Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Miss Canada just won the Miss Universe 2005 crown.

The other top four contestants were all from Latin America.

Interestingly, there was not even a single mention on Miss Malaysia in the report.

One wonders what happened to that cocky statement of hers...

'I am confident, intelligent and I have a great personality and that is why I should win'.

But this time, win she did not...

Could it be that, the Malaysian judges with their warped sense of judgement, were not invited to sit in the panel?


Canada wins Miss Universe 2005

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - Blue-eyed Canadian brunette Natalie Glebova was crowned Miss Universe 2005 in the Thai capital on Tuesday in the 54th annual pageant.

The 12-judge panel chose beauties from Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Canada for the final round.


Read that thquah and missus are heading to Perth for a 'honeymoon'
Took this pic from the 'other' side of the Swan River
Camera was placed on a bench...
Illuminated parts are somewhat over-exposed...

Sunday, May 29, 2005


Takamatsu is also known as the 'Gateway to Shikoku'
Here is a view of the industrial part of Takamatsu Port from the 'Symbol Tower'
The 'tabletop' hill in the background is 'Yashima'...
I live at the foothills on the right side


A friend from Assam, India, likes to stay in capsule hotels whenever he goes on business.

I have always avoided these places... believing that they are a little too sleazy for my taste...

For one thing, I like to sleep and do not take it kindly when disturbed while in dreamland.

Furthermore, I value my privacy while I sleep.

Plus, my snoring would disturb other people.

Next week, I shall be heading to Tokyo University for the first time since February 1990, when I sat for (and failed) the entrance exam for the doctorate course.

I shall be there to attend a seminar on the Japanese policy towards foreign students.

Not expecting too much of a change from the status quo, but let's see...

Meanwhile, I thought, why not take this opportunity to experience how it is like to stay in a capsule hotel?

See picture here.

The 'rooms' resemble honeycombs; compartments large enough to just accommodate a human body.

They have private mini televisions attached on the ceiling and of course, reading lights.

Guests share bathrooms and toilets.

There is a large common-use Jacuzzi as well as a sauna facility.

The restaurant is opened 24 hours.

I have just requested a room, I mean, a capsule, at 'Dandy' near Ueno station.

It is strictly a men's joint and it costs 3900 yen (about 140 ringgit) for a night, no meals... only sleeping, Jacuzzi-ing and sauna-ing...

Looking forward to this experience...

Saturday, May 28, 2005


Ordinarily one would expect the Malaysian government to get into action considering the outrage, especially in Malaysiakini, on the Terrence Gomez affair.

But I suppose those goons won't, because they do not read Malaysiakini.

Or maybe they try to, but they deny or pretend otherwise... because the issues raised are probably too hot for them to handle...

Among the many voices, it is notable that none of them support the actions of UM in its handling of Terrence and his family.

The next few days will be interesting to watch.

Not that I am expecting some 'smart' moves by the government...

It will probably just be another confirmation of the depressing level of quality in the administrators of Malaysia...

Once again, we are reminded of how paralyzed our beloved country is... of what hostages we have been made to be by these inept yet unprincipled people...

And we are dreaming about becoming an advanced nation in 2020...

What fools...


Grows up to 1.5 meters long...
Observe the translucent oversized nostrils above the eyes
Females are yellowish...
and juveniles are blackish

Friday, May 27, 2005


The Japanese call it ‘goma suri’, literally, grinding the sesame seeds.

In English, ‘polishing the apple’.

I am of course referring to the audacious headline ‘Japanese MPs Overwhelmed By M'sia's Success Story’.

It made my head turned, and had me hitting the keyboard in search of such breaking news in the Japanese media.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any pieces to validate that the Japanese MPs were indeed floored (or as Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary says, ‘overpowered in thought or feeling’) by our ‘success’.

Or perhaps I am just in the mood of being sardonic...

Porgib me...


Japanese MPs Overwhelmed By M'sia's Success Story

From Mohd Fisol Jaafar

TOKYO, May 26 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi ended his Tokyo visit today, meeting up with a group of Japanese parliamentarians, who were overwhelmed by Malaysia's success in managing its economy on the back of global uncertainties.

