Thursday, March 27, 2008

On Equity and Fairness

In view of my impending dictatorship, some plans and thoughts have to be trashed out first so that the future implementation is as smooth as possible.

A friend of mine drew my attention to an article in the Star that he penned (okay so at least the paper is not all propoganda) regarding scholarships for rich kids. Incidentally, I had been contemplating (yes this is how I fill up my free time) on the same issue but on a more general scale.

There have been many calls by various quarters over the years in our country to award education scholarships/university places based on meritocracy. As much as it seems a wonderful and just idea, on closer inspection it's not so simple as giving you your place cause you have a couple more A's.

What meritocracy assumes (and champions) is that we all have equal opportunities. Most people would see "equal opportunities" as you getting your chance because you "deserve" it, i.e. you have better results.

However, it is also important then, to consider whether all of us had equal opportunities right from the start. Reality is, we don't. Some of us have good parents, some of us have no parents, some are poor, some are rich, some are better academically, some have better teachers etc. So strictly speaking "meritocracy" doesn't exist.

So now one questions. Is it fair then to compare and allocate university places or scholarships (as far as govt sponsored scholarships as a public service) solely based on one's academic results? If not, how then do we decide?

What irks me most nowadays are students from well to do families complaining night and day about fairness and equality when they don't get a scholarship. They need a reality check. Firstly, scholarships are a privilledge, not a right. It's not stated in the Malaysian constitution that you will get that scholarship because you scored more A's than another person. Secondly, they would do well to consider other families who struggle to send their kid to high school, let alone Uni before they decide to start ranting about equality.

That unnecessary rant aside, there needs to be a way to recognize the talents of different people, ensuring that they are not handicapped by their circumstance. Also needed is a way to draw out those talents from within them, and giving them a platform to express themselves.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


April 7th is the date of an extremely important but annoying 6 hour actuarial exam for me. Since the turn of the year, I've been slaving away studying ridiculous amounts of material to prepare for the exam. But even after all that if I take the paper right now the odds are still extremely bleak.

Today is the first day that I actually woke up and felt that I've run out of steam. There's just something that kinda puts you off when despite slaving your ass for so long you are nowhere close to completion in the preparation of the exam paper.

This qualified actuarial salary better be worth the annoyance.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tommy Emmanuel

He just makes you want to play guitar.

Talk about inspiration.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dictatorship plan is back on

And after that totally random post on programming, its back to the elections.

Just as the swearing in of the Perak MB has been called off for today (I lazy to link, go read any of the online newspaper sites), I have subsequently reignited my quest for my dictatorship.

Over the last few days, we've seen how fragile things can be in this country. Especially when our politicians are involved. Let's take the opposition for example. Right after denying BN two thirds majority, they act as if they are the new superheroes and saviours of the country. Worse still now, within a week we've seen all sorts of undermining, squabbling for seats, backstabbing, rumours of rallies to claim the deputy MBs post etc.

Muppets. Don't they realize that the votes in the last election was not for them but rather against the existing government? They just happen to be in power in a few places now by default. I was slowly being persuaded over that these people are sincere in their quest for a better Malaysia, but all that it looks like now is that their all power hungry idiots who put themselves first before anything. How the royal family of Perak has the patience to put up with all this nonsense about the MBs post and the state exco line is beyond me. I have serious respect for them (royal family of Perak), because if I were them I'd just kick out the whole lot and rule the state myself.

Fortunately for them, the ruling coalition (ie our dear friends BN) can't do much about it at the moment since they are all fighting for their own individual political survival. MCA is having infighting (nothing new), UMNO is also infighting (also nothing new) , and let's not even get started about MIC. So lots of mudslinging going around at the moment everywhere, and the best part is its internal.

This country is seriously in need of a few good men. We need some proper leaders.

Maybe we should all just have Sultan Azlan Shah & family to rule the nation for now. They seem the most level headed and respected people around.

Or maybe I should just run for dictator.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

me and programming, it's a love hate thing

Away from the europhia of the elections....

One of the nice things about my job is that I get to use whatever approach (within reasonable limits) I want to do my work.

So occasionally when I get bored of writing reports (which is actually, very often), I usually muck around a bit doing other stuff. One of them of which is building spreadsheets with macros and all.

