Sunday, April 03, 2011


For your listening pleasure.

Radio Free Sarawak.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Young scientists

Classics from kids:

Here are some interesting interpretations of nature from test papers and essays submitted to science and health teachers by junior high, high school, and college students around the world. Spelling has been left as is.

"When you breath, you inspire. When you do not breath, you expire."

"H2O is hot water, and CO2 is cold water"

"To collect fumes of sulphur, hold a deacon over a flame in a test tube"

"When you smell an oderless gas, it is probably carbon monoxide"

"Water is composed of two gins, Oxygin and Hydrogin. Oxygin is pure gin. Hydrogin is gin and water."

"Three kinds of blood vessels are arteries, vanes and caterpillars."

"Blood flows down one leg and up the other."

"Respiration is composed of two acts, first inspiration, and then expectoration."

"The moon is a planet just like the earth, only it is even deader."

"Artifical insemination is when the farmer does it to the cow instead of the bull."

"Dew is formed on leaves when the sun shines down on them and makes them perspire."

"A super-saturated solution is one that holds more than it can hold."

"Mushrooms always grow in damp places and so they look like umbrellas."

"The body consists of three parts- the brainium, the borax and the abominable cavity. The brainium contains the brain, the borax contains the heart and lungs, and the abominable cavity contains the bowls, of which there are five - a, e, i, o, and u."

"The pistol of a flower is its only protections agenst insects."

"The alimentary canal is located in the northern part of Indiana ."

"The skeleton is what is left after the insides have been taken out and the outsides have ben taken off. The purpose of the skeleton is something to hitch meat to."

"A permanent set of teeth consists of eight canines, eight cuspids, two molars, and eight cuspidors."

"The tides are a fight between the Earth and moon. All water tends towards the moon, because there is no water in the moon, and nature abhors a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight."

"A fossil is an extinct animal. The older it is, the more extinct it is."

"Equator: A managerie lion running around the Earth through Africa ."

"Germinate: To become a naturalized German."

"Liter: A nest of young puppies."

"Magnet: Something you find crawling all over a dead cat."

"Momentum: What you give a person when they are going away."

"Planet: A body of Earth surrounded by sky."

"Rhubarb: A kind of celery gone bloodshot."

"Before giving a blood transfusion, find out if the blood is affirmative or negative."

"To remove dust from the eye, pull the eye down over the nose."

"For a nosebleed: Put the nose much lower then the body until the heart stops."

"For fainting: Rub the person's chest or, if a lady, rub her arm above the hand instead. Or put the head between the knees of the nearest medical doctor."

"For dog bite: put the dog away for sevral days. If he has not recovered, then kill it."

"For asphyxiation: Apply artificial respiration until the patient is dead."

"For head cold: use an agonizer to spray the nose untill it drops in your throat."

"To keep milk from turning sour: Keep it in the cow."

The beguiling ideas about science quoted here were gleaned from essays, exams, and classroom discussions. Most were from fifth and sixth graders.

"You can listen to thunder after lightening and tell how close you came to getting hit. If you don't hear it, you got hit, so never mind."

"Talc is found on rocks and on babies."

"The law of gravity says no fair jumping up without coming back down."

"When they broke open molecules, they found they were only stuffed with atoms. But when they broke open atoms, they found them stuffed with explosions."

"When people run around and around in circles we say they are crazy. When planets do it we say they are orbiting."

"Rainbows are just to look at, not to really understand."

"While the earth seems to be knowingly keeping its distance from the sun, it is really only centrificating."

"Someday we may discover how to make magnets that can point in any direction."

" South America has cold summers and hot winters, but somehow they still manage."

"Most books now say our sun is a star. But it still knows how to change back into a sun in the daytime."

"A vibration is a motion that cannot make up its mind which way it wants to go."

"There are 26 vitamins in all, but some of the letters are yet to be discovered. Finding them all means living forever."