During the two-hour meeting, the MPs, who are members of the Japan-Malaysia Parliamentary Friendly League, led by former Minister of International Trade and Industry Takeo Hiranuma, were impressed with Malaysia's economic achievements, despite the world economic slowdown.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Caught this gentleman walking the streets of Seoul
He stood out like a flower amongst the crowd
He was alone...
and maybe looking for his Rose...


I have a close buddy who had known my missus for a long time.

His favorite advice each time he sees me is 'Listen to your wife!' because he knows that I blurt out silly comments often, only to regret it later.

This morning, wifey commented that the Balled and Chained post was a bit too 'hamsab', just as Norzu noted in Nihongo, 'sukebe'.

Wifey said I should tone down and not write for my 'silent' buddies who enjoy 'shimo neta' (jokes based on the lower portion of the anatomy).

The conversation swiftly moved to the worsening Japan-China relationship and Koizumi's persistence in worshipping the Yasukuni Shrine.

Before I realized it, I was about to go against Rule number seven in marriage ala thquah... the person who is in the wrong is the one who talks the most...

Well you see, when I want to win an argument, I deliver rapidly in English...

Wifey dashed towards me from the kitchen sink area, stapled my upper and lower lips tightly with all ten fingers, preventing me from further yakking.

I quickly recalled rule number four... if there is someone who has to win an argument, let it be your mate...

Immediately, peace prevailed and I proceeded with my cheese toast and banana cake with hot chocolate... and plain yogurt with dry fruit toppings...

Ok guys, can't do much about that Japan-China fling, but probably no more shimo neta from now on... and Listen to your wives!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Sheeesh... was going to write about the escalating heat between Japan and China when a mini flurry of emails came a-shooting into my G-box...

This man of mine, in his mid-forties, just got married to a sweet little lady of about twenty-six or twenty-seven.

What a lucky sanabab...

More than twenty years ago (old story lah...) while we were poor pilot trainees partying on weekends on a meager 380 pesos allowance a month in Manila, this holy man stayed home all the while, faithfully penning love letters to his then secondary school puppy love.

He was known as the 'chettiar' for lending his unused pesos to guys who went trawling the streets of Mabini, gulping down San Miguel beer and slipping peso bills into the g-strings of you-know-what...

After returning to home base in Singapore, he and his puppy love latched onto each other as if there was no tomorrow... weeeeiiiyyyy...

At times, we couldn't make out which leg belonged to who...

However, most of us were pretty sure it was a 'JAMOT' case; that they would split in Just A Matter Of Time.

Shortly after that earth-shattering JAMOT, a good-looking stewardess hypnotized him to no end...

But even that case went a-JAMOTing...

Decades of bachelorhood followed...

We were sure he was a goner.

But here he is now, generating heat with his sweetie in many days... weeks... months... and years to come...

I am looking forward to his report on the first Battle Royale... hehehehehehhh...

Meanwhile, Kon Gu Rats, my priend... one more extra 'thrust' for me tonight, please...

Monday, May 23, 2005


Madras snappers...
Location... the rather grotesque oil rig at Mabul Island
They hang around in schools as a protection against preys
See the diver hidden behind?


I came across a blog by a Malaysian young lady who professes to dig the eyeballs out of anyone who dares to telephone her from 8:00 to 10:00 pm in the evening.

Reason: she would be watching the Chinaman dramas on TV.

Thought it was hilarious until I saw the excessive foul language in her posts.

I went limp immediately.

While I will not dislodge any balls from anyone's anatomy, I howl when I have to work past 6:30 pm in the evening.

It is the time when I mount my bicycle to head for home, to enjoy dinner with my waiting missus.

Twice a month on Mondays, however, I have to teach an evening class to the graduate students.

Luckily, the students are normally a fun bunch as they are matured students.

They come from a variety of occupations; some are even bosses of Small & Medium companies.

I enjoy their Question & Answers, which are often based on their real life working situations.

Anyway, I am here to praise Malaysia's efforts in instituting the many no-smoking laws in restaurants and public arenas, among other places.

Dare I say... this is one aspect that would rate Japan as a third world country and Malaysia near to first world country.

Japan smokes...

While I am too lazy to lay out the figures, Japan is reported to have the worst smoking rates among developed nations.

My missus and I do not like to eat out.

It being expensive is one thing, but it is the smoke in the restaurants that kill our urge.

