Malaysia’s Level of Idiocy is the highest in the world

I fear for the future of my children in Malaysia and this might be one of the major reasons why humans are giving up on this country.

I just read this report, by the rock star Mr Jamal Yunos

Why is this imbecile being quoted?

It really numbs my brain, as to how stupid can humans ACTUALLY be. This guy takes the level of stupidity to a different level. A plankton probably has more brain neurons than him, and the misfortune of his life is that he evolved enough to have a mouth and a trachea from which such absolute crapsh*t can spew from.

Come on Jamal Yunos, go and rest.

The Case for/against IPAD

As parents, you will always be faced with this question: do I start my kid off on iPAD/iPhone or tablets etc?

The horror story is that your 3 year old becomes addicted to tablets (not the pill), and becomes a vagrant by 4, and by 5 is a washed out kid, done with the world. As a parent, you are faced with accusing hands pointed at you as a failure.

My kid uses the tablet. There. Judge me.

Which was exactly what one principal did at a pre-school we were checking out for his first year at pre-school next year (he turns 4). We were chatting and she casually asks if I give my kid iPads and stuff and I just said yes. Immediately her eyes widened and she said firmly, “NO!! You MUST NEVER give it. NEVER! Not to a toddler. You do not have a clue what the effect is!” and throughout the entire 1 hour we were there, she kept harping on this as if we just fed our kid cocaine.

Finally as she was hounding my wife when we were exiting, I just said to her, in my most polite tone, “Ms <so and so>, while I appreciate your concern, don’t you think it’s extremely hypocritical of you being so staunch on no iPad for kids but yet your husband hasn’t kept his hands off his phone in showing us all the videos of your kids? If the kids see him, they will obviously think it is ok, right?”

“Oh no, it’s ok for adults. Not for children as they are developing”

“Yes, but then you should keep it off during classes. Your husband shouldn’t be playing with it. Just saying.”

Needless to say, we decided not to go to that school and signed him up elsewhere with a more well rounded development, and less of an Amish principal.

Now – is it good or bad?

You will find ENDLESS banter on why its good, why it’s bad. The fact is this: the bad outweighs the good on the internet, because everyone advertises the bad. Oh, how Steve Jobs banned iPads to his kids etc. But what about the kid genius who learned how to code a solution at 3 and became a nobel prize winner? Oh, no that was the teacher, not the tools.

You will find countless stories of addicts, but not the good stories of how using technology helped accelerate mental development. The fact here is that, there is not enough population of testing to swing either way. Maybe in 10 years we will have empirical evidences. As of now, some like this principal is treating the iPad as satanic, the way my father’s church pastor claimed that the TV is from the devil. You know – these kids are going to be launched in a world with technology. They need to get to know it sooner or later.

However, to give this lady credit, I do agree with her on certain aspects on iPad or tablets. We have established family rules:

1) Devices (here, we mean phone, iPad, iPhone, games etc) are strictly banned from the meal table. Sometimes we extend this to our closest friends as well. This means not event the parents can whip out the phone for urgent SMS unless it is life and death.

2) Devices are banned when walking, or taking the stroller or what not.

3) Devices are banned in the car

4) Devices have strict end-times. When Papa says stop means : “STOP”.

Where we are a bit loose – when we travel on planes, when we are engaged in talks with our friends over coffee (meal table means main meals – we are flexible on other drinks/yumcha etc); in meetings, where we need to bring him along; when he takes a dump. He prefers to play his toys mostly, but sometimes, he watches youtube on how to set up trainsets etc. Right now, his favourite is watching the educational youtube on Planets. He knows all the eight planets and all their characteristics, as well as the lesser known dwarf planets. At one time, he said, “4 dwarf planets are from the Kuiper Belt. Make make has no atmosphere and was discovered in 2005.” and another time, said, “Haumea is oval like an egg because of the fast rotations”. No kidding. He said those words; but because he was memorising the song, not because he knows what rotations are.