"There is a tremendous weight pushing down on the center of the Earth because of so much population stomping around up there these days."

"Many dead animals in the past changed to fossils while others preferred to be oil."

"Genetics explain why you look like your father, and if you don't, why you should."

"Vacuums are nothings. We only mention them to let them know we know they're there."

"Some oxygen molecules help fires burn while others help make water, so sometimes it's brother against brother."

"Some people can tell what time it is by looking at the sun. But I have never been able to make out the numbers."

"We say the cause of perfume disappearing is evaporation. Evaporation gets blamed for a lot of things people forget to put the top on."

"To most people solutions mean finding the answers. But to chemists solutions are things that are still all mixed up."

"In looking at a drop of water under a microscope, we find there are twice as many H's as O's."

"Clouds are high flying fogs."

"I am not sure how clouds get formed. But the clouds know how to do it, and that is the important thing."

"Clouds just keep circling the Earth around and around and around. There is not much else for them to do."

"Water vapor gets together in a cloud. When it is big enough to be called a drop, it does."

"Humidity is the experience of looking for air and finding water."

"We keep track of the humidity in the air so we won't drown when we breathe."

"Rain is often known as soft water, oppositely known as hail."

"Rain is saved up in cloud banks."

"In some rocks you can find the fossil footprints of fishes."

"Cyanide is so poisonous that one drop of it on a dog's tongue will kill the strongest man."

"A blizzard is when it snows sideways."

"A hurricane is a breeze of a bigly size."

"A monsoon is a French gentleman."

"Thunder is a rich source of loudness."

"Isotherms and isobars are even more important than their names sound."

"It is so hot in some places that the people there have to live in other places."

"The wind is like the air, only pushier."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dine in or tapau?

We all know that some restaurants serve "exotic" meat, i.e. protected wildlife species that are illegally hunted and sold. If you didn't already know, poaching of endangered wildlife is one of the two main causes of our natural heritage going extinct.

Check this out for an interesting step-by-step tutorial on how to "tapau" (shut down) those restaurants that serve illegal wildlife meat.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

Today is Earth Day.

What can I do to appreciate God's creation?

The first thing I should do is to thank God for providing everything that I need here on my home planet, Earth.

Then I must remember that I am sharing this planet with more than 6.8 billion people, and a few thousand tigers.*

I must take only what I truly need so that others may have enough for their needs.

*Note: the human population continues to increase while the tiger population continues to decline unless we do something to help tigers survive and rebound.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010



Most unfortunately, a dead tiger is worth more than a live tiger.

See these pictures.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tiger's 13

Figure from Wikipedia

As you can see from the map above, the tiger's natural range has shrunk tremendously from what it used to be. It's still shrinking. At the present rate, Habitat loss and poaching will wipe out wild tigers forever, unless we reverse the trend.

There are only 13 countries in the world where tigers roam in the wild. These “tiger range countries” (TRC) are:

1. Bangladesh
2. Bhutan
3. Cambodia
4. China
5. India
6. Indonesia
7. Lao PDR
8. Malaysia
9. Myanmar
10. Nepal
11. Russia
12. Thailand
13. Vietnam.

Malaysia has an estimated 500 out of the 3,000 tigers remaining in the wild worldwide (i.e. in the TRCs). That means Malaysia hosts 1/6 or 17% of the world's wild tiger population! Imagine, one out of six tigers in the wild is found in Malaysia. What a privilege. What a responsibility.

Of course, there are many other countries where tigers are kept in captivity. But these don't count towards the natural, wild and native biodiversity. Sadly, there are more tigers in captivity than in the wild today. It is estimated that there are 5,000-10,000 tigers in captivity in the U.S.A. That's more than the total wild tiger population of the whole world!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Click on the above

Do or Die

Our Malayan tiger population is dwindling and dying due to entirely preventable causes. If the tiger becomes extinct, it would be our fault.

