Category Archives: Rants

Konsert BERSIH 8T: Inside

On the 13th of October 2012, I went down to Konsert BERSIH 8T at the Kelana Jaya Stadium. This would also be known as #BersihRocks on Twitter. Again, as an observer, I went incognito, not in yellow. I figure if they start carting away people in yellow, I should still be around to take pictures.

This is Part 2; Part 1 is here.

It was raining when I got here, and the guy on stage was James Nagason. I can see why it rained. Sorry dude you got some pitching to fix.

It was 6:15PM and the crowd was mostly at the back, where the stalls were – the action was all there.

His guitar wasn’t in tune either.

Garrison set the mood for the evening – proper, rebellious, punk rock.

Then it was random-noise-rock outfit Maharajah Commission.

Featuring folk guitarist Azmyl Yunor in a different mode.

The crowd was mostly up on the stands, next to the stage! So everybody was looking to the side instead.

I also sauntered backstage and found Adam Adli being interviewed and Mat Sabu being photographed with.

Soon it was dark, and a few short films were screened, including one amusing video about how to ensure your vote is secret via randomization, by Tindak Malaysia, featuring Annie Ooi (Aunty Bersih) and Patrick Teoh.

I can’t find the video on Youtube, but when I do I’ll update this.

Michelle Hoo, producer, composer and lyricist of the Bersih tribute song, Tears Of Malaysia.

Here with the group that sang the song.

Koh Jun Lin of Malaysiakini has a distinctive style that lets everybody know that he is a photographer, complete with kneepads. I guess he was ready for tear gas and water cannons. There was none of that, that evening.

Then, it was time for awesome acoustic fingerstyle guitarist Ray Cheong!

From above.

Check out the sea of yellow!

Click the picture for a full-resolution view.

Forget what Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat have to say about the attendance numbers – you can count for yourself the number of people on the field. Bear in mind that there were still many people seated on the stands to the left and right of the stage, not forgetting the people who’d rather be at the carnival-like atmosphere at the stalls behind! Of course, the BERSIH 2.0 committee, who gave out receipts to acknowledge donation, would know the exact number.

Fahmi Fadzil, emcee and learned scholar of the music performed that evening.

This rock concert allowed this mother to bring her kids in prams, a better outing for them than a sunny tear gassy day.

Dudes not in yellow. No biggie, just keeping a note on faces.

Dum Dum Tak, proper straight punk rock, gets a Chinese uncle skanking, and his wife slapping him on his shoulder. Real cute moment that was.

Atama, also on the BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee, goes on stage and shows us hip-hop mixed with Sumazau. WOW!

Do the Sumazau, he tells us. Hishamuddin Rais and many others join along!

Nik Jidan, an excellent folk singer sings songs about (literally) fallen political aide Teoh Beng Hock and Asalkan Bukan UMNO.

He is joined by Vijay, Assistant Coordinator of Jom Pantau.

Azira Aziz turns a year older today! How old, I don’t know, but she can’t be a day over 16 from her cartoony ears.

Hui Se Di Dai usually plays Chinese rock but the guy who loves his Jaguar played a Rastafari classic.

Republic Of Brickfields with iconic Aru, sang an obvious cover – Get Up, Stand Up. Stand up for your rights!

Spotted in the crowd, following the instructions at the gate not to bring in any party logos, were Tony Pua and Teresa Kok. Apparently Fahmi Fadzil gets confused for Tony Pua sometimes. To add to that, I had to double-check if that was indeed Teresa Kok and not Elizabeth Wong, but that’s just me being not so familiar with how they look.

There is one unmistakeable man, though – National Laureate, Dato’ A. Samad Said, and co-chairperson of BERSIH 2.0.

He wrote a poem for this concert, and recited it that night.

Then came another familiar face, co-chairperson of BERSIH 2.0, Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan.

The other BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee members were up on stage as well.

She gave a short speech…

…and also announced that the group would be singing a song!

Nik Jidan joined them on stage to provide musical accompaniment.

Random dude with flowers for Ambiga.

I can’t remember which cartoonist presented this to them.

Then it was time for the final act of the night – Ito, Julian Mokhtar & The Gang! I guess they didn’t want to call it Blues Gang because not the whole original lineup was there.

For example, on the right, on guitar, was Ito’s son!

Ito, of course, is a vital component, with his trademark raspy voice…

…and so is Julian Mokhtar, a blues shredder with his beautifully shaped, polished, and probably very custom guitar with scalloped frets.

Blues solo!

They ended the night with the classic, Apo Nak Di Kato.

Then, it was a big percussion jam session.

That was not all – they brought in BERSIH 2.0’s 8 demands, as well as fire eaters!

It all looks yellow to me. By this time I was shooting JPG, having run out of space from shooting RAW.

