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Showing posts from 2012

Are you ready for Sri Lanka?

SRI LANKA wants YOU! Yes, YOU ... the traveller. And the longer you stay on the island, the better it would be for the country's fledgling tourism industry.

The end of the 30-year-old civil war in the country in May 2009 resulted in more tourist arrivals to Serendib (the origin of the word "serendipity"), as the Arabs called it in the ancient past.When the Portuguese arrived in 1505, they named it Ceilao, which was transliterated into English as Ceylon.

Tourism officials predict high numbers of visitors from abroad, notably India and China, in the future.

Tourist arrivals reportedly "grew by an impressive 50 per cent or an increase to 160,000 from 106,000 visitors in the first quarter of 2010, compared to 2009".

The downside of rising/increased tourism has generated debate as this website indicates. The concerns are valid. The rights of locals and proper care of the environment must be high on the list of priorities when tourism officials plan for the industry…

I can't write -- I'm stuck

I hit a mental block recently and found myself unable to produce a decent post. As you can see my last piece was published on May 3, this year.

A conversation with a good friend, who is also a journalist, compelled me to rethink my situation. Until our discussion on the times when we were unable to produce original work, I was quite happy to let 2012 pass without writing anything for this blog.

But Suzanna Pillay would not allow me to dwell on my current lack of enthusiasm for writing. She goaded me into action and here I am. Thank you SP!

The best place to start is to read about other people's experiences in overcoming mental blocks. I chanced upon these two websites (see below) which offer tips to those who often find themselves stuck.

1. 10 ways to overcome mental blocks and boost creativity

2. Do you recognise these 10 mental blocks to creative thinking?


'Nayati is back home with us'

Kidnapped boy, Nayati Shamelin Moodliar, is back with his family. It was an emotional reunion after seven days of sleepless nights. Click here for more. See also this report.

'We want our son back'

See also this report.

More here.

Please return this boy to his parents

“Early this morning, 27 April 2012, Nayati Shamelin Moodliar was abducted a short distance from the Mont’Kiara International School. A police report has been filed, but his whereabouts are still unknown. If you have seen this child, please call the Malaysian Police on 999, or the school on 03 2093 8604. Please spread the message.”

Update: “In the abduction of student Nayati Shamelin Moodliar in Mont’Kiara, the auto used was a black Proton Gen 2. The tag number is WNH 1356. There were two Indian male occupants."

Telok Chempedak in the morning

Journalist and guest blogger Jehan Mohd was recently in Kuantan for the kick off of the fifth season of the RHB New Straits Times National Spell-It-Right Challenge. On the last day there, she took a trip to Telok Chempedak to catch the sunrise. Little did she expect to see an entire colony of monekys playing on the deserted beach. Her account and photos below.

I've always had an affinity for the beach and the sea. Being based in landlocked Kuala Lumpur, I tend to go a little nuts whenever I do get to go to a beach. So when I was assigned to cover the SIR Challenge in Kuantan, I immediately thought that the beach was a definite stop I had to make.

And that's how I came to be at Telok Chempedak at sunrise on my last morning in Kuantan.

After ooh-ing and aah-ing and taking loads of photos, we decided to head back at about 8am - and that's when we encountered the monkey residents of Telok Chempedak. Being early on a weekday, the beach was deserted except for a mother and youn…

Protect our parents from elder abuse

All's well that ends well. At least that was how Harian Metro, the number one Malay tabloid in Malaysia, portrayed it.

Amir Mohd Omar, who abandoned his paralysed mother to the care of strangers at a budget hotel at Jalan Raja Muda Musa, Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur, has accepted a job offer from an entrepreneur and Malaysians have high expectations regarding his filial duty.

Would he be able to hold it together this time and not crack under the strain of managing his day-to-day life which includes looking after his aging mother?

I would like to think that he would do the right thing now.

Anti-Amir sentiment ran high when the public read that he had walked away from his physically incapacitated mother, Faridah Maulud, 66,  after checking her into the hotel.

His distraught mother was discovered by hotel staff a few days later when they found out that he didn't pay the hotel bill. Her gut-wrenching photo on the front page of the tabloid touched many readers of the newspaper incl…

Guest Post: When love and hate collide

Having just sunk a third of her monthly salary into a new mobile phone, guest blogger Jehan Mohd ponders its prominence in today's world.

People have a strange attachment to their mobile phones - it's a relationship of epic proportions.