Another time, he said, “The red spot on Jupiter is a raging storm.” and “The highest mountain in the solar system is on mars.” and as I looked at him a little stunned from my noodles; he calmly adds, “It is called Olympus Mons”.

One thing you need to do, is to MONITOR. I am always at his side, and the moment I hear some nonsense on the iPad, I quickly stop it. This could be a silly advertisement, or he accidentally clicks one of those terrible cartoons like Spongebob and the disney channel crap. As much as I can, I limit his channels to Thomas and friends and tayo the Blue Bus for non educational, and other times, go through educational channels to learn his fruits, his veges, his planets, his countries, his ABCs, his maths, his numbers, his dinosaurs etc.

At the end – is he retarded due to the use of iPad? No, in fact, he can now, at 3 years old, carry out a perfect conversation with me, often asking me, “What do you think of <subject is whatever we just finished, like a walk, a meal, a place etc>” and he can explain to me stuff he did for the day when I asked him how his day was. He can also stop me mid sentence and wag his index finger like his mother, “Wait, stop it, I need to poo poo”.

Is he addicted to iPad? For sure, we do see the effect, when I do say Stop, he throws a little tantrum. I dont deny it. Prolonged use and management by iPad WILL have negative effect, we just need to MONITOR it and have a judicious view on this.

I might be wrong of course, and they find iPad as bad as weed or marijuana one day. But till that day comes, I won’t swing either extremes: As a tech evangelist for toddlers, or as an Amish lady running a pre-school of kids who wear loincloths.


#EXCUSE the italics in this post. I am using an older laptop to type and somehow the entire format is messed up. Only when I bold it, it becomes straight#

Boy Kidnapped in Kajang

As of the latest news:

The boy is now safe, thank God.

Impossible for me to understand why people, humans, would degrade themselves to be animals and take someone else’s child. Unless you are mentally ill, or unable to think or just plain crazy, it is unfathomable how any human would do that.

You take one look at the people who would do such a thing and you think:”Those guys should die for this. They should. They deserve the death penalty.” I mean, back in the holocaust, I’ve read horror stories of Nazi women who would lure Jewish children with sweets and then crush their skull with their guns – and yes, that’s extreme, but this comes close – to steal a child standing beside his mother – who was helping you ‘look for directions’ – what sort of scum would devise such a plan?

As such, I think a great idea would be to have children GPS. Not just watches which is great, but it can be removed, but tracking device. Like the ones you see at spy movies. Put it inside their shirt collar or something. I will definitely invest in those.

While I love this country, I think one of the main reasons I will leave it will be because of these incidents. When walking down the street is no longer safe and scums of the earth are free to prowl around and abduct children.

Hair Cut and Thomas and Friends

We managed to get some time out to drop by Atria shopping mall to check out the Thomas and Friends Carnival.

Now, you would kind of expect a fair bit of action here. My kid is a Thomas and Friends fan – at around 1.5 years or so, he could differentiate all the different trains and their names, without even able to speak properly. I am just there because I have the incessant habit of most guys to continue collecting stuff once we start. Collect golf clubs? Sure. Collect old computer parts? Sure. Collect old books? Sure. Collect Thomas and Friends toys made in China but priced as if they were hand crafted in Finland? Sure.

Once there, it was a huge pile of disappointment. There was a large bouncy thingy where we could go in for RM10 and the kids could play in the huge bouncy slide. For maybe 2 minutes before my son gets bored with it – plus he doesn’t really like it. There are few scattered tables and chairs with random stuff like 2 old jigsaw puzzles, a small TV playing a Thomas movie, and some cans where you shoot at it (what has this got to do with Thomas?), and of course, a train set with just one Thomas train and a cart, with 2 kids moodily playing them and sighing.