If you have decided you want to do more for Malaysia, be a Polling/Counting Agent!

Sign up for the training here. It is open to all citizens of Malaysia – you don’t need to be a member of any political party or the Election Commission, to participate in making sure the elections are free and fair! I’ve gone for the course myself, and learned so much about the electoral system.

More reading:
Konsert BERSIH 8T: Outside
Democratic Promise
Bersih 3.0
Vote For Cleanliness!

Konsert BERSIH 8T: Outside

On the 13th of October 2012, I went down to Konsert BERSIH 8T at the Kelana Jaya Stadium. This would also be known as #BersihRocks on Twitter. Again, as an observer, I went incognito, not in yellow. I figure if they start carting away people in yellow, I should still be around to take pictures.

Here’s the TindakMalaysia booth. Although I went straight into the stadium to see who was playing, I realized the crowd was really at the back, where the stalls were.

Also note the rules at the entrance. Above is the donation box. Entry was with a minimum donation of RM5, and you get stamped on your hand with ink that seems pretty indelible!

Food vendors were having brisk business.

All sorts of shirts in yellow were sold.

The Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia booth. I was looking for the Cleaning In Progress one but they didn’t have it. 🙁

For those who want a break in color, there’s green and the classic black and white.

More, from SUARAM, among others.

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. That is why I try to do what I do here, to document this. Neutrality and being free of bias is hard to expect of a human, though, so I’d rather have fairness.

If you have decided you want to do more for Malaysia, be a Polling/Counting Agent!

Sign up for the training here. It is open to all citizens of Malaysia – you don’t need to be a member of any political party or the Election Commission, to participate in making sure the elections are free and fair! I’ve gone for the course myself, and learned so much about the electoral system.

Remember the entrance rules above? Well these stalls are outside.

The stadium was being uncooperative, so they had to bring in their own power generator.

Clean Sweep, by Oon Yeoh, is a compilation of high-quality photographs from the Bersih 3.0 28th April 2012 rally. I have that book. It smells nice, too.

Balloons by Kill The Bill.

Phone casings! I didn’t have to look for one for my Asus Padfone because of the nature of my phone, sliding into a tight holder in the Asus Padfone Station.

You could register as a voter here, too! Not a very busy booth, which is a good sign – I assume everyone has registered!

These guys seem a bit lost. However there’s nothing with them peddling their wares here.

Mr. Ballot Box signing.

Nik Jidan is one folk singer/songwriter I’ve not heard of before, and it’s a shame – he’s great!

Alternative print publications. It’s a shame that none of the ruling component parties showed up – no UMNO, MCA, MIC, MDP, PPP, Gerakan, or their publications. What, don’t they want free and fair elections?

People will only have confidence in you, if you’ve won the election fairly. It’s a good move, politically, to show your support, to prove that you aren’t afraid to win fair and square.

A wall of expression.

Cartoony expression.

On the far side.

Mama Bersih. Interesting.

Their artwork.

It was still early, so the signatures had not filled up yet.

Ronasina, a cartoonist I’d never heard of before. I love his cartoon style and detailing!

More of his stuff.

It was getting dark, and I seriously almost stepped on this, which was on the floor.

Caricature artists.


The A. Samad Said corner. You could get your copy autographed!

Above: Zunar’s cartoon books (well it looks like the ones that were not banned…) Below: Johnny Ong, cartoonist for UMNO-nomics.

Left: Music CDs from various local acts. Right: I’m not sure if this is a PAS booth.

Sisters In Islam had a booth too!

This looks to be the DAP booth.

And of course, the Himpunan Hijau group.

Pictures from inside the stadium, and the event itself, will come after this!

New Clock, Old Tower

Kuala Lumpur, as defined by the bus conductors, is here, where the Clock Tower in Medan Pasar is. Note the foreign worker in the picture, representative of the current populace of that area.

Here lies a clock tower, immortalized at 4 O’ clock. These pictures were taken on the 22nd of September 2012.

(Edited 1st October 2012, 0054 hours, +0800 GMT) Fast forward to one week later, and surprise! New clocks! Notice the solar panel on top.

(Edited 1st October 2012, 0054 hours, +0800 GMT) Here is one side.

(Edited 1st October 2012, 0054 hours, +0800 GMT) The clocks appear to stick out now.

All four sides look the same. Notice the block above the door, and four screw holes? All four sides have the same block with the same four screw holes. That is because it used to hold a plaque!

Here is an example of a plaque, at the nearby UOB Bank (formerly Lee Wah Bank, whose operations were taken over by UOB Bank in 1994.)

I have not asked for permission for the following pictures, but am using them under terms of fair use.