Sometimes we can find no-smoking seats in the restaurants, but they are usually just as engulfed by exhaust fumes as the smoking seats.

So, why take the trouble to go to a restaurant, pay a bundle, and ending up not enjoying the occasion?

About eighty percent of Japanese men used to smoke.

These days, about 50 percent of them puff.

Meanwhile, about thirty percent of women lit up.

The troubling trend is the increased rate among young girls.

In this light, I applaud the Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control in urging the government to put a stop to a tobacco fair planned for November.

Why, the Council asks, when the government tells people to 'Tak Nak'?

Is it because some pot-bellied politikus has to make some money again out of this tobacco fair?

How about hearing the government say 'Tak Nak' itself?

Excerpts from The Star, Monday May 23, 2005...

Say no to tobacco fair, Government urged

KUALA LUMPUR: A tobacco control authority here is disappointed that the green light has been given for an international tobacco fair to be held here later this year despite the Tak Nak anti-smoking campaign.

It will diminish whatever anti-smoking efforts we have made, said Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control president Prof Dr Syed Mohamed Aljunid.

This is especially in light of the Government's strong support for anti-smoking activities, Dr Syed Mohamed said, adding that India and Bangladesh had refused to let the expo be held in those countries.

A private German firm has been given permission to hold the Emerging Tobacco Markets 2005 expo here from Nov 14 to Nov 16.

Sunday, May 22, 2005


Jet flies past...
Blue skies over Tokyo
One early afternoon winter day
... the Nikon Showroom at Shinjuku


Why are political parties getting into the business of education?

Why not, they say, when 'other' components of the ruling party have already set up their own shops.

My gut feeling tells me that while there will be just as much horse trading in the 'other' shops, I can't help pondering over this particular case.

Could this line of thought be an extension of the dreadful job these people are doing with the 'national' schools?

I recall some time ago, some big politikus suggested the establishment of Proton University.

In either case, who will be the lecturers, the tutors, and the administrative staff?

Who will be the deans of the departments?

It will be interesting indeed to see what type of 'products' these people come up with...

And, equally important, where are they going to get money to run these shops, to pay the staff, and to build and maintain the infrastructures?

From the ruling party 'funds' or will they suck the blood of the captive citizens at large?


Umno Mulls Own University

TANAH MERAH, May 20 (Bernama) -- A memorandum on the setting up of an Umno university will be tabled at the party's education bureau meeting
soon, said Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Shafie Mohd Salleh Friday.

The meeting would discuss whether the setting up of the university was necessary because Malaysia already had 17 universities, he said.

Dr Shafie, who seemed to support the idea of Umno having its own university, said it would be a symbol of the party's strength and struggle.

Speaking to reporters after opening the Tanah Merah Umno division delegates meeting here Friday, Dr Shafie said the setting up of an Umno university was important because several other Barisan Nasional component parties had their own universities.

MCA had Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman while MIC had the Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST) and Gerakan had established a distance-learning programme, he said.

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Sea cucumber at Perhentian

Large species, reaching half a meter in length...
Black body...
Reddish conical papillae aranged in stellate manner
Probably non-edible...


A bunch of students and I just bade farewell to our sixteen friends from Wisconsin University.

Spent an incredibly enjoyable, and educational, four-day stint hosting these folks.

Visited locally based, world-class companies in the day and relaxed in the restaurants in the evenings, watching the ferries plying in and out of the piers from the restaurant window.

As we were about to leave Takamatsu Station, we saw a group of Peruvian musicians performing.

So nice... that 'El Condor Pasa' number... couldn't resist buying one of their CDs...

Tonight, I shall do my meditation and snore the night away... as usual...

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Envy (a bit-bit only lah...) Fish Fish and Patrick who are studying in Kyoto University.

While finishing my master's degree at Kagawa University, I sat for the doctorate course entrance examination at four universities.

Passed two (Kyoto and Nagoya), flunk two (Tokyo and Hitotsubashi).

Was still rather unknowledgeable about places Japan, and all those people around me... they were unanimous in their opinions... go for Kyoto University.

But the administrative staff apparently screwed up the process of scholarship extension.

It turned out to be either Nagoya University on scholarship or Kyoto University on private funds.

So, Nagoya I went.

But luck came again when I was offered a chance to be a visiting researcher at the Kyoto University Center of Southeast Asian Studies.