Here are some things we can do to give our tigers a fighting chance of survival in the wild:

1. Value and cherish our national living heritage. If we don’t care whether our tigers continue to roam our forests, or end up in a cooking pot, then half the battle is already lost.

2. Protect tiger habitats. This means maintaining large swathes of natural forest areas and not fragmenting forests into patches here and there.

3. Stop consuming tiger products. Don't eat tiger meat, penis or bones. Don't wear tiger skin or teeth. Kill the demand for tiger products, especially in China.

4. Protect tigers' food supply, i.e. deer and other tiger prey. If we overhunt deer, the tigers will have no food.

5. Improve wildlife protection laws. Plug all loopholes and increase penalties for violations. Give the law more bite.

6. Increase enforcement of wildlife protection laws. Patrol tiger habitats. Monitor border checkpoints, especially to Thailand. Impose maximum fines and jail sentences on offenders.

7. Eradicate corruption among enforcement officers. They should be protecting tigers, not colluding with poachers.

8. Assist communities affected by human-tiger conflicts. Educate villagers on how to live peacefully with tigers. Compensate those who have incurred losses due to tiger attacks on them or their property.

9. Increase the economic value of tigers alive in the wild. Promote eco-tourism and increase the existence value of tigers. The problem is that right now tigers are more valuable dead than alive.

10. Collect a licensing fee from every person and organization that uses the word "tiger" or any picture or icon of a tiger for their commercial gain.

The tiger is our national animal. Our heritage. But today only less than 500 of them remain in the wild. As Malaysians, we need to stand up and protect our heritage. Speak to your children. Speak to your leaders. Every one of us can make a difference.

For further information, please visit MYCAT (, WWF Malaysia ( and the Department of Wildlife & National Parks (

This blog post is made in conjunction with the Tiger Blogfest 2010 initiated by Planet of the Monyets.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

MB vs MB

I've been wanting to do this for some time, but never got round to doing it until yesterday. I downloaded the Perak State Constitution and read it. OK, I didn't read all of it, since it is a lengthy document (~70 pages) filled with legal language, which tends to be convoluted in its attempt to be precise. But I did read the first half of the document, which contains the important and relevant sections that were the points of contention in the recent Zambry vs Nizar case. I wanted to read and interpret for myself the Constitution in order to examine the Federal Court's decision in Zambry's favour.

The following are the two articles that were the main bones of contention in the court case. The bold text are those that I think are the focus of the argument.

Article 16(6):
If the Mentri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly, then, unless at his request His Royal Highness dissolves the Legislative Assembly, he shall tender the resignation of the Executive Council.

Article 18(2):
His Royal Highness may act in his discretion in the performance of the following functions (in addition to those in the performance of which he may act in his discretion under the Federal Constitution) that is to say-
(a) the appointment of a Mentri Besar,
(b) the withholding of consent to a request for the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly,
(c) the making of a request for a meeting of the Conference of Rulers concerned solely with the privileges, position, honours and dignities of Their Highnesses or religious acts, observances or ceremonies,
(d) any functions as head of the Muslim religion or relating to the custom of the Malays,
(e) the appointment of an heir or heirs, consort, Regent or Council of Regency,
(f) the appointment of persons to Malay customary ranks, titles, honours and dignities and the designation of the functions appertaining thereto,
(g) the regulation of royal courts and palaces.

Here are my comments and observations:

1. The Federal Court judges ruled on Article 16(6) that if the MB loses the confidence of the majority of the Legislative Assembly, he automatically has to resign. Their interpretation of the phrase "
he shall tender the resignation" was that it is mandatory and automatic, i.e. whether he likes it or not, the moment he loses the confidence of the majority.

2. The Federal Court judges interpreted the Perak State Constitution purely on the letter of the law. I agree with their interpretation of Article 16(6) in this case. It's just too bad that the spirit of the law got sidelined, and the principles of democratic government could not (or, would not) be addressed by the court. Could the five judges have gone the extra mile and tempered their judgment with the overriding principle of democracy? Did they deliberately confine themselves to the narrow scope of the letter of the law? Or, were they confined by external forces?