Old Market Square (circa 1930)
Image credit: Selangor: 300 Early Postcards by Cheah Jin Seng, RM99

Yap Ah Loy was responsible for developing Kuala Lumpur from a settlement into a prosperous mining town, developing much of the land in Kuala Lumpur and owning over a quarter of all the buildings!

Coincidentally, this is the view from what would have back then been Yap Ah Loy’s house. Also notice that there was no clock tower!

Old Market Square is Medan Pasar’s old name, because that’s where Yap Ah Loy’s large market and gambling sheds were. This was until 1882, when Frank Swettenham (the first Resident General of the Federated Malay States) wanted it demolished, citing health reasons, and that the site was state land, so Yap Ah Loy rebuilt the market place. In 1885 when Yap Ah Loy died, the Government took over and moved the market to where Central Market is today.

However, before the market was moved, it was referred to as Macao Street or Hokkien Street by the Chinese.

From the postcard above, you can see in the middle, Hong Kong Bank, opened 1914, unfortunately demolished at the beginning of the 1970s. It is now called HSBC Bank. Photograph taken from HSBC Group Archives, and found from a website describing its architect, Philip Charles Russell.

This picture is labelled to be taken in the 1940s. Notice the plaques!

The Clock Tower was built in 1937. The plaque states that the Clock Tower was built to commemorate the coronation of King George VI (Queen Elizabeth II’s father, the current Queen of the Commonwealth realms.) Well his name was really Prince Albert Frederick Arthur George, the Duke Of York – George was his regnal name, a name he took upon becoming king.

So where did the plaques go?

Immediately after Malaysia gained its independence from Britain, the tower’s plaques, which glorified colonialism, were removed.” – A Walking Tour, by Victor Chin and Cheryl Hoffman

I am extremely curious as to what the plaques actually said – I imagine it would be written in classic, bombastic British English. I also feel somewhat sad that the Clock Tower becomes somewhat meaningless with the plaques removed, almost a kind of disrespect to the person it was commemorated for.

This picture is labelled 1950s. I have to say, I really liked how Hong Kong Bank looked.

This picture is also labelled 1950s (with Federation Of Malaya and Selangor flags!) This was because Kuala Lumpur was once part of Selangor, and Petaling Jaya was part of Kuala Lumpur…

Yap Ah Loy’s houses on Market Square, Kuala Lumpur 1884, taken from Arkib Negara Malaysia.

And now, for a picture facing the other direction. The filename indicated that this was taken in the 1900s, but I’d say anytime after 6 May 1913.

From The Straits Times, 6th May 1913, page 9:

The Mercantile Bank. Opening of New Premises at Kuala Lumpur

On Saturday last, the new building, which is to be the local branch of the Mercantile bank of India Ltd., in Kuala Lumpur opened its doors to the public. The new premises, which stand at the corner of Market Street and Roger Street and facing into Old Market Square… the contract was in the hands of Woon Ah Wong, the architects were Messrs Swan and Maclaren, for whom Mr. Phil Russell has been acting locally… The bank was opened at noon when in the presence of an excellent company Mr. P. C. Russell handed over the new premises to the bank officials…

The filename says 1900 but I’ll assume anytime after 1937. Note the Bank Of China and the Clock Tower.

May 1961 – View of Medan Pasar area, showing the clock tower (middle) and the old Mercantile Bank which was still under construction…” – picture from New Straits Times Press. The Lee Wah Bank is also visible on the right, but I can’t tell if it was under construction. Interestingly, the plaque is still visible, but I’ll clarify with Victor…

This was also labelled 1960s, with the plaque. It couldn’t be much earlier unless Lee Wah Bank was taking forever to build…

Notice that Bank Of China had become Bank Of Tokyo, Ltd.! What a beautiful Art Deco facade. It could not have been anywhere before October 1957, when Bank Of Tokyo, Ltd. opened their first representative office in Malaya.

The filename says it was taken in the 1960s, which might be a mislabelled picture, unless it was before May 1961 that both the 1961 Mercantile Bank and Lee Wah Bank were built. Assuming the Federation Of Malaya flag was only flown after 31st August 1957, and that Bank Of Tokyo, Ltd.’s first branch was here, and Bank Of China is still in the picture, that this picture was taken between 31st August 1957 and October 1957.

I’m not sure of the chronology of events either, since the Hongkong And Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC) had acquired The Mercantile Bank in 1959!

The label says 1980. Lebuh Pasar Besar is nearby Medan Pasar, and is often referred to by buses as Bangkok Bank due to the Bangkok Bank nearby!

Apparently, the Victorian Fountain found in Dataran Merdeka, used to be in Old Market Square as well! I have not seen any pictures that show it in its old location, though.