Stayed there for 10 months.

Loved it so much, especially the Kamo River and the vicinity.

In the summer, the house I stayed was so very hot that I could not sleep.

Kyoto is infamous for its summer heat.

So, stayed back in office and studied until late.

Sometimes, even sleeping in the research room.

I felt strange when I had to go peeing in the middle of the night sometimes.

One night, while sleeping, I felt I was pressed from above by some entity.

I could sense immediately that it was a spirit.

Waah, hair stand, man…

Yet, I forced myself to say, calmly and politely, 'please do not disturb me... I wish to sleep peacefully... please go away'.

I did not tell anyone about this episode.

Then a few days later, to my surprise, an office lady asked me, 'Lim-san, I heard you saw a ghost'.

I almost died from shock.

I said, how do you know I 'saw' a ghost?

'Everyone in the Center knows'.

My ears twanged wildly...

Turned out that a Singaporean guy by the same surname saw an apparition, a long haired spirit, sitting quietly at the middle of a flight of stairs...

He walked pass her silently...

And also, an Indonesian guy saw the apparition in his research room...

Pooh, even while I relate this story, hair stand, man...

Do you believe in ghost?

Ok, no posts for the next few days...

Have to play host to a group of students and professors coming from Wisconsin University...


I enjoy taking shots of people in love...
At the opening of Haneda Airport in December 2004
Crowds thronged the Observatory Floor
Among them were these L-birds...

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Chairs, waiting for you...
Blue skies...
... for eyes to enjoy
Azure seas, to splash into...


Lilian, who has the extraordinary power to make my stomach growl many a time with her Penang Faces photos, was a bit-bit surprised that I was using my real name and not a pen name.

My dad was never formally schooled.

Me thinks, he just mumbled my Chinese name to the clerk at the other side of the counter.

Am now suffering from the consequences...

That spell checker never fail to prompt if I am 'Long', 'Prong' or 'Wrong'.


I have a good friend from primary school whose name is 'Torng'.

Try beating that...

Then, there were five sisters at my village.

Four of them share the same name... 'Hong Ah Moi'.

The clerk purportedly asked their father each time he came to report a birth; 'Ah Moi? Ah Moi?', intending to inquire if the child was a girl.

And the father nodded and nodded...

And, ever wonder why pandas are usually labeled with double sounding names?

Ming Ming... Bong Bong... or Toing Toing...

While not a panda, I recall reading about a certain Dr. George George in Malaysia.

And, surely, a certain Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the foreign minister of the interim Afghan government.

Many Myanmarese have double sounding names too...

Maung Maung... Lwin Lwin... and so on...

I once knew a cool Myanmarese guy by the name of Tun Tun.

I told him to migrate to Malaysia.

He'd instantly be almost royalty...

Monday, May 16, 2005


Uwaaahh... too much work today...
Almost pengsan ok...
Need to take a break, talk to the plants, and relax for a while...
Shall respond to your blog comments and emails tomorrow...

Sunday, May 15, 2005


When Angel commented on my blog that she was at her lowest, I didn't know that she was really feeling down.

Anyway, it is a relief to read that a few friends (fishfish and gang, that is) 'saved' her from doing the unthinkable over the Golden Week.

Yes, being a student, especially a graduate student in Japan can be pretty tough.

Especially, when one is not good with the language.

For me, the master course was ok.

But the doctorate was like a killer...

I was regularly ignoring my meals, and working non-stop.

I kind of like, 'zombimized' myself.

I experienced frequent fainting spells.

Many a time when I laid on the futon, my body was so flaccid that I swore to myself that if I close my eyes now, I would not be able to wake up the next day.

That is, I die in my sleep...

I knew my stomach walls were scraped paper-thin.

One day, while slurping ramen (Japanese 'Chinese' noodles) in the cafeteria, I felt a sudden jolt in my brain.

It was like a strong punch... P'NNNNGGG!

Immediately I headed to the Red Cross Hospital.

The doctor, when he saw my facial expression, said, 'you look like you are afraid to die'.

I said, 'yes' and that I felt my veins burst in my brain.

He said, 'if that happened, you will not be sitting here'.

I then went for a full medical check up.

The doctor said, 'ten percent chance of stomach cancer... need further tests...'

While waiting for the test results, many friends worried for me, saying 'you obviously don't look well'.