3. I cannot find any article or clause in the Perak State Constitution that defines how the MB's command of the "
confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly" is determined. Perhaps some more learned folks out there can help me on this. The Federal Court judges said that it was not absolutely necessary for the Legislative Assembly members to cast their vote of confidence in whichever MB or party. The "confidence of the majority" could be determined by unspecified "extraneous" means. I wonder what those means are.

4. The only other alternative to automatic resignation is for the MB to request His Royal Highness to dissolve the Legislative Assembly and, in effect, call for fresh elections. However, Article 18(2)(b) states that His Royal Highness can refuse to dissolve the Assembly. It is noted that His Royal Highness does not have the power to directly dismiss the MB at any time.

5. So, the MB has only two options, which are not really options at all, because he has no choice in the first, and His Royal Highness can refuse the second. Thus Nizar was removed from office, not by direct sacking by His Royal Highness, but by His Royal Highness' refusal to dissolve the Legislative Assembly.

6. In the final analysis, there are two conclusions. Firstly, Pakatan Rakyat came into power in Perak by the people's choice in the March 2008 General Election. Secondly, Barisan Nasional came into power (or rather, took over) in Perak through the defection of three of the ex-Pakatan assemblymen in February 2009. That's katak (frog) politics for you. Oh, I should add that some of the defections occurred under dubious circumstances. You go figure.

By the way, Article 29 says "The Legislative Assembly shall consist of fifty-two elected members." However, the current Perak Legislative Assembly consists of 28 BN, 28 Pakatan and 3 BN-friendly independent assembly members. This makes a total of 59, which is seven more than the 52 members stated in Article 29. Am I missing something here? Am I referring to an outdated version of the Constitution?

Download a pdf copy of the Laws of the Constitution of Perak here.

See a chronology of the Perak political upheaval here.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

10 Reasons

10 Reasons Why I Don’t Wash My Car

1. My car usually gets dirty again within three hours of washing. So what’s the point?
2. Rain can do the job.

3. Leaving the layer of naturally deposited dirt on the car will prevent more dirt from sticking.

4. Once in a while, if I feel that I need to give the wheels and undercarriage a wash, I’ll drive through a puddle.

5. My car is grayish-silver in colour, which is strategically designed to mask dirt.

6. My car never complains that it is dirty, or sticky, or uncomfortable.
It still performs as usual.
7. I show love to my car in other ways, e.g. I service it at regular intervals, I brake gently, I don’t accelerate hard, I take corners slowly, etc.

8. Car washing is a wasteful use of water, which is a precious natural resource that is better used for drinking and bathing.

9. Car washing consumes chemicals and energy which are finite resources. These chemicals (car shampoo, detergents, polishes, etc.) are then washed into our rivers and groundwater.

10. Washing a car merely transfers the dirt elsewhere – into the drains and rivers and ultimately to the sea. The dirt and chemicals then recirculate in our planet’s ecosystem, and we drink water from the same rivers and eat sea food from the same sea into which we dump our dirt.

11. OK OK, I do wash my car – on average once a month when I notice that the colour has changed from silver to gray.

If you wish to take this post seriously, just read points 8, 9 and 10.


Thursday, November 12, 2009


Here's something interesting about how we're impacting our world.

Watch this video.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I regret to announce that this blog is currently under sedation in the intensive care unit for treatment of inactivititis. Recovery is expected to take a while. In the meantime, a Loyal Commission of Inquiry will be established to determine how this blog deteriorated to its current moribund state. A full and impartial investigation will be launched, leaving no stone unturned. I hope the same will happen with the investigation into the late Teoh Beng Hock's death. It's sad to see that one critical thing that the government needs now is what it lacks: credibility.