The Section 17 Neighborhood Park

I was born in Assunta Hospital, on Jalan 1, the first road ever built in Petaling Jaya. It goes by the name Jalan Templer these days. I lived in my grandparents’ house in Section 17, Petaling Jaya. One fine day I decided to ask my dad what happened to the park that he used to take us to as kids, and where was it?

As it turns out, the playground/recreational park was in Section 17 itself, and it was still around!

I remember very vaguely memories of this parking lot marking the entrance, getting there in my dad’s Datsun 120Y.

The steps to this place.

The road. Notice the MBPJ logo – Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya, or Petaling Jaya City Council, effective 20th June 2006 when Petaling Jaya was granted city status.

An entrance that was now blocked off. I remember back in the early 90’s when you could leave your gate unlocked in Section 17 and crime wasn’t so rampant.

Up on the hill was a signboard with the old MPPJ logo – Majlis Perbandaran Petaling Jaya, or Petaling Jaya Municipal Council.

As you entered, a common area lies, growing moss. Admittedly I have been digging up a bit on Malaysian history where it comes to buildings so this strikes me as something that might have been built when this park was built. I don’t know when that is, but Petaling Jaya was established in 1953, so it could’ve been anywhere from that point onwards.

You can imagine kids just going apeshit running circles around this. Well, maybe 90’s kids.

Behind it, more garbage bags with fallen leaves.

To its right, a basketball court, and a new playground up the hill.

A bit further was a playground that had a bit of fresh paint.

The new playground up on the hill. I remember this type of playground back in Bangsar Sports Complex, in the 90’s. There is also one near my current residence.

I seem to have regretfully forgotten to take a picture of the signboard, in case it would have any clues. Also note the benches. Classic!

From on top of one of the many hills.

Same basketball court.

Some hut on top of a hill.

But you know, I really didn’t care for all that back then. I think I was under the age of 10, and the playground didn’t excite me…

…it was the laterite hills that really did.

The shape was the same, but the color was different. It was now covered in moderate vegetation and leaves, regretfully! I remember going apeshit, seeing the bright red laterite, climbing it with my bare hands!

Some parts of it still show what originally was all orange.

On the right is some good ol’ laterite, a rich crust of rust due to the presence of iron oxides.

When I asked my dad about this park from my childhood with the red rocks, he expertly identified it as laterite. Of course, I learnt that in Geography, many years ago, but quickly forgot. Perhaps it was his qualification as a chemical engineer that hardened it.

I think I remember this rock from my childhood! What a beauty.

This is a peak I don’t remember going to, which overlooked the older playground. I don’t think stone walks were in fashion back then. I remember the craze back in the 90’s, and we’d go to Bandar Utama Park and abandon our slippers for some acupunctural goodness.

This is the view when you’re on top, looking over to the other end of the uh… mountain range.

This is the view from the front. Honestly not as appealing without its trademark rusted red.

This is the view from the other side of the park. For some reason, I never really journeyed here.

Random rocks. Exciting, like discovering kryptonite!

A little rock that strayed.

I don’t remember if there was also earth that was easy to chip, causing rocks to come off.

Halfway up.

More of that rich red goodness.

I’m not sure which angle this is from.

A plainer looking view.

Of course, there were huts in the distance. For some reason I never got excited about the cemented jogging path on the left, that made a circle around the park. In a way, this rock in the foreground, was what I remember to be my invisible bounds – nothing interesting beyond there!

Today it might be a different story, as there were two chicks jogging the circuit. 😀

There was an electricity control box nearby, and there was an alternate entrance, guarded by… a cat!

I got nice and close with the 1985 Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan. Intentionally, I went there with the oldest Minolta lenses I had – the 1987 Minolta 24-50mm F4 being the other. I left the 1985 Minolta 50mm F1.4 at home, though, thinking I could get by with Super SteadyShot since I wasn’t shooting moving subjects in twilight. To be pure I’d have used Fujifilm Velvia and a Minolta Dynax 7000 but I don’t have a Dynax 7000 and I wasn’t keen on using film so I brought the Sony Alpha 900 instead. It would’ve done good since I was shooting late into the evening where I had to use ISO1600 as both lenses were cutting off at F4.

I then walked out Jalan 17/33 and spotted this dramatic scene, in time for magic hour.

There was a torn-down house to the left.

I went down the stairs to Jalan 17/31.

However, 17/31 proved to be too modern for me so I headed back up the stairs and into nostalgia.

You know, I really don’t remember what this used to look like. This is the darn toll people keep avoiding by cutting through Section 17.

I normally don’t like going to Petaling Jaya, as I attract lots of mosquitoes, and Petaling Jaya is just full of them. Especially Section 17.

There is a reason why I went down nostalgia lane (or nostalgia park?) but I will blog about it soon, hopefully, when I am done collecting information on the subject