Sunday, 28 September 2008

The Man Who Has The Lists

The few days before any D-day would surely drain my energy. This time with low energy level in the holy month of Ramadan, I really have to ensure that no energy is wasted doing double jobs, regretting the oversight of things and worrying over the uncertainties. So I have the following lists to help me in setting up priorities and more importantly, setting up the mind to get things done.

1) To-do list before flying home

2) To-do list during my Eid vacation

But years before, I had the perception that having a list is a girly thing to do. I guess it came from the typical scenes of young girls like Hannah Montana dooddling over the details in their pink strawberry notebook getting ready for the upcoming party or.... the scenes of desperate house-wives pushing trolleys in the hypermarket with the shopping lists guiding their way. Manly man like Jason Bourne, apparently executes his heroic tasks without referring to any list, as shown in the silver screen. So, at one time of my life, I went about doing my things without any lists, relying heavily on mental notes. It was all right. Most of the things got done and going. Some, very few things slipped my mind, but I got back at them, in time. What missing was the simple pleasure of striking the things that you have done on the list. The mind was busy thinking what's next, little had been done to track and treat the milestone covered. This was how it struck me. I was on my way to see NI-san, my Production Manager in my first company. NI-san hailed from Japan and he has inspired me a lot. I was standing outside his office. NI-san was alone in his room. I saw him clapping his hands, grinning from ear to ear and in the process of doing all these, he tilted his head from left to right and right to left like Telletubbies.

"NI-san... what's up?", I asked.

"I was so happy that I have completed this one thing in my list that I thought could never be done....", he replied, looking very satisfied.

Of course, I can't bring myself to do exactly what NI-san did. I still think what NI did, is not befitting the Bourne's identity of the manly man that I still stuck with. But I have made lists now and have learnt to celebrate the sense of completeness felt at the moment of striking the things done on my list. It gets better with the task with higher degree of difficulty. It gets to the climax with the task which I thought impossible. Nevertheless, I always caution myself to keep a well-balanced list.

On top of the list of things to do before I leave Dubai to Durian-land for my Eid vacation, is getting lots of chocolates and completing a distribution list. After this one is done, checked and ticked, little space left in my luggage, for other things. So the 20% headspace is for my underwears, shorts, running shoes, socks, toiletries and little souvenirs.

Next to it, is getting the some gifts that I will have to hand carry. The last item on the list, is checking the travelling documents and cash in the wallet. So I'm done with this list.

I could have a long list of what I hate or unhappy about Durian-land, its government, its people, its people against the government and so on. But then, it's a place I call home and it is beautiful in many aspects. So here are 7 items in the list of things to do in Durian-land during my 11-day Eid vacation. Note also the degree of difficulty : H (High) M (medium) L (very easy!)

1. Running in the rain (how I really miss the rain) [M]

2. Playing with the kids (toying, flying kites, bicycling) [L]

3. Reading with the kids (2 books with my daughter, 1 with my son - the one with my son could be of a great challenge) [H]

4. Swimming in the river, sea and swimming pool. (After some time, I got pretty much dried up in Dubai) [M]

5. Meeting old friends at kedai mamak, kopitiam & souled-out [M]

6. Driving on Malaysian highway safely and smiling at each toll attendants I meet along the way [M]

7. Eating all the ketupat, rendang and all the raya stuffs but maintaining my weight at 72kg [H]

Of course, there are several other private items, if you know what I mean....which are better left in the mental notes, unwritten, open for imagination, of any kind.

What else??

I will have to make a list of people to receive my duit raya. It's a long list and I'll deal with it on the night before raya.

It's not in the list, but I just feel like saying it now, anyway.....Eid Mubarak...Selamat Hari Raya!..and I'm going home.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

The Man Who Likes To Be Moved

Last year I asked my son what he would like to be when he grew up. His answer was "Postman". I asked why. His answer was "nak naik motor, best!". I was almost burst into laughter at this. Then it struck my head that when I was 7 or 8 years old, I wanted to be a bus driver, specifically a school bus driver. The idea of getting into the bus to school to meet friends and coming back from school to have a great home-cooked meal and then watched TV, simply kept me moving. And inside the school bus, there were exciting events of meeting kids from other schools, admiring those with trendy digital watches, exchanging cards (not business card, but those kids cards on cars, planes, etc., playing Game & Watch (not Game Boy, but those simple game to salvage Mickey's eggs and the like, making fun of one another, discussing the A-team and the Great American Hero. It was like a moveable heaven. I thought if I grew up to be a bus driver, these experiences would never end. So, my point is, I have this special interest in public transportation from my early and humble beginning.

As an adult, I was so excited when I got into LRT to KL to attend my OUM classes. It brought the old childhood memories of the being in the school bus. In the LRT I had invaded others' personal space as we were cramped into the train like sardines and tuna in a can of cat food. We were so close that I could see what the girl next to me texting on her phone asking her boyfriend to pick her up in the next 2 stops. However, this excitement was short-lived. After a couple of trips, I got tired of standing too long, waiting too long, cramping too close and too long. So I started to get sored with the LRT system in the Durian-land and keep asking over and over, "When are they going to upgrade?"

So now in Dubai, I have the chance to witness the rapid development of Dubai Metro. Its first station in Jebel Ali which is the nearest to my work place has almost completed.