My savior was my missus.

She nursed me back to the good health I am enjoying now.

Now that I am a student advisor in the university, I get quite a bit of queries from students wishing to come to Japan.

I am in the social science; Angel is in the hard sciences(?).

I thought social science was bad, and that the hard sciences was okay.

But, looks like it is equally bad on that side too.

Communicating with the Japanese professors was such a monumental problem.

There is a lot of truth in the Japanese being lousy communicators.

Their language is considered a 'high context' language where one can just mumble an 'aaah' and the conversation partner would know exactly what that means.

I say to the prospective students; come for the masters, and do your PhD somewhere else...


Chevron barracudas cruising at Barracuda Point, Sipadan

Roguish grin... uneven, dagger-like teeth
Sleek, aerodynamic torso
I gazed... captivated,
... the 'Tiger of the Sea'

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Kinkakuji the Golden Pavilion Temple, glows...

Originally built in 1397 as a retirement villa... now a Zen temple
Entire pavilion (except basement floor) covered with pure gold leaf
Burned down in 1950 by a mentally disturbed monk
Present structure rebuilt in 1955


AnGeL steered my thoughts to my former colleague.

After he got the axe for molesting a young girl, I attended a seminar at Kumamoto University where I had the brief honor to talk with the President of the university.

My workload was like, doubled because I have to take over his duties and attend the committees he attended.

Nevertheless I was (am) not complaining.

In fact, I am thrilled whenever the university asks me to do stuff.

It shows that they have faith in me.

The Kumamoto University President immediately said, they is a saying in old Japan...

'The reward of work is work' (仕事の報酬は仕事).

Dracolshian mentioned about the 2-in-1 principle...

‘While others pay for their hobbies, people pay for ours.’

In my first 8 teaching years, interacting with and assisting foreign students and Japanese students was my hobby.

After I took up my present position two years ago, my hobby and my occupation merged to become the 2-in-1 principle.

I once read a book on personal finance.

In the section on 'starting a small business', it asks...

'Are you happy with your present job?'

To get an idea of the answer, it challenges the reader to answer one question.

‘Would you do what you are doing now, even if you are not paid?’

If you answer with a pretty strong yes, you are close to being happy with what you are doing now.

In my case, hmmm... maybe 70 to 80%?

Would like to say 90 or 100% but I am afraid my missus may kick my butt for bringing too thin a paycheck home...

Friday, May 13, 2005


There goes another of our gems.

Although I have not met Terence Gomez personally, I have read many of his works and I have tremendous, tremendous respect for him.

I agree two years is too long a time to ask for a sabbatical.

But, why not work out something like a no pay leave, or pay him only the basic salary while he goes UN-ing?

But NO!

Malaysia being Malaysia, she shoots another bird dead.

I am stunned...

Terence, I am pleased you have decided to get out of that hole.

As they say, the world is now your oyster... good luck, my friend!

See The Star article on UM academic resigns after leave rejected


Black-spot Goatfish in Rottnest Island, Perth

Two dark stripes along the sides of the body
...large black spot on the upper body sides
Live in coastal reefs and estuaries as single individuals or in small schools
...distributed in temperate zones, but not in Malaysian waters

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Here is one guy, wishing to say 'Thank you very much' to the folks at PPS for doing what they are doing.

Because of PPS, I am beginning to find my direction in blogging and sharing my views with so many people, and in the process, making new friends and strengthening 'old' ones.

Responded the other day to the 'Calling Malaysian Photoblogs' post by Aizuddin.

Was pleasantly surprised to receive advice.

Thanks, Aizuddin and LiewCF

Got to go and crack my head on this RSS thingy alreadea...


Standing on stilettos
... elegant yet cool
That Malay house
... in the kampong

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


While training as a pilot in Philippine Airlines Aviation School in Manila, there was a prominent signboard in the administration office corridor that said something to the effect...


Wow! Great airman of tomorrow!

It felt good to walk the corridor with that sign hanging overhead.

A sticker in a Philippine Airlines pilot car proclaimed...


Well, both pilots and doctors work under extreme stressful conditions, I would say.

Maybe for pilots, worse.

Particularly, on a long flight that departs at around midnight local time.

Can you imagine the suffering the body is undergoing?

The body wants to SLEEP, but the brain says NO!