Look around and you will notice more than a handful of people with their eyes stuck on a small screen as their fingers are busy tapping away on the flat surface or a mini keyboard.
It is not unusual to see individuals interacting with their phones more than with the people they are actually out with, or for audience members to be more engrossed in whatever is on the small screen than on the big one in the cinema or in the live action happening on stage in a concert or play.
But I digress. The whole point of the preceding paragraph was to show how close people can be to their handheld devices. I have to admit that I am too (but not to the point where I forget to enjoy real life as it happens in front of me). I've owned mobile phones since I …

It ain't over till the sleeping cat awakens

This cat was spotted just a few doors down from Hillside Corner, a lovely little eatery in Bukit Antarabangsa in Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia.

We were heading for a dinner party at the famous Hillside Corner when journalist Jehan Mohd noticed this stray cat sleeping soundly just a few doors away from the restaurant. Being a photography freak and having a new camera phone (more on this in another post) that she wanted to try out, she stopped to snap this picture.

She says: "It just looked so peaceful and cute that I couldn't help myself. I thought that it would make a good picture because of its surroundings."

This cat seems quite at home in the area - aside from a delicious menu that includes fantastic carrot cake and the most delicious nachos, Hillside Corner is also a haven for all sorts of cat-themed decorations from paintings and figurines to calendars and card holders. See pictures below to get an idea of what I mean:


(Disclaimer: the colours did not originally come …

The friend within

People generally say unkind things about single females and males. "Something must be wrong with him/her," is one example. My favourite is: "You're too choosy." My friend Rabiaa Dani says the first thing they utter is "I am sorry" when she tells nosey parkers that she is single. Her standard reply: "Don't be. I am not!"
Singles are considered an anomaly, women and men deserving of pity and help. People who think that have yet to realise that "the most profound relationship" that they will ever have is the one with themselves (Shirley MacLaine). Marriage is not for everyone but even those who have found marital bliss will discover that sometimes "they have to stand alone to prove that they can still stand" (source unknown).

There are times when singles feel very lonely but those who are truly evolved go to sleep secure in the knowledge that they are their own best friends as Aristotle eloquently puts it: "He is h…

Someone Like You ... By Suzie

No alcohol in coke, says PR man

This report alleges that Coca-Cola contains alcohol. But Coca-Cola Malaysia's public affairs and communications director Kadri Taib refutes the allegation and says that alcohol is not an ingredient and no fermentation takes place during the manufacture of the drink.



Click here for the full report.

He's heavy, he's the camp commandant!

Mohamed, my 17-year-old nephew, came home for a few days from National Service camp during the Chinese New Year holidays. He had been at the camp (somewhere in Malaysia) for three weeks then and the boyish enthusiasm bubbling up inside him was apparent. He shared his experiences -- good and bad -- with relatives who were curious to see how he had got on at the camp with other "wira (heroes) and wirawati (heroines), as the participants are called.

Mohamed was positive about his time there expect for one thing: he could not understand why the camp commandant -- a Major in the Malaysian army -- is overweight and unfit.

Mohamed and his mates had expected to see a military man with the physique of an athlete ala "Will Smith". Instead, they saw a fatty who seemed a likely candidate for The Biggest Loser programme. And the two officers who came together with the commandant were similarly heavy and seriously in need of regular hard workouts. Mohamed and his friends exchanged gl…

Without money, food and other things

The homeless are everywhere. Sometimes I see them walking the sidewalks of the less glamorous parts of Kuala Lumpur city. I caught two sleeping on a pavement opposite the bus station at Puduraya. I don't think about them all the time but they are on my radar screen.

I saw them again recently at the area behind Tune Hotel at Medan Tuanku. I had accompanied a photojournalist friend who wanted to take pictures for a magazine of members of PERTIWI Soup Kitchen serving meals to the homeless and hungry. The NGO does this on a regular basis and visit various locations around Kuala Lumpur distributing food and drink to the needy.







A long queue of homeless people built up as soon as PERTIWI volunteers set up tables for the soup kitchen. Women and men quietly waited for their turn to take their food and drink. Those who have received theirs smiled in appreciation and disappeared to their favourite spots in the immediate vicinity to enjoy their rations.

They were also given hygiene packs, co…

Guest Post: Moderate or Wasatiyyah: Can we make up our mind?

The New Straits Times published an article entitled "Malaysia has a gift for the world" on 16 December 2011. It was written by Distinguished Professor Dato' Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, Founding Director of the Institute of Ethnic Studies (KITA) at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), and Deputy Chair, National Professors Council of Malaysia (MPN).
He has allowed me to reproduce the full text of his paper from which the newspaper article was pruned. Please see below.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Shamsul Amri Baharuddin


Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak introduced his idea of a “Global Movement of the Moderates” (GMM) in his speech at the UN General Assembly, New York on 27 September 2010.


As he put it:
“…Across all religions we have inadvertently allowed the ugly voices of the periphery to drown out the many voices of reason and common sense. I therefore urge us to embark on building a ‘Global Movement of the …