When the project is completed by September 9, 2009, there will be 47 stations, including 2 transfer underground stations - one at the Union Square in Deira which is the largest in size, and one at BurJuman Station in Bur Dubai which is the deepest one at 30 metres below the ground. The tunnel will start at Union Square in Deira and stretch to BurJuman Centre. The tunnelling works may not appear to be intense on the surface, but like termites, the workforce in Dubai is progressing very rapidly.

There will be 10 underground stations positioned in the central metropolitan area, and the remaining 37 are elevated. Computer generated images below are the typical underground and elevated stations.

The exterior of the elevated stations is a shell-shaped roof, which is inspired by the traditional heritage of Dubai pearl diving. I wonder if the LRT stations in Durian-land are to be re-designed, what kind of shape will take form. Durian? I guess not, since our small neighbour has already made one its art landmark based on the spiky oval.

The interior of the stations is uniquely designed by mimicking the natural elements of water, air, fire and earth. There will be 12 earth-themed stations, 13 water-themed stations, 11 air-themed stations and 11-fire stations. The brightly coloured atmosphere for the interior of a station that matches the fire theme, may appear to be grotesque to me. It gives me a little creep thinking I'm in a hellish fire station. Hopefully, they will not assigned this theme to the stations that are close to my apartment as well as to Jebel Ali Free Zone, where I work.

Well, from the start Dubai Metro has set the limit for its loading capacity. Back in Durian-land, instead of a number, LRT capacity is countless, bring them all in as long as the door can close.

The setting of the seats is like the Super VIP express buses from KL to Singapore. It looks cosy enough for daily commute who those able to get the seats.

The headline that says "Beware : Dubai Metro is coming to ease the traffic bottlenecks" , says it all. I hope I stay long enough in Dubai to see it, believe it and enjoy each ride......

Sources from Gulfnews

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

This is where I start..


An old friend of mine, RBB, whom I found recently from the virtual lost-and-found counter, has insisted that I start to blog. She wrote that I shouldn't waste my energy writing in seclusion and privacy. Instead I should share my moments to whom they may concern. So I try to be systematic in my deliberation to blog, or not to blog.

Being a negative thinker, I start with 9 reasons NOT to blog:
1. Bloggers are perceived as good-for-nothing, with nothing else to do. My buddy AA said "these people are trying to show off what little they have done". So to blog means, AA will most probably sneer at me and say "..and you too have joined the drama in Blogger-wood?!"
2. Bloggers are make-believe writers. It's my believe that bloggers get the high from writing, thinking they contribute something to the world the way famous writers do. If I'm not making myself clear, let's say, it's like when one is mustebeting and having the pleasure thinking he is actually having a real sec. This brings another problem with blogging, there is no watchful editor to censor such profanity and also proof-readers to correct the missepellings.
3. Bloggers can be manipulators and mind-twisters. It may be just a perception, but I have some instances that certain group of bloggers blog to accomplish certain agenda. They use one of two bad examples to paint a totally dark sky and some victimized, gullible viewers actually see the darkness and nothing else.
4. Bloggers go to jail. This happens when bloggers are perceived as threatening the internal security at the national front. I may not want to word more on this matter, for fear that I might go to jail on my very first entry!
5. Bloggers get called to the department head's office. This happens to my wife's friend. This poor blogger was then allegedly blacklisted.
6. Bloggers put their lives on display with the spot-light on. Their identity and privacy as well as their loved ones are exposed to possible exploitations.
7. Bloggers just add burden to their lives. They feel the pressure for not updating their blog regularly, they feel hopeless if they experience writers' block, or bloggers' block, if it ever exists. Bloggers have to struggle daily thinking what to blog and what not.
8. Bloggers may repel friends and hurt family members. Bloggers in their excitement on blogging juicy subjects, may hurt somebody's feeling and peace of mind.
9. Bloggers may regret what they previously blogged. Blog entries are spontaneous. I cannot imagine someone jot down points and then drafts them on a piece of paper before making an entry. Most entries may not be thought through thoroughly. After some time, bloggers might end up saying 'I shouldn't have typed that crap'.

Hereunder are the reasons to blog:
1. Bloggers get connected with family members and friends, to tell them that the bloggers are still alive and kicking (quoted from RBB)
2. Bloggers have the opportunity to be associated with other great bloggers (quoted from RBB)
3. Bloggers get themselves busy thinking what to blog, what not, how and when to post their entries. Bloggers' minds are active trying to be observant, critical and creative by denying the natural decline of their ageing brain cells.
4. Bloggers are kept busy doing something worth blogging about. It's a desperate effort to make life less ordinary.
5. Bloggers are efficient custodians of their own affairs and perhaps others' too. Previous experiences can be referred to, learnt from and laugh at.
6. Bloggers may get pathethic sense of achievement. Having an established blogspot with inspiring feedback from others, simply beats boredom and gives simple pleasure that they have achieved something.
7. Bloggers can improve their talent in organizing and processing words. It's a way to redeem their previous failure to impress their picky English teachers back in the school years.

That has always been me. I can always come up with more negative than positive thoughts. But then again, life is not always about numbers. I can have 7 Perodua Kancils and still not being able to be in the same league with AA with his one and only BMW. But having this posted, means I have joined the pathetic world of bloggers. So, this is my maiden entry. The first step to 10,000 miles of words. And if ever at my 9,999 word-o-meter mileage, that I have gone beserk and become a manipulator, mind-twister, liar, a threat to internal security and be sent to jail, I have only one person to blame. RBB, if you're reading this, you ought to know that you have inspired me to do this and so, do your duty to bail me out. Let's hope it won't be the case.