The VBA I learnt (or didn't learn) back in Uni days seems like a lifetime ago. All I remember about those classes was a huge dark hall, comfy chair, droning voice of my lecturer and a lot of sleep. Which resulted in me not really knowing squat about VBA.

Nonetheless, my construction skills learnt from many hours of playing Lego when I was a kid was revived when I started poking around a VBA module again. And I gotta admit, its quite fun (hardcoregeek alert!). The many hours spent staring a stupid code that spouts out error messages, causes excel to hang in the middle of 10000 simulations (which is happening as I type), and then finding out that there was not much point in simulating that part of the data, and finally scrapping the whole thing... so ... so... headexploding.

But its worth it when it finally works. *smirk*

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Living in historic times

As far as Malaysians are concerned, we are.

Last night's election results were -if there's such a word- "tsunamical". Mind blowing in fact. Anyways, lets just recall the day bit by bit.

It was my first time voting, and naturally with everything that has been going on the past week -eg opposition ceramah's gathering up to 10000 ppl- everyone knew that this was not going to be just another election, but a rather pivotal one. And I, was ridiculously excited. So early morning 10am I marched off to the nearby polling station, and well, I was caught totally unawares of what I saw there.


Just a handful of people. In my mind I had always imagined it to be packed, with ppl screaming for you to vote their party as you approach the place, flags, hats, everything. But this was just quiet. So much so that I completely forgot about my earlier plans to take a few photos. The whole process took like 3 mins, go in, get your slip, X marks the party, insert into ballot boxes, and the end. Kthxbai go home.

So go home we did. And chilled for the rest of the day, talked a bit of politics with my tailor who came by to hand me some stuff that I made, and then waited. Till night.

To say that I am happy with the results is an understatement (for those of you who have no idea what happened, for the first time in 40 years, the opposition parties in Malaysia managed to reduce the ruling coalition's 2/3 majority). As most people are. No one had expected such a result, not even the opposition parties.

And for the ignorant, don't get me wrong. I'm no anti establishment person (unlike some muppet datuk on the tv3 interview who tried to fan some racial flames by saying the chinese in Penang are an ungrateful lot etc...until later they found out that selangor, perak and kedah -predominantly majority malay states- had also fallen to the opposition, and had nothing to say. In your face foo!), or anti malay or whatever. This is a victory for democracy, where previously they could change and amend the constitution as and when they like, but now no more. Finally after so many years there finally is a form of check and balance in the Malaysian parliament, and more importantly for Malaysia, a hope for multiracial politics, where we are no longer defined by skin colour, but are all Malaysians.

edit: I found out the name of the racist muppet. Let's name him and shame him. Malaysia has no place for people like him. He's no dato, but he is as stated by Malaysiakini (in an article by Neil Khor entitled "DAP must rise above race now"):

"....On the national front, these gains can quickly turn sour if we allow certain racist elements to dominate the airwaves. Already Zainal Kling, emeritus professor at UPSI (Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris), deliberately explained the electoral results through a racist lens. He was on TV3 throughout the election results night refusing the accept the reality that Malaysians have rejected the BN's race-based formula in Penang, Kedah, Kelantan, Perak and Selangor. Most of these states have a overwhelming Malay majority..."


So here's to a better Malaysia.

And to make things even better:

Man U 0 Portsmouth 1
Barnsley 1 Chelsea 0


This has been one heck of a weekend I tell you.

Friday, March 07, 2008


For our country.

Tomorrow we vote. Tomorrow we decide.

Let's vote for a better Malaysia, for a better future.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

We interrupt this election season for a short commercial break......


Football makes the world a better place. Especially when your team wins XD

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Anwar Ibrahim

While many will argue he's not a saint and might have a hidden agenda or two, I tell you, he's one heck of an orator. Give him a listen and see what I mean.

Man I tell you, the internet rocks.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

And the Pursuit of a Better Future

March 8th baby.

If you are eligible to vote but aren't eligible because you didn't register, smack yourself on the head for being a muppet. And be ashamed of yourself.

And if you are registered and can vote, make that trip to the polling station, and vote.

We love Malaysia!