Pretty depressing. I thought we could at least get some of the trains that NEVER comes to Malaysia and only goes to Singapore and all other countries including Myanmar and Fiji Islands. For some reason, the importers of Thomas the Train (for some semi intelligent reason) thinks that by importing only Percy, James and Thomas, it would be enough to make all the kids happy and all kids are dumb enough not to tell the difference between one or the other. Obviously, they likely do not have boys who can differentiate the smallest thing between the trains. Like my kid, who can tell the train by its silhouette. Yes. Not kidding. And not the main trains either. He can tell even with the minor trains like Molly, Ryan, Porter etc. I mean – who are these guys?!?

Anyways, we expected we could get Rheneas or Skarloey or some of the small engines like Peter Sam or Sir Handel but – nope, just a couple of tables and chairs and some teenage assistants trying to stay focused in helping kids shoot random cans.

Instead, if in Atria, we got Jet his first haircut since the day he was born. Well, formal haircut anyway. So his mop of hair is now gone and he has a boyish hairstyle. Finally I don’t have a random aunty coming up to me and say, “Wow, your daughter is so pretty!”

Let’s talk Shit.

As in, like in real shit.

Or ok, let’s not use the cuss word. Let’s use Poop. Or poo-poo. Or pangsai. Or crap. Every parent will go through this and really, this is a rights of passage thing.

Google toddler poop and you will have thousands of websites on how to train your kid to poop properly. At the end, Jet is now 3 years old and we finally managed to get him to be slightly toilet trained. When I say slightly, it means he’s into his underwear now. He is learning to control his pee. He gives us 10 seconds of lead time, which is now improving to 15 seconds. So, if you see a guy with funny hairstyle running with a kid in his arm in a crowded shopping mall – no, I am not kidnapping him, I am running to the nearest toilet.

Ah, public toilets. Face it, in Malaysia we would be really lucky to find a toilet that is reasonably clean. In One Utama, I usually zero into the hotel toilet – the one near the old wing, at Isetan ground floor. Even that isn’t very clean. Jet isn’t comfortable yet to stand and hold his cuckoo bird and point and shoot yet, so he prefers to sit. The problem with sitting is when the toilet seat is full of strangers pee, so you have a father in there shouting for the son to wait and not piss while he takes a grabs a whole roll of toilet paper and wiping it furiously again and again again. Drop his pants and underwear and hold him up so that he touches the seat minimally and down it comes.

Peeing isn’t a problem. Yet. He still needs to be comfy doing it standing up. It would liberate him definitely.

Shitting, however remained a challenge till recently. We took him off day diapers many months ago but he developed this excruciatingly bad habit of shitting in his underwear. No joke. He seems to think it’s funny. He would promise to shit in the potty but time and again run off to the corner and crap his underwear. This usually happens when he’s with grandma (both of us parents work), when we are with him, he’s more compliant.

We ended up removing his underwear mostly, and just sort of predict when he would shit. There are certain movements he would make to pre-empt us. Like rubbing his butt on the floor while playing his toys. Sometimes, he would say, “I want to poo-poo”, but in general, we are at the point of predicting him, and putting him on the potty and giving him the iPad for 15 minutes while he stinks up the whole house.

Everytime he does it, we congratulate him. I think we’re almost there. I know some kids at 2 years old, already know how to pee and poop like professionals. Not my kid. I think it’s because we don’t really get too stressed over these things – like he needs to do certain things at certain age etc. We try to train him, but don’t get over stressed if it doesn’t work. I know other people’s philosophies are different and we might not be good parents, but like I said, it’s a journey.

And one day, he will grow up and no longer need us around when he shits or piss. And unbelievably I will probably miss that part of my life when I am running through a crowded shopping mall with a kid in my arms and shouting for people to clear the way and furiously wiping away toilet seats. I sounds bad now, but you won’t believe how fast kids grow up – and how fast they turn from needing you around to — well, not needing you around anymore.

Did we march for our children’s future?

