Archives for category: Imperfect Sense

Someone asked me if I’d heard of the whole inappropriate European comic and Singaporean phone porn fiasco that people have been blogging about this last couple of weeks, ‘coz if I did, why hadn’t I posted my opinion on the matter.

And I’m not linking those either for the same reason.

I think enough has been said already and those who can’t stop talking or blogging about it are just traffic whoring, right (been waiting all YEAR to use that phrase LOL – c’mon lighten up. You can blog about anything you want!)?

I have other things to worry about, like trying to settle down in my new home, and wondering if my stuff’s okay at sea, and missing my friends and family back home in Malaysia. Minding my business, that is. There’s been enough over-reaction over both issues.

Truth be told, I did DO something about the comic. Just that it wasn’t on this blog. I emailed a certain someone about how I felt he should’ve handled the NST whole matter. He responded in kind. And that was that.

And that’s why my blog will never see the business end of WordPress’ fastest growing list or top blogs ever!

 

ps. For another perspective on the comic issue, read New Yorker’s The Talk of the Town comment called Images by Jane Kramer.

In our world (the Malaysian woman’s world, that is), it’s rare that you hear of a girl who voluntarily gets married when she’s in her teens.

Oftentimes, it’s because she had an ‘accident’ and had to get herself hitched for religious or social reasons, or that she comes from a conservative country like Indonesia, where both my ex-maids are from, who got married at the tender ages of 13 and 14. Today, they are grandmothers. My last maid, Yati, has gone home to plan the wedding of her daughter, who’s 16. The latter isn’t pregnant nor is she unemployed.

“It’s better to get her married before she gets pregnant, you know,” Yati said to me when I asked her why the women in Java get married so young.

Yesterday, I met an American mommy who told me she’d gotten married at 17. Needless to say, I was surprised. She said she’d always wanted to marry young and start a family. Now, this lady has two kids and living the life she’d always wanted (plus she looks gorgeous doing it!).

On my way home, I started wondering about what I’d wanted to do with my life at 17. In Malaysia, we are also fortunate to have education pressed on us before anything else at that age. Sure, some of us – in fact, a LOT of us – make mistakes when we were 17. You know how it is. Hormones rage. World at our feet. We feel, in many unexplainable ways, invincible and untouchable at that age.

At 17, I knew the only thing I wanted to do was to get away from home. I was to go to fashion college (yes, can you imagine?) in Ipoh and then do the last year in London where my aunt and uncle could keep an eye on me, and that prospect just made me want to escape. I wanted to study civil engineering because I was quite the whiz at math and physics then but my parents told me I’d never find a job as a woman. In a fit of anger and frustration, I told them okay, I’ll read law. I’d found a college that offered the External LLB degree where I could finish the degree here in Malaysia – but in KL.

And I never ever wanted to be a lawyer in the first place.

Instead, I became a writer. I dropped out of college during my last year and became a junior reporter for a small trade magazine. I’d somehow found my calling. Today, I can’t even remember why I’d wanted to be a civil engineer.

We do crazy things at 17. We think we know everything and nothing can touch us. And the truth is, we often get our way. Our parents can only watch helplessly as we begin our lives as the adults that we desperately want to be.

The sad truth is that we inevitably succeed more quickly than we expect.

So I finally installed my RSS reader today (yea, I used to drag and drop links into my web browser, sue me).

Here are the top ten most interesting posts that found their way into my inbox today:

1. Even religion needs a little fun and games now and then.
2. The hoverboard is here!
3. Old tech is illegal tech in the land of hi-tech
4. I wish I knew how to Lego you 
5. Screens up, red alert!
6. 25 reasons why there are blogs
7. Charlize in bronze (NYT- needs registration. Trust me, it’s worth it.)
8. Spam blogs, splogs and zombie blogs. (still haven’tr reg-ed yet? C’mon!)

Okay, I only have eight, because damnit, American Idol is on and that lingering gaze Ace Young just gave? I had to stop. He’s Idol’s new Constantine Maroulis. Just look at him, all sexy in his surfer dude duds.

Hot Daaayyyayymn!

I can now vote for my favorite AMERICAN Idol!!!

Who do I think will be the top four?

1. Paris Bennett
2. Will Makar
3. Elliott Yamin
4. Lisa Tucker

Doesn’t Kinnik Sky look, and sound, like Ning Baizura?!