On another note, I was in Tioman three weeks ago, and I saw more impressive sea creatures while snorkelling than while diving*. I was pleasantly surprised that the house reef just off the beach at the southern end of Salang bay hosted bumphead parrotfish, a moray eel and some razorfish, which are creatures we normally see only when diving at less accessible sites. There was a turtle too, but I was most pleased to see the small school of five bumphead parrotfish, each about one metre long. They hung around the reef in usually in the late afternoon and allowed us close encounters. We went snorkelling on Monday afternoon, Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, and all three times we saw the bumphead parrotfish. The only other times I've ever seen bumphead parrotfish were while diving at Perhentian and Sipadan. I guess I'll have to change my impression of Tioman. I previously assumed that since Tioman was getting very developed and well-visited, the nearshore marine environment would have deteriorated and become rather lifeless. So I was proven wrong, apparently.

*[ We dived at Chebeh and Malang Rock. Chebeh had nice swim-through passages under the boulders, plus colourful sea fans and nudibranchs. I caught a glimpse of a blacktip shark at Malang Rock but the visibility was too poor for us to spot any whale sharks. :P ]

But, I must still say, the conditions on land are not very appealing. The little river flowing to the sea at Salang is filled with untreated or minimally treated wastewater from restaurant kitchens and chalet bathrooms. The river bed is mucky with an awful black colour, and there's a foul odour at certain times. It's only because of the incoming and outgoing tides flushing the river mouth that the river doesn't become more dirty. At high tide the river stops flowing and the icky water acculumates. Then at low tide, the river drains out to the sea, taking with it all the dirty water. The next high tide brings in (relatively) clear sea water. But that just means that the yucky river water is being diluted into the sea. Well, the river condition is not THAT bad (not like the Klang River), but it's certainly not befitting of a tropical marine park island. It gets worse during weekends and peak tourist seasons when more visitors result in more dinner plates washed and toilets flushed.

In the bigger picture, there's some sort of trade-off. If visitors want cheap accommodation and food, then I suppose the operators won't be able to afford the investment in proper wastewater treatment systems. But I'm not sure if the chalet operators are earning lucrative incomes or scraping by with the minimum. Some visitors would say that they are already paying so much for their spartan chalet and restaurant food on the island. Well, price is relative, but is value relative too? Would you be willing to pay more for your visit if you knew that the money is used to take care of the wastes that you generate? There's no free lunch, and no free toilet flush either.

Indah Water is planning to build a proper extended aeration activated sludge centralized sewage treatment plant at Salang and Tekek. The EIA was approved in July 2008, but I'm not sure when the project will start and be completed. Let's hope that the project will do good and not cause more damage, or become a white elephant (new species on the island). Indah Water will probably be charging the chalet and restaurant operators for sewerage fees... and I wonder if the operators will pay the fees or even connect their sewerage pipes to the treatment plant in the first place. Do you pay your Indah Water bills?

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Which one are you?

Another nice image here

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Resurrection Sunday

I love this song.

Scribbling in the Sand: The Best of Michael Card (2002)

Long ago, He blessed the earth
Born older than the years
And in the stall, a cross He saw
Through the first of many tears
A life of homeless wandering
Cast out in sorrow's way
The Shepherd seeking for the lost
His life the price He'd pay

Love crucified arose
The Risen One in splendor
Jehovah's soul-defender
Has won the victory!
Love crucified arose
And the grave became a place of hope
For the heart that sin and sorrow broke
Is beating once again!

Throughout Your life, You felt the weight
Of what You'd come to give
To drink for us that crimson cup
So we might really live
At last, the time to love and die -
The dark appointed day
That one forsaken moment when
Your Father turned His face away

Love crucified arose
The One who lived and died for me
Was Satan's nail-pierced casualty
Now He's breathing once again!
Love crucified arose
And the grave became a place of hope
For the heart that sin and sorrow broke
Is beating once again!