment
I understand that syaitan has finally been released after a month of being chained. So by airing these ghost movies, are they like celebrating the occasion? Absurd Malaysian culture. And I'm not even gonna comment on the ridiculousness of said movies.  

That really grinds my gear.

Minyak Gamat

This thing called minyak gamat (sea cucumber oil extract) works wonders! Whatever it is, be it cuts, bruises, itching, muscle pain, or aches, this potion can insyaAllah relieve you of that pain.

I remember a long way back after my circumcision, the doctor said he heard that putting minyak gamat would help. So minyak gamat was applied to everyday and when I revisited the doctor a week later, he was amazed to see no scarring.

The potion
Amazingly, this medicine is mostly used only traditionally. I would suspect that such would have great potential if more research and advertisement were to be put into this medicine. 

I admit, the sea cucumber looks weird.

Friday, September 30, 2011

What Grinds My Gear (1)

With Syawal finally over, my first two 'What Grind's My Gear'(s) would be about the raya celebration here in Malaysia.

What really grinds my gear is all the sad, depressing raya songs they play over and over again on the radio/tv. Is that even necessary? How many people out there are actually sad during raya? But a few I would suppose. Eid was supposed to be a day of joy and rejoice, after a month of fasting.

"Everyone else is out praying, but here am I, all alone, mending my broken heart,"
said one of the very rare sad guys during eid.
Since when did it become a day to be sad? Did hipsters have a thing to do with this? LOL. The only possible reason to be sad is because Ramadhan has just passed, and you don't know whether or not you'll make it to next year's (and sad for missing out a day(s) of fasting is also acceptable). But these songs have got nothing to do with that. The songs are always about not being able to balek kampung, being sorry for past mistakes (you had a whole month of Ramadhan for that!) and the 'coup de grace' of all sadness, breaking up with your partner. I mean really? Who would break up during eid.  

That really grinds my gear.

What Grinds My Gear

I've been wanting to create this new category, 'What Grinds My Gear' for a while now. I'm borrowing this off from the fat man (as Stewie calls him) in Family Guy.

The Fat Man, Peter Griffin
It'll consist most things I find rather annoying in this world that we live in. Yo gotta problem with that? Cause that really grinds my gears!

O ya, feel free to include anything that might grind your gears in the comments section. Cheers :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

8 Reasons Why You're Getting an F in Personal Finance

by Len Penzo

Monday, September 12, 2011

Failing a class in school is one thing. Failing your financial goals as an adult is another. Here's how to earn an A-plus in personal finance.

Last year, my son brought home a midterm progress report that showed he was getting an F in one of his classes. What was infuriating was that the F was in physical education.

"How in the world do you fail phys ed?" I asked my wife, shaking Matthew's midterm report card in my hand for added emphasis.

"Beats me, Len. Why don't you ask him?"

Why didn't I think of that?

Needless to say, Matthew and I had a nice little heart-to-heart talk about his failing grade and, I'm happy to say, he actually ended up finishing the school year with a C in PE.

That little incident got me thinking about what people would have to do to earn an F in personal finance. If you find yourself swimming in debt and living paycheck-to-paycheck, the odds are you're already getting one. Here are the most likely reasons why:

1. You don't have an emergency fund.

In life, you should expect the unexpected, such as the sudden loss of a job. The last thing you want to do is be caught off guard and be forced to rely on credit cards or a loan that could get you into deeper financial trouble.

Extra credit: Establish an emergency fund of at least three to six months of expenses. And don't delay. You should start building your emergency fund as soon as you get your first paycheck.

2. You don't know how much you have in your bank accounts.

Overdrawing a checking account by just a few cents could result in lots of expensive bank fees. To ensure you'll never write a check for more than what you have, you should always know how much money you've got in all your accounts.

Extra credit: Set your overdraft limit to $0 and your debit card won't be allowed to overdraft your account. True, you could bounce a check. But if you're running your household like a business and balancing your checkbook regularly, that shouldn't ever be a problem. Consider using money management software to help manage your finances more closely.

3. You don't understand the difference between a want and a need.

One of the biggest impediments to getting your financial house in order is the inability to properly distinguish discretionary and nondiscretionary expenses (otherwise known as wants and needs).

Extra credit: Understand that when taken down to the most basic level, all of us have only four or five primary needs. Those needs are food/water, clothing, shelter, transportation, and health care. Everything else is a want.

4. You don't know how much money you spend.

It's pretty simple: The amount you save is the difference between how much you make and how much you spend. But it's tough to save anything if you don't know how much you can afford to save. That's why it's important to take a critical look at your expenses so you know exactly how much money you are spending.

Extra credit: Audit your expenses by writing down everything you spend your money on for a couple of months. The trick is to be as detailed as possible. Try to capture even the smallest purchases. Here is a budget worksheet to help get you started.