Like most urban Malaysians over last weekend, I was one of the hundreds of thousands who joined in the Bersih 4.0 march in Kuala Lumpur. Whatever your philosophies, whatver your inclination or your alignment is, politically, unless you are smoking some sort of amazingly strong weed, you cannot, simply cannot deny that our country is in the furthest recess of the toilet bowl right now.

Or at least to my generation.

Earlier generations might scoff and say, Nah, this is nothing compared to the communist occupation or World War 2. Nah, this is nothing compared to the ’97 crash.

But, in describing the toilet bowl, at least to this generation, we are looking at Singapore currency at 3+ to the ringgit, USD at 4.2+ to the ringgit and I don’t even dare to look at Australian currency, where I am going next month.

Event the Thai baht, always a consistent 1:10 is now 1:8.5!! Whaaat??!

Now that alone is enough to piss me off, not because I travel a lot, but because in my business I have a lot of USD principals. Yes, I hedged my invoices and PO against USD to 4 when it was trading at 3.7, 3.8 but now it’s over 4.2 and it’s completely killing my margins.

Aside from the economic conditions, the other woe is our leadership. We just don’t have strong leaders with enough balls right now to get us through the times. Obviously our PM will not be stepping down when a small percentage of the country go marching into the streets (200,000 people, in the final analysis is basically small, especially when 80% is non-Malay). And frankly I don’t know if him stepping down is even the right request to make. Maybe we should request, PM, please change. Don’t be so self centred and become what you are meant to be, a PM to all. And if you have taken 2.6 billion, it would be great to donate maybe half or three quarter of it back. I mean why would you need 200 – 300 million for?

What I didn’t like about Bersih:

a) Those effigies and signs insulting the PM, calling him a crook, a liar etc. Look, the fact that we are out here in yellow under the sun and rain – that’s already a given. We are here because we support the demands of Bersih. No need to get so expressive and attack someone to such personal level. At the end, this guy is still leading our country. Yes, people ask, if it was Hitler, would you still say this. Look – he is no where close to being Hitler at this moment. Yes, he is dismantling the controls and checks and balances that might turn him into a crazy, death wheeling dictator, but we are some ways off. We have the right to protest, but lets cut off the vuvuzelas and the effigies and the signs that personally insult the PM. Something like “Help us get back our Ringgit!” might work. Although I admit, it would be less funny. Things like the Arab giving 2.6 billion card board cheque is funny. That’s sarcasm.  But placards calling our PM a thief, robber, liar and for him to basically rot in hell (there was a picture of him as Satan) – those are unnecessary.

b) Why a)? Because I am a non-Malay and I already feel that it’s not right to personally insult the PM. Imagine how the Malays might feel? I have lots of Malay friends and while we never bring this up, I can imagine how they would feel, when one of their own is called all these personal insults. Let’s take it as it is – the whole point is that, if we march, it’s already a sign of dissatisfaction. Let’s do it the Malaysian genteel way, so whether you are chinese, malay or indian or whatever – we are all together on this and not divided across race.

c) Did I do this for my kids? I know a lot of people on facebook posted that they will do this for children and when asked, they will proudly say they are part of this historic day in Malaysia and they will come out in history books for the future.

I don’t know about that. It seems like an overstatement to put it that way. It’s just a street march to be honest. It won’t change a fart actually but it might help in the next GE which is in years. I’ve been in other rallies and this was the most mild one. At least I did not need to deal with the darn tear gas this time and scurrying way into a parking lot to recover. In fact, there was once I even joined in a protest in Vienna, Austria when I was wandering around alone and got caught up in a street protest that I knew zero about. I just walked with them anyway for fun.

Maybe this will be a start of a series of protest. Or maybe the government will crack down on the Bersih leaders after this and dismantle the opposition. Maybe that’s when our PM will show his true colours, if this has not been shown yet. It could be a colour of positive change, or not. I am always a believer that people can change. I have zero idea where this will head out. All I know is that the future of my children in this country is still tenuous. But will remain because this is Malaysia. It is impossible for me to align with any other country because I truly love this country and the people here despite the economy killing me now. But it’s like a commitment. Stick with her thick and thin. The leaders come and go, but the country is still ours. If everyone abandons the country to go to Australia and become first generation immigrants again, where do we set our roots?