And if you don't click with your co-pilot, huh... a few hours of boredom.

What if he has bad breath?

Worse, if you were a First Officer flying under a foul mouthed Captain...

Yet, you cannot goof off... you must be alert at all times.

Who knows, when suddenly some crazy idiot decides to hijack the plane?

Uh, this is tough business indeed.

But pilots live glamorous lives, don't you think?

They earn mega bucks, for one...

They fly everywhere around the world... to all those exotic destinations...

And they look manly, macho... (Oh oh, please don't ask me about Captain Azizi, the well-known financial consultant-author, and my 'senior' course mate at Manila)

Pilots are surrounded by long legged pretty, stewardesses... (I'm dreaming here...)

But still, my mum never wanted me to become a pilot.

She pleaded when I packed my bags to leave the kampong.

I was 120% sure as she desperately forked out her last joker...


Like all young bulls, I wasn't afraid of any tiger.

Doctors? Well, don't know much about their work life.

They appear to be on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

They handle our fragile lives, just like pilots do sometimes.

I salute them as I do pilots.

While in secondary school, my dad wanted me to become a medical doctor.

But dad, that ugly, warty toad in the Biology class... I could never look at it, not to mention dissecting it!


Hmmm... let's see.

Taught for eight years at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the School of Economics.

Sometimes, only sometimes ok, when I cancel the class, the students sprung up in joy, shouting in unison, BANZAI! BANZAI!! (Long live Teacher! Long live Teacher!!)

Is there any job where you cut off the service (I repeat, sometimes, only sometimes) and the customers go wild with delight?

Imagine the airline captain announcing...

'Ladies and gentlemen, I have a sore finger and my hangover is still there. So, no flight this evening. Sorry, next week, ok?'

Just kidding...just kidding...

Now, visualize a typhoon coming. It is here!

Powerful variable crosswinds at thirty... forty... fifty... or sixty kilometers an hour...

In the departure lobby, four hundred passengers are waiting to board your flight.

All cargo are stored and secured.

Would you take off?

Would you cancel the flight?

You (actually that counter lady) make the announcement... the passengers go mad...

Your airline apologizes... furnishes them hotel rooms, food, transport, and telephone calls to call their loved ones...

Headquarters call you up for interrogation.

The flights of other airlines took off. Why not yours?

Do you know how much loss was made by this cancellation?

What damage was done to the airline's reputation?

There you sit; quivering... shitting bricks under the killer glares of the management hawks.

And you pray to God...

Please... please, no more typhoons when I am about to take off, ok?


You take it from here...


Risbecia tryoni nudibranch at Pulau Kapalai

High profile body...
a mantle edge
Black spots and a blue marginal band...
Bushy, flamboyant whitish gills

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Street performer strutting her stuff

Her face... so sweet
Her voice... so enchanting...
She smiles... I gawk
She croons... I squirm... ooh...


I recall a cartoon in my younger days.

The first caption showed a happy boy jumping up and down.

He couldn't believe he 'scored' two As in the MCE (Malaysian Certificate of Education, the forerunner to the SPM).

The next caption showed a sobbing girl, whispering sadly, 'I only got seven As'.

I was that boy with the two As.

And, both were A2s, not A1s. Even that was on the second try.

In the first try, I missed one exam.

I was studying for the Geography exam when my buddies cycled up to my house and yelled 'hey, why you never wait for us one ah?'

'Uh? Wait for you? For what?'

'After the exam finish time ah, why you go home so fast? Aiyoh... you...'

I dashed inside my house and grabbed the exam schedule.

Dei... dei... dei... I slapped my forehead... how can I miss today's exam?

Turned out that I misread the calendar.

But I was so happy I flung my Bahasa that year.

And even more happy to see so many of my buddies failing Bahasa too. Yeah!!

The whole bunch of us retained for one year.

I was never good in school. And also in sports.

Used to go green when other boys go up on stage to collect their trophies for winning essays and the 100-meter dash.

When I got my PhD in business administration from Nagoya University, my college (Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Alor Star) mates were appalled.

When I landed the job in the university, they went berserk.

My former colleagues at the airline were exasperated, saying, 'now, even monkeys can get PhDs and become university lecturers'.

Monday, May 09, 2005


Just received word from Reporter Michael Cheang that my interview was published in The Star today.