5. Your tastes exceed your spending capability.

Understand that this is not a problem so much as an excuse. Kind of like my son arguing that he's getting an F in his PE class because the teacher doesn't like him. When your expensive tastes starts impacting your ability to save, you're in for trouble.

Extra credit: If your tastes exceed your budget, ratchet them down a notch or three and stop making lame excuses.

6. You can't say no.

Many people do understand the difference between wants and needs, but they have trouble saying no anyway. Being able to say no is a crucial skill in the world of personal finance. Those who can't will always have the most trouble keeping their personal finances on an even keel.

Extra credit: Master the art of saying no.

7. You're an impulse shopper.

Impulse buying is a nasty habit that can best be cured by careful planning.

Extra credit: Establish a household budget. Before going out to shop, know exactly how much you will be spending at each establishment. Make a shopping list before you go to the supermarket or the mall. In short, think before you buy.

8. You worry about what others think about you.

People who worry about what others think of them suffer from a desire to keep up with the Joneses. There are many reasons why people do this, including: the urge to advertise their success in life (be it real or imagined), the desire to have what others have, and instant gratification. Whatever the reason, once they reach the checkout counter, they tend to ignore this little slice of reality: Unlike the Joneses, they probably can't afford it.

Here's the original article.

Yahoo Picks

I'm gonna start a new category on this blog called Yahoo picks. It'll practically consists of articles I find useful taken from the yahoo homepage. No plagiarism intended, just sharing. Sharing is caring, after all :)

It helps me in that I get to put on something interesting and worthwhile on my blog without having to think much into it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Perihal Mat Indera

Whose this Mat Indera guy people have so been talking about lately, ever since Mat Sabu raised the issue in a ceramah a couple of weeks back?

People have been talking, saying that Mat Indera was responsible for the Bukit Kepong attack. I knew a bit about Bukit Kepong, from the movie by Jin Shamsudin. I knew that in the movie, a police station was attacked by some bad ass communist guerrilla. But that's really all I knew. Honestly, I initially had no clue that Mat Indera ever existed!

Bukit Kepong, the movie

So amid all the issue highlighted by Utusan and KJ, I decided to read some history about this guy. Here's a photo of him.

Bad ass or hero?

Read more of the story of Mat Indera here, here and here. For those of you too lazy to do so, here's a brief knockdown.

Mat Indera, or his real name, Muhammad Indera is a descendent of a worrier from Siak. Apparently, he was said to be a religious person, being a Hafiz as well, and his teachers, among others were Kiai Haji Fadzil Bentan and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's father.

He became involved with politics to help drive out the Brits from Malaya and joined Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM, lead by Dr. Burhanuddin Helmy- another name that was only mentioned in passing in our textbooks) and Angkatan Pemuda Insaf (API). Probably inspired by the Indonesians in their fight for independence from the Dutch (using primitive weapons like bamboo spears), Mat Indera took his battle into the woods, guerrilla style. That's where he met Bintang Tiga. Even though both parties had different missions, as the saying goes, 'the enemy of your enemy is your friend' Mat Indera soon joined forces with Bintang Tiga.

Aware of the threat posed by Mat Indera, the Brits wanted him, DOA. They set about spreading rumours and propaganda about the man, saying he was a dangerous communist man with no religion and moral values, and they offered $25000 for his capture.

Then came the Bukit Kepong incident. Some say he didn't authorize the killing of the police officers, let alone burning of their dead bodies (he had just wanted to catch some of the officers). Some say that he arrived late at the battle field, and wasn't involved in the fight. Others claimed that he tried to prevent the killings of the police officers, going as far as pointing a rifle at a communist member to stop him from humiliating the dead. And some claimed that he even helped some of the officers escape.

After the incident, his bounty rose to $75000. Finally, the Brits caught some of Mat Indera's men and collaborated with them to capture Mat Indera, promising them land and wealth. Mat Indera was caught and hanged to death in 1953. An end to yet another freedom fighter.

There lies a hero- Tok Janggut

If you look closely at the story of Mat Indera and how it was portrayed by the Brits, there's vast similarities with that of Datuk Maharajalela, Mat Kilau, Datuk Bahaman, Abdul Rahman Limbong and Tok Janggut (see above). Tok Janggut also fought and killed Malay police officers and soldiers who sided with the Brits (scumbags), and he was portrayed by the Brits as a rebel and traitor to the Sultan of Kelantan. When Tok Janggut was finally killed, his body was humiliated to the highest degree by being paraded all over town and then hung upside down for all to see. You can read his story here and here. And for all that, what did out text book portray him as? Read below, an extract from Buku Teks Sejarah Tingkatan 5 (KBSM).

Yet another selfish Malay noble man who didn't want to pay the taxes?