So, for this Hari Merdeka, don’t give up hope on this country yet. Don’t go for the march, spit at our PM and then put in your application to go to Australia or whatever country you feel is a ‘greener patch of grass’. If we call for our country leaders to be non-hypocritical, let’s be that ourselves and unite to see our country through these toilet times together.


Milestone: Dentist

So another milestone is passed.

Jet went to his first dentist visit yesterday.

Now, some parents might disagree, and some might agree, I actually more or less subscribe to the fact that my little fler is more intelligent than he lets on, so for discipline I generally go the route of reasoning as opposed to taking a huge stick and beating him into submission, which might constitute abuse, but you know, my dad was raised like that and he’s still pretty cool. My dad to me, however, was to lecture me to submission. In fact during punishment, I remember clearly I would look wistfully at the big rotan and wished he would just whack me with it and let me go as opposed to have me standing there in the ‘lecture’ room for half hour to an hour (to a kid, standing still for that long is worse than middle ages torture). I can promise you, that lecture nonsense was a brilliant move. I never wanted to go out of line again. I would stare, I recall, at his belt buckle the whole time and listen to my dad go on about discipline, responsibility etc. I was around 5 or 6 I think.

So anyways back to Jet. We went to the dentist The Tooth Doctor, on recommendation from our doctor. They are located at Dataran 3 Two at Section 19/1. Actually more familiar landmarks will be around the Jaya area, the old mosque and Toyota showroom. Just google them.

Anyway, he went in and everything started ok, he brushed his teeth, thought it was a game. We went because he had these unsightly teeth stains for some time now, and we were worried it could be caries or something. Till recently I just thought Carries was a diaper brand. Apparently it’s a tooth disease that might carry risks of tooth decay and cavities. It sounds scary. So we set up an appointment and we ended up in his first dentist visit.

The hardest part was to convince him to sit on the chair. He is a strong kid, so it’s no longer an option to hold him down because he will start kicking and yelling. So, mum sat on the chair, we put on his favourite video on the iphone of himself dancing to Jackson 5 song, and soothed him enough for the doctor to have a look at his teeth.

First, she said it was just stains from eating fruits like blueberry etc. She also asked about our diet for him – and yes, we do allow him to snack a lot. And snacks range from small biscuits, to oreos, to ice cream to cream crackers to iron-man cereal (nutrigrain). She cautioned it would be better to eat these (fruits etc) right after a meal as opposed to 2 hours after the meal, to ensure the acidity of the mouth is stabilised. Also, strangely she said for kids, it might be a better option to give small bits of savoury chips as opposed to sugar loaded nutrigrains or cornflakes. Best option – non sugar cream crackers. Darn, we’ve been feeding this kid wrong.

Anyways, back to the dentist experience. So mum sat with him, and the doctor began brushing away the stains with a rotary brush like our electric toothbrush, just much softer and smaller. It worked for the main part but he had some really stubborn stains built up in there which she had to either scale (for a 3 year old, not possible), or manually get it out. I guess that was when he freaked out after the strawberry brushing ended.

We managed to get about 80% of the stain out but we still had more before he just gave up and escaped mum and ran off.

Knowing my kid, he will need a few visits to the same dentist before he gets used to the environment. We need another bout with him, so we have another appointment set up with him and my wife in 2 weeks.

Meantime, I took his session and got my scaling and polishing done. Good dentist!

This is why I stay in Malaysia


As we go into a weekend that may (or may not) define our future as a country, many posts/FB/tweets will be about how we love our country. We are celebrating Hari Merdeka in a few days time and we are in a situation that is, well unprecedented. 4.25 RM to 1 USD. Nuff said. For business people like me, I am considering to just shut down everything for a while and take a sabattical till the economy recovers. And play golf.