I was sure that Michael had regretted wasting his time interviewing me, after discovering that I am just another goondoo in town, with nothing much to 'yaya' about my 'achievements'.

To see what I mean, just take a peep at The Star's 'Malaysians Abroad' collection.

Those terror Malaysians abroad include award-winning restaurateurs, high profile writers, beautiful movie stars, scientists dealing with leading edge research, classical music composers, and presidents of IT companies, among others.

I am just an aging 'Alok Setak' kampong boy lost in Japan.

Anyway, I thank and commend Michael for his skills in whipping up such an excellent 'dish' despite the poor 'ingredients' in me.


Striped catfish feeding in a school, Mabul

Striped colouration
... barbels around the mouth
Body tapers posteriorly
... grows up to 35 centimeters

Sunday, May 08, 2005


For the umpteenth time, the Malays are urged to emulate the Chinese.

Well, I have this say to my Malay brothers and sisters.

You don't have to drink Guinness Stout or eat char siew.

All you have to do is to just get rid of those damn crutches and you are almost there.

Really, there's simply no need to emulate anyone.

Some excerpts...

Najib Urges Bumi Entrepreneurs To Emulate Their Chinese Counterparts

He said there were many positive traits that could be learnt from the Chinese community such as their diligence, commitment and far-sightedness.

"I have always thought that one of the best things practiced by the Chinese community in this country is to become entrepreneurs by going into business on a small scale initially and ensuring they the business grows so that it can be inherited by their family.

"This is the driving force for their success. This is the lesson that we Bumiputeras must learn and adopt in ensuring the continuity of successful Bumiputera enterprises," he said.

He said that in comparing the Bumiputera entrepreneurs with their Chinese counterparts, the most glaring trait among the Bumiputeras was the desire to get rich quickly and succeed instantly.

"The Malays will first say that they want to become entrepreneurs, later they say they want to become Umno division heads, thereafter, they take the short-cut and become a broker, apply for permits from the minister to bring in Bangladeshi workers," Najib said.

In addition, he said the Bumiputeras must discard the mentality of being too dependent on a career with the government sector which was inculcated by the colonialists.
(Blaming the cow again!)

"The Vision 2020 that we aspire in becoming a developed nation will be meaningless if the Malay entrepreneurs were still lagging behind, not in a position to master the sources of wealth for the country, still unable to master technology and modern management," he added.
(BERNAMA May 05, 2005;)


Full moon rising...
On the eighth month
of the lunar calendar
when can I return, I wonder...

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Pregnant seahorse?

Not too sure about this seahorse specie. It was either a female potbelly seahorse or a (pregnant) male common seahorse.

Most probably, it was the common seahorse. Size was about 20 centimeters.

According to ARKive.org, 'perhaps the most unique and unusual feature of seahorse biology is the fact that it is the male and not the female who becomes pregnant.

When mature, males develop a pouch on the belly, known as the brood pouch. Breeding takes place in spring and summer; the female inserts her ovipositor into the male's pouch and lays her eggs.

The male then fertilises them and they become embedded into the wall of the pouch. The pouch is very similar to the womb found in female mammals; a placental fluid removes waste products and supplies the eggs with oxygen and nutrients.

As pregnancy progresses, this fluid gradually becomes similar to the surrounding seawater, so that when the young seahorses are 'born' the change in salinity is not too great a shock.

After 20 to 28 days of pregnancy the male goes into labour, typically at night when there is a full moon. After hours of thrusting, the miniature seahorses, which look exactly like the adults, are released from the pouch.

The offspring are fully independent after birth and must fend for themselves. They are pelagic in the first stage of life, or hold onto floating debris at the surface with their tail.

Seahorses are ambush predators, and lie in wait for small crustaceans to swim by; they then suck the prey into the tube-like mouth and swallow it whole, as they do not have any teeth.

They do not have many natural predators (except we humans of course), as they rely on their excellent camouflage for protection, and they are unpalatable due to their bony-plated bodies.'

Friday, May 06, 2005


Got a bunch of gazania seedlings from a friend last year. Just plunked them into the garden with minimum care. Was rewarded with bright, healthy yellow flowers every day since.