Was that really all in Tok Janggut's fight? He didn't want to pay taxes? Lost of political powers and influence? Is that really how we want to remember him as?

Are these stories of traitors or freedom fighters? History is written by those in power. Wallahualam.

That's a Big Croc!

See below.

Thats a big croc!
That's surely a big crocodile. The salt water crocodile, measuring 6.4m and weighing 1075kg was captured in a village in Southern Philippines. It took some 100 people to pull the beast. I'd imagine even the late crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin would have a hard time taming it! Read about it here.

The site of the big croc reminded me of news I read a few years back, when an 11 year old shot and killed a giant hog.

They should make a movie: Giant Croc vs. Giant Hog. That'll sell
I wonder what they eat to grow that big.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fasting Footballers

This is a very good read from The Independent about Muslim soccer players observing the month of Ramadhan and at the same time, playing a high level of competitive soccer. Very inspiring!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In Pursuit of Lailatul Qadr

We are now entering the last 4 or five days of Ramadhan. Tonight's the 25th night, which is an odd night. Then we have the 27th and 29th nights. So that means we have 3 more odd nights. It may proof to be futile to speculate when the night really is. It may be nice and cool at your place, but then all rainy and thunder storming at mine. Or cold and freezing at another.

So lets just do our utmost and strive to find this night of 1000 months.

A Wedding Photo

I was Googling my name and found this. Thanks Hamidians0004!

The date though, is a bit wrong. It should be 29/05/11

Monday, August 22, 2011


I'm not an economist.

I'm not a player in the stock market.

I'm not an agent of anything trying to get a commission from what I'm about to tell you.

I work as a forensic engineer to make ends meet.

And I admit I'm not really good at this field subject (i barely made it out of my micro and macro economics class alive!).

But here's my word of advice. In this downward moving and unpredictable economy we're in now, invest in anything GOLD. As of today, gold price is in access of $1880/ounce. Thats more than RM200/g. Utterly Ridiculous.

I started investing in Kelantan gold dinars last October. They're definitely nice to look at (see above photo). I bought a couple for RM580 each back in October 2010. You know what a dinar costs now? RM850! But good luck getting them, peeps. They're a tough catch.

Get the latest gold and dinar prices here and here.

Gaddafi Out!

The Battle for Libya is drawing its conclusion after a six month battle beginning last February. The capital, Tripoli, was claimed to be under the control of the rebels on 22nd August 2011, or formally known as the National Transitional Coalition. The end of Col. Muammar Gaddafi is definitely near. Read more here and here or any other news agency. Here's a good read from the NYTimes.

Good job Libya!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Misconceptions Regarding the Story of Yusuf

I remember a few months back when I was shopping for my wedding invitation cards and looking at samples, a du'a and a 'catch phrase' caught my attention.

The du'a was:

"Ya Allah, Satukanlah hati kedua mempelai ini seperti Engkau satukan hati Adam dan Hawa, Yusuf dan Zulaikha dan seperti Engkau satukan hati Muhammad SAW dan Siti Khadijah."

The catch phrase was:

Tidak perlu mencari secantik Balqis, andai diri tak sehebat Sulaiman.
Mengapa mengharap teman setampan Yusuf, jika kasih tak setulus Zulaika
Tak perlu mengharap teman seteguh Ibrahim, andai diri tak sehebat Siti Hajar
Dan mengapa didambakan teman hidup yang sempurna Muhammad, jika ada keburukan pada diri.....

Those phrases were undoubtedly catchy and romantic, and would seem to sit perfectly well in a wedding card. Problem was, in my limited knowledge, I never knew that Yusuf (pbuh) married Zulaika.

And as yesterday I was reading Surah Yusuf, I decided to read the seerah of this prophet a bit more, particularly the part about him and Zulaika. So lets take a brief look into this story.

For starters, there is no mention, what so ever, of the name Zulaika in the Quran, with the only women being mentioned by name is Maryam, mother of Isa (pbuh). In the Quran, what is mentioned is 'the wife of the Al-Aziz (ruler). So where did this name, Zulaika come from? Most say its from isra'iliyyat's traditions but then a quick glance at Wikipedia says that the Bible simply mentions her name as the Potiphar's wife. Allah knows best.

The first part of the story of Yusuf (pbuh) and The Al-Aziz's wife is narrated in the Quran from verse 21 to verse 33. It starts with the Al-Aziz buying Yusuf (pbuh) and introduced him to his wife. He asks his wife to receive Yusuf honorably and that they might find him useful or even adopt him as a son. The story continues with the wife inviting Yusuf unto herself and commit adultery. Yusuf (pbuh) rejects her advances and tries to reason with her, saying that the Al-Aziz had treated him honorably and that wrong doers never prosper.

And Allah said, "She verily desired him and he would have desired her if it had not been that he saw the argument of his Lord." and "...Lo! he was of Our chosen slaves."