As for staying in Malaysia? If I had a choice, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I’ve been in Australia a few years and I fail to see why it’s so attractive to people here. Except, yes, if you want to make a decision to go to get better education or for your children, then probably that’s the main motivation. However, to say staying in Australia is preferable to Malaysia (let’s take away the currency, economy and politics for now) – why?

In Australia, how are you going to get the delicious Nasi Lemak I have on the picture here? For RM7? WHERE??!?!

One thing I like about having my own business is that work times are quite flexible. This whole week, having a project in Sydney and Texas, I am teleconferencing around 5 am to get everyone on board. Around 9 am I take a break and go hunting around for breakfast.

Around my place at Bandar Utama, if you wander around in your car around 9 am, you will see a number of nasi lemak stalls, and I have tried all. By far, the uncle at Tengkat Bandar Utama right outside the Oasis Bandar Utama is the best. This is a chinese muslim uncle. It’s ridiculous how much food he gives for RM7.

Here’s a map of where this guy is. He’s the reason why Malaysia is great.


Co-Sleeping or Separate Sleeping?

What seems to be the eternal debate (among many) – would you want your kids to sleep with you or separately in their rooms? Of course to a certain age that matters. Most people would say up to toddler age.

Well – Jet is considered a toddler. Although I am not sure if I consider him a little boy or a toddler or whether those two means the same. He’s 3. And he’s snoring in our king size bed.

Of course, when he was an infant, we would put him in the cot and he would sleep and we would do some transference here and there every night. After around 6 months or so, he wisened up and insisted on sleeping next to us around 3 am every night when he would wake from his cot and grunt.His head hardly cleared the top of the cot but his eyes would be staring through the cot bars like a jail bird and continue grunting to be picked up. Irresponsible and completely knackered from long days work, I would just pick the fler up and put him in the middle and sleep.

After a while, he doesn’t even go into the cot anymore.

I know, people say, you will suffer like crazy when he gets bigger and still wants to sleep with us. Yes, sometimes he kicks me in the nuts. And yes, sometimes I wake up with his feet firmly planted in my eye. But I don’t mind. In fact, we like cuddling up like cave men to keep warm because Mum turns on the aircond like the North Pole. I don’t mind sleeping without the aircond but its always easier to get warmer than to get cooler, as my wife says. So me and my son huddle up for warmth – of course with the added benefit that we are totally saving cost with only a single aircond.

If we had only one kid, I wouldn’t worry too much – I guess he will outgrow it sooner or later and want to go into his own room. Of course, now with No 2 coming in, we have to accelerate this a little urgently. He obviously cannot be sleeping on the same bed as Mom when No 2 is born even if No 2 starts off in the cot. It would be disruptive to everyone.

So we are preparing him a little to move out of – if not the room, then at least sleep with dad somewhere in the room.

I don’t know about the debate for or against co-sleeping past infancy. I do it because I am a frugal chinaman who wants to save money. I would love to just say, “Oh, because research says it makes our kids more independent blah blah”, but you know, I guess I am just lazy in teaching him how to sleep alone, and it’s a lot more cheap and convenient to just bundle all up together and stay happy and peaceful. And warm of course.

I don’t really look past those or feel guilty or feel justified or feel smug – or research or argue which one is better or worse – everyone will have their amazing theories about co-sleeping or isolating your kid into the far corners of the house and let him work out his life on his own. I am not a super-dad who knows everything. I am just winging it mostly and working out on how to be a father and making like tons of errors along the way. I guess where I am improving is covering up those errors as if I know what I am doing.

Co-Sleeping/Bedsharing/Cavemensleeping, whatever you call it? I do it because of convenience and because I love to talk to my son before we both end up sleeping. We play a lot of trivia about Thomas and the Engines, and sometimes go on for half hour or until my wife smacks me and say, “Oi, both of you go to sleep!”