Thursday, March 20, 2008

Election Musings

Shortly after our political tsunami, I discovered an interesting fact about the parliamentary elections. If we only look at parliament seats in West Malaysia, the score is actually 86 vs 80 between BN and BR. Six seats!

What saved the BN in PRU12 was effectively Sabah and Sarawak. I complained to my wife why, despite years of neglect and bullying by the Federal Govt, East Malaysia still chose to throw their support behind BN. I then painted a tantalizing scenario where the East Malaysians also decide they had enough and decide to defect to BR.

Well, it turns they are thinking of it :) See here and here.

This could be the end of our country as we know it, and the birth of a new era.

Future of Broadcasting

I have seen the future of broadcasting, and Astro should be very, very afraid.

About a month ago, I was back in my wife's home in Kluang, which had no broadband and no ESPN/Star Sports. Arsenal was going to play MU that night, so I came up with a plan.

I've heard of online sports broadcasts on the Net. So, step 1, I subscribed to Celcom's Daily Broadband (8 bucks). Next, I hooked up my PDA to my notebook. I started surfing the net for online broadcasts.

I ended up downloading something called SOPCast.

I ran it.

A list of channels came out.

My hands shaking with excitement, I clicked on the Star Sports channel.

After a 30 second wait........I was watching the match. Live. On my notebook, hooked to a PDA accessing a 3.5G network to link to the Internet.

As Arsenal began to lose badly, the number of peers started dropping, and the stream began to get jerky.

SOPCast is actually a peer-to-peer internet tv system, and works very much like BitTorrent. Which means the quality of the stream very much depends on how many peers are there sharing the same channel.

As broadband becomes more commonplace all over the world and the pipes get bigger, in the future, will we still be watching tv as we know it?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Groundhog Day (Again)

Some of you may remember me mentioning the movie Groundhog Day in my previous posts and also on my Facebook profile.

Tonight, the movie suddenly occurred to me again and I googled it up while I reflected on what I saw 15 years ago.

Yes, its been that long since I first saw the film. In June 1993, I had just finished my second year uni exams, and was feeling a bit depressed after struggling through some of the papers. It was at Cannon cinema in Belfast, which has since been overtaken by MGM a few streets away.

As I walked out of the cinema that afternoon, I told myself that I must always strive to remember that each day is unique and precious, that I will never be able to go through that day again, and that I have the power to make it a good day or a bad day for everyone that I encounter.

About five thousand days have elapsed since that day, and I felt a bit despondent realizing that more often that not, I have forgotten those thoughts.

The other realization came when I read a blog entry by the scriptwriter of the movie and the comments left by a guy who wrote a self improvement book based on the movie.

That realization was, again sadly, that although in many ways I had changed, there are also many things which have still remained much the same, and some things which have in fact went backwards.

Those of you who know my age will probably say by this point - "Pat's having a mid-life crisis" :)

. . . . . . . . . .

In more ways than we realize, our days do bear more than a passing resemblance to the ones that Phil in the movie went through. We stumble through our busy lives, the days whizzing by in a blur of frantic activities. Try this: can you remember everything you did last Wednesday? Or what you ate for lunch three days ago?

Perhaps if each one of us can take a little time each day to pause and reflect, rather than rush headlong into the day the moment we wake up and collapse into bed at the end of it, then we may achieve a little of what Phil achieved at the end of the movie.

If you have felt a little depressed yourself after reading this, fear not. As Scarlett O'Hara said, after all, tomorrow is another day :) As you wake up tomorrow morning, remember Phil.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

It Finally Happened

Just when I thought I would never see a change in the Malaysian political landscape in my lifetime, it finally happened.

What a sweet moment it was.

Ever since I became politically aware during my teenage years in the 80's, I sensed something was wrong with the Malaysian system.

One day in 1987 when I went out to buy my daily papers, I was surprised to see that The Star has disappeared from the newstands and the remaining papers mentioned something called "Operation Lalang". I began to read Aliran to find out what was going on.