The gazania... ‘A typical daisy like flower up to about 10cm across, they are commonly banded with a dark zone around the central disc. Some types may have linear petal strips also. Colours vary from white, cream, yellow, gold, orange to the very dark reds, pale to dark lilac variations are possible also. Flowers are produced on stems up to 25cm in length, these close in the evening or on dark overcast days. Leaves turn upwards at night.’ (Text from Plantfacts.com).

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

New blog dedicated to photos

Launched a second blog just for photographs.

See 'Lrong Lim Photos' at http://lronglimphotos.blogspot.com/

Will retain the current blog for the occasional rant.

Coral trout at cleaning station

Decided to start a second blog dedicated to photography.

I have been shooting pictures for about 20 years. Started off with Canon A1. Moved on to Nikon FM2, and then to the F and F2AS.

These film cameras are hibernating these days while the digitals (Nikon and Olympus) get into action.

Favorite subjects are portraits but I also enjoy shooting sunsets, night scenes, flowers, and underwater as well.

I earned my scuba license in early 2001 in Koh Tao, Thailand, and have been shooting underwater for over two years now.

It is a pleasure to share my pictures with anyone who drops by the blog.

The picture above was taken in a ‘sunrise’ dive.

While my buddies were snoring, I crawled out of the bed at 5.00 am and hit the water at 6.00 am.

In the early morning, the marine creatures are sluggish, just like humans.

This coral trout is being serviced by a cleaning shrimp; you can see the legs of the shrimp at the lower part of the fish’s mouth.

Photo distance to the subject was about one meter.

The trout appeared to enjoying the cleaning so much so that it did not bother to move away when I zeroed in.

Note: Previous posts of photos can be viewed at 'Kedahan-Malaysian in Japan ' http://lronglim.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Sundown at Morib

Was strolling by Morib beach when I noticed this young lady gazing at the sunset.

What could be on her mind, I wondered...

Monday, May 02, 2005

Fishtail palm tree flowers

Ornaments from the palm

This is a picture of flowers from the fishtail palm tree that I took at a friend's garden.

The fishtail palm tree got its name from the shape of the leaves that resemble the tails of ornamental fish, particularly that of the comet goldfish.

I was quite surprised to see that its way of flowering is opposite to the 'normal' way, that is, the first clusters of flowers emerge from the top of a mature tree, followed by subsequent clusters down the trunk.

Since my friend is seldom in the house, birds like the Philippine Glossy Starling (a small black bird, somewhat like a mini crow with red eyes) come by to nest in the cleavages.

The crimson-like fruits attract the Black-napped Oriole, a beautiful yellow bird with a loud fluty call. (The oriole is my favorite bird, too.)

The fishtail palm tree apparently dies when the flower cluster reaches the ground.

It reproduces from the baby suckers growing out from the mother plant at the base, like the banana plant.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Redang... the Clown fish

Buddy descending near the House of the Clowns

Been taking underwater pictures for over two years now. Although my preferred brand is Nikon, which I use for pictures above water, the equipment that gets to travel with me in the underwater world is the Olympus C5050. It is by any measure, a very good camera.

The picture above shows a couple of anemone fish, or clown fish. False clown fish, to be more precise. The 'true' clown has a clear, rather black line encompassing the whites. I wonder why the distinction through the concepts, 'true' and 'false'.

I do not have an external flash unit. Several reasons why. Too bulky to carry. Too technical for me. And most important, that diver in the picture is my dive buddy, and also my Minister of Finance. And I have yet to CONvince her on why I really, really need this flash unit.

So, you can see the sometimes-distracting backscatter; those circular reflections of the internal flash unit by the water particles. What to do but to accept this compromise?

Clown fishes start off life as sexless creatures. Their host is the anemone, that tube-like stuff in the picture. This particular type of anemone is called the purple magnificent anemone. Normally there are several clown fishes inhabiting one anemone.

The anemone stings if you touch it. It is presumably poisonous but the clowns have adapted to the poison and the poisonous anemone helps to protect the clown from predators.

When a novice diver, I have tried to touch (I am sorry, I promise I won't do it again!) the anemone and it felt rather 'scrappy', quite a bit like touching fine sandpaper. Lucky I wasn't stung by it.

The female is supreme in the world of clown fishes, with the male literally being her right hand man. If and when the female dies, the male changes his sex into female and takes the lead. The largest among the sexless juveniles will become the male.