 

Do you have friends who just can’t be happy for you? And you know it’s JUST because you’re a woman, married and now in a much better place than before?

Ish.

All my adult life, I’ve tried to be independent. It’s true that MOST of that, I’ve had a man, with only windows of time when I was actually single. The longest of which was about two years when I was in college, ‘coz serial dating isn’t having a boyfriend (so those guys during secondary school don’t count either), no matter what you say.

And even though I had a boyfriend, I never had to ASK him for money. You may be like that, but I was NOT. In fact, I’ve had to support my ex when he was out of a job for almost one year!

I’ve lived on my own, had a job, made a good living for over ten years since I went to KL. Hell, in certain circles, I was even considered accomplished, as you so begrudgingly admitted to so many times in the past, and only because it’s to make me feel like I somehow cheated my way to where I was.

So it really pisses me off when certain people who HARDLY know me, think I must be so proud of myself JUST because I’m not working anymore now and got myself migrated over here to the US. Get to live the comfortable life of a stay-at-home mom with a ‘rich’ husband, with our one car and rented home.

Firstly, I’m not working because my kids NEED for me to stay at home. You have the illusion of a choice to leave them with the maid and parents in a small town all week. I think you’re irresponsible and very possibly insane. That’s our only difference.

Because believe me, if the situation were different? I can write all over your ass and you can go back to whatever it is you were doing before, kissing my behind so you can get a job.

Secondly, Lokes worked HARD to get here. He put in the hours and the effort, and it didn’t happen overnight. BELIEVE me. The way you go on is as though we got lucky and that we did not deserve it. You don’t know how insulting that is to my husband.

Lastly, it’s only funny to joke about these things if they were ACTUAL jokes and not snide remarks meant to make us feel guilty for the rewards we reap. See now why you DON’T have many friends?

You deal your own cards most of the time, so don’t complain about the ones life has dealt you because guess what hon’, you reap what you sow.

Perhaps you’ll learn that when you get your head out of that selfish bubble of yours long enough.

Lokes and I were shopping in Jaya Supermarket two days ago and I decided to go to Starbucks for a couple of lattes. In front of me were two middle-aged men who were browsing the chalkboard menus, looking a little lost. After a while, they reluctantly ordered two coffees.

The barrista, as usual, confirmed if they wanted the brews of the day. I could see from his eyes, and from the expressions on the faces of the two men, that the question was lost on them. Although clearly confused, the customers spoke to each other in their native tongues, and subsequently nodded to the barrista, who gave them a pregnant pause before keying in their orders. He may have wanted to make sure that the orders were right, by say, asking if the gentlemen knew that the coffees in Starbucks did not come with milk, as would kopi in a mamak shop. However, this could make them look a little stupid, assuming that the gentlemen were pidgin ignorant about ordering coffees in a place like Starbucks, where coffee meant black coffee and not plain kopi with milk. And the fact that the place was quite crowded made matters worse, as the two men had taken quite a bit of time deciding on their orders, while the queue started to snake towards the entrance.

In the end, the barrista decided not to say anything and to put the orders through. True enough, when the coffees came, the gentlemen expected milk. Indignant that it was the barrista’s fault for not informing them, the two gentlemen voiced their dissatisfaction noisily, saying that coffee was supposed to come with milk, and that it had always been, and will always be, as such, even after they were informed that could add milk or cream at the condiments counter.

“This isn’t the way things are done,” said the noisier party. “This is Malaysia, not America!” he proclaimed.

This reminded me of a standup comedy I once watched involving an African American comedian who was at a fast-food centre. As he was browsing the menu, the waiter, using his PDA, made a passing recommendation that the fried chicken was good that day. The comedian had looked up and asked if he looked like he wanted fried chicken. Obviously, the waiter had, using whatever data the POS system availed to him on the buying patterns of African Americans, plus what may he may have acquired from years of waiting on all kinds of customers, made a play on what he thought was good customer service to this very important celebrity. The comedian asked if he was being racist by assuming that all black Americans only ate fried chicken. Naturally, the waiter fumbled.