In 1988, the UMNO crisis and the subsequent Salleh Abbas case shook my faith in the government.

When 1990 came around, I was hoping Razaleigh would be able to break the 2/3 stranglehold BN had on the parliament, but they missed the opportunity.

In the 90's politics took a backseat as everyone was too busy making money from the economic boom.

In 1999 some quarters were spooked by the prospect of an Islamic state, and the expected change again did not materialise despite Keadilan, etc.

On 8th March 2008, the silent majority of Malaysia finally decided that they had enough.

It was not just the Chinese and Indians. The Malays had a voter swing, too.

My Malay colleague gave me a knowing smile on Friday when she reminded me to be a good citizen on election day. I realised later what she meant when the results came out - she had driven all the way to Kedah with her kids to vote. It was a touching representation of the silent majority who have finally decided to do their part for the good of the country.

To all those who are trying to analyse the loss, especially the folks from BN, I have this message for you. Don't bother looking into what the opposition did or what the BN did wrong or did not do, tactics, local issues, etc.

It's not about you.

It's about us.

We, the silent majority, have finally spoken. Please don't continue to be so self-centred, and REALLY listen to us for a change.

Friday, March 07, 2008

What is it all about, really?

I originally intended NOT to do a post about Malaysian Elections 2008, but I was lost in deep thought this morning as I was driving to work and listening to the slick BN radio adverts that had been broadcasting for the past one week.

As I listened to the advert guy intone in Mandarin on the radio "What are we voting for? We are voting for peace, security and prosperity. Vote for Malaysia", I suddenly felt a surge of anger within me.

How dare they equate voting for BN with voting for Malaysia, I thought.

I am actually pretty torn this time round. Back in 1999, the first time I voted, I went anti-establishment just for the heck of it. But in 2004, I bought into the vision and promises that Pak Lah made, and made my vote an endorsement of him. Heck, I didn't even notice the candidates' names, all I cared about was putting the big X next to the scales.

Now, four years later, a lot has happened. And there is a sense of betrayal. Yes, the economic numbers don't lie. But beyond that, there is gnawing feeling that we are on the wrong track.

Why? Could it be because of our leaders are too short-sighted to care about the next generation, and only interested in enriching the present? Could it be because we are squandering our wealth away? Could it be because there is a distinct lack of respect by some of us for each other, and lack of acknowledgment of each person's contribution to the nation, regardless of the skin colour? Could it be because after 4 years, much still remains the same? Could it be because our leaders lacked the courage and conviction to do the right thing for the good of the nation, regardless of vested interests?

As I was nearing my office, I realized what I really wanted. Our leaders have become too smug.

I want accountability.

The alternatives are not palatable by any measure, but I would rather we have someone who can speak up for accountability than someone who just tries to get some goodies for us. We are all citizens of Malaysia. Aren't we all entitled to the fruits of our labour, instead of electing someone to beg for it?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A Good Day

Today started off a little earlier than usual for me. For some reason I woke up with a start at 4.30 am. Remembering the Arsenal-Milan match, of which I had a dreaded sense of foreboding due to Arsenal's uninspiring performance during the weekend, I switched on my PDA and connected to the BBC website.

"0-0", blinked the screen. MU was already 1 up against Lyon in the other match. I sighed and went back to sleep.

5.00 am -- "0-0" Sigh. Looks like its going to be one of those matches again.

7.00 am -- "0-2" Hooray!!!

At 12 noon I dropped by the CNN website. Clinton wins Ohio. My heart skips a beat. If Mrs. Clinton going to pull another one similar to the one his husband did in 1992? 3 pm - Clinton wins Texas. Hooray again!!!

5.30 pm -- got an email from one of my staff. A difficult technical problem that had been blocking the team is finally solved. Yipee!!!

8.00 pm -- got hold of my favourite magazine Empire at IOI Mall Popular.

9.00 pm -- Wife and daughter greets me at the door.

Yep, its been a good day :)

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