When the Al-Aziz discovers his wife's bad intentions (even after she pleads her innocence), he asks that Yusuf (pbuh) forgets about the incident and that his wife ask for forgiveness for her sin.

But alas, in such high society were gossips and rumours tend to spread faster than forest fires (yup, even back then!), the women in the city learned about the incident. And when the wife heard of this, she wanted to make a point and called upon the women to her palace for a feast and gave them fruits and knives to cut the fruits with. Then she called upon Yusuf to enter the room. Stricken by Yusuf's beauty, the women cut their own fingers and went as far as to claim that "...This is not other than some gracious angel." The women made advances towards Yusuf, which lead to Yusuf praying, "O my Lord! Prison is more dear than that unto which they urge me, and if Thou fend not off their wiles from me, I shall incline unto them and become of the foolish."

The second part of the story is narrated from verse 50 to verse 53 of the same surah. When the king of Egypt requested that Yusuf be brought to him, Yusuf asked the king inquire about the incident with the women who cut their hands. So the king summoned the ladies and asked about the incident. The wife of the Al-Aziz then proclaimed, "...Now the truth is out. I asked of him an evil act, and he is surely of the truthful.....I do not exculpate myself. Lo! the (human) soul enjoineth unto evil, save that whereon my Lord hath mercy. Lo! my Lord is Forgiving, Merciful."

That was the end of the mention of Yusuf and the Al-Aziz's wife. No where did the Quran mention about Yusuf (pbuh) later marrying the woman. Nor was it mentioned in any Hadith. So where is this Romeo and Juliet-esque love story coming from? Allah knows best.

With regards to this wife of the Al-Aziz, was she an evil person? Lets put ourselves in her boots. She was wife to a very important person in the Egyptian hierarchy, a very busy man. She was probably most of the times alone in the house, with only the ever so beautiful Yusuf (pbuh). So beautiful was Yusuf that the prophet Muhammad once said, “When I met Yusuf (pbuh), I saw that Allah (swt) has blessed him with half of the beauty of the whole world, while the other half has been spread over the rest of it.” (Sahih Muslim).

And if the two decided to commit that sinful act, they could've easily concealed it from everyone's knowledge. Temptations could bring the worse of mankind. That was what the wife thought. But it was not to be for Yusuf was a prophet.

As narrated in the second part of the story, the wife later acknowledged her sins and asked Allah for forgiveness. And Allah is most forgiving. So that is that. Wallahualam.

For more reading, go to here, here, here and here.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Silver Lining

We were first taken aback by reports that after the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Japanese people were still following social order albeit their ordeals. They were very calm, patiently waited in lines to buy necessities (even though for hours), they shared unselfishly with others, voluntarily cut back on electricity and gasoline, and no one looted. These are stark differences to scenes observed in other disaster struck places like Acheh, Haiti and even the 'western' New Orleans.

And now, some five months after the disaster, Japanese police claim that $78 million of missing cash have been turned in. The Japs have sent the standard for ethical awareness.

We Malaysians, have a loooong way to go. Remember this image?

This was from a report in The Star of a road accident involving a truck carrying coins in Melaka. After the accident, in which coins were strewn onto the highway, motorist stopped their vehicles on the side of the highway to collect the coins. And they were not collected to be returned to the owners, even after the owners pleaded. You can read the report at the link above. And we're not talking about 100 ringgit notes, or 10 ringgit notes or heck, 1 ringgit notes. These are just 10, 20 and 50 sen. That's how cheap we are. And judging from the photograph, most of them were Malays, Muslims. We should be ashamed.

Its about time we stop adopting just the J-pop, K-pop, culture and dramas from those countries in the East. Its time we adopt their moral values, as well.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Crossing Roads

When I was little, I was taught in school the way to cross the road is by looking your left first, then your right, then to your left again.

I didn't know that was the case also in Malaysia. I came upon twice in the radio, yesterday and today, when the DJs said to look left, right and then left again which left me puzzled. Malaysia is left hand traffic (as opposed to the US right hand traffic) so why would you look to your left twice, when the car coming from the right is approaching you faster??

What me thinks is that this is just another foolish and at face value acceptance of things in the western world. sigh..

Sunday, January 2, 2011

P90X Final Results

So officially, I finished my second round of P90X. I was quite consistent doing the program for the past 90 days, waking up as early as 6.30am in the morning to exercise. I usually won't have much time otherwise. But there were of course my days of slack, were I skipped routines, ate junk, etc, especially towards the end of the program.

Here are my results:

Body Fat: 11.8%
Weight: 135lbs
Chest: 35.5'
Waist: 30'
Hips: 36.5'
Thigh: 20/20'
Arm: 13/13.5

Overall, I'm quite happy with my results.

So whats next? Another round, MAYBE!