The question is this: as we embrace machines and artificial intelligence to tell us what the next customer who walks in would like based on his or her previous buying patterns, or the buying patterns of consumers that fit his/her demographics, would we be doing it at the risk of seeming pompous, or worse, racist? What if, when we look at all that sales data collected, that there are certain stereotypes that may help us do business better (say, stock more clothes of a certain range of colours or design or sizes if most of our customers are from only certain segments of society) but will ultimately offend our customers? When we cater to a niche market, we are in fact discriminating against, say, fat people, old people or people who smoke. If you see a fat gal walk into your store that caps the sizes at 12 (speaking from personal experience here hehe), wouldn’t you say it’s better to put a sign outside that says “sizes 8-12” so as not to waste her time, rather than let her come in (hopeful!), try on the clothes that don’t fit by a mile, and even risk having a few pieces destroyed in the process? But in employing this practical, service-oriented measure, aren’t you, in fact, discriminating?

It seems that these days I've become somewhat a PR crisis manager person for my husband. I'd like to think that this isn't true but the fact is I am, and I've got good reason to be.

A few weeks ago, Steven Patrick of In.Tech sent an email to Lokes, saying that IBM has initiated Round 2 of the smackdown of IBM Websphere vs .Net. While I did not, and still don,t have a working understanding of both products, I sensed the brink of a PR crisis, which of course, is just the sort of thing IBM was hoping to create. It seems that this was an ongoing initiative that's been reported all over the globe for some time now (FUDing around with Microsoft!).

And so, the fight began. IBM sent a list of allegations over, claiming cases of Websphere's superiority over .Net, and what MS had to do was answer. MS provided their claims in the same table. Mind you that much of this was done over email. According to Lokes, an invitation to go through this face-to-face was turned down by Patrick because he was running out of time. A few weeks later, the article was published. Much to the shock and dismay of MS, only the original table given by IBM was published, sans MS responses. NAturally, there was a big hooha in MS about this and I was given an earful of it because In.Tech pays some of my phone bills (I freelance for them). The reasons given? No space, no time and even that MS did not reply in time, and Lokes assured me that he replied within the given time frame.

What in the world has happened to balanced journalism and reporting? Were this to happen anywhere else in the world, some sort of legal action would ensue, and/or the reporter sent packing to the hills. This is obviously a calculated move driven by either untethered bias and/or money, which would no doubt make good reading (HAH, serves you right, Bill!).

People say that some bias slips in now and then but to NOT publish responses by one party who's supposed to constitute HALF of the story? What is the point? I said it once and I say it again. EVERYONE makes a career of dissing MS, so it would be nice if this dissing was done with some REAL facts. As one respondent to a discussion of this article brought up quite accurately: Facts and marketing spiel (hostile claims included) are mutually exclusive these days.

I decided to do some research on my own. I, with some help from friends, went to software development forums all around the world (both pro and anti MS) and posted links to the story just to see what the world at large had to say about this. Have a look yourself at some of the responses so far:

1.Mind.com.my

2.Serverside

The sad thing is there is just no practical resolution to this sort of thing, operative word being 'practical'. Not a PR myself, I could not offer anything helpful. If iStar's forums were still up, I'd have posted my ass off in there but they, for reasons still unknown (to me), are not around anymore. Even so, who the hell cares about balanced reporting. This is, after all, just another attempt at putting a dent in Bill's coffers. Is this a good reason enough to sacrifice professional journalism? I sincerely hope not.

Less than a week ago, prominent blogger Jeff Ooi brought up the very interesting subject that Microsoft’s local Teched site (now down) was somehow “hosted” on a Linux box, with an addendum of how Teched Malaysia’s official registrars Crystal Edge has its site hosted on a FreeBSD box. I responded less than agreeably, and when he brought attention to a ZDnet story on how MS was hiding behind Akamai’s Linux boxes for security, I posted my thoughts again. Strangely, nobody replied.

I must admit to having felt a flux of emotions when writing those responses, partly because I have only what can be described as surface experience in these matters, and partly because I am impulsive and have to stop myself from shooting my mouth off whenever I feel idealistic. This is why I’ve taken refuge now in my own blog to say the things I could not say in Jeff’s blog. So as not to clog up his blog with my rantslah.

Being married to an MS employee and trying to maintain a neutral perspective on things to be a good journo is not always easy, anyone can tell you that. But this has nothing to do with Lokes or MS or anti-MS hate posts. This has, however, something to do with spreading information written within an opinion that may not be all that accurate BECAUSE it is an opinion. That is the basis of a blog. It IS supposed to be biased. So what damage can a biased blog do when the blogger is someone respected for his opinions, and when the opinion is based on information that has yet to be verified for its truth and all parties involved have been contacted to comment?

In short, what happens when a prominent blogger reports news in his blog in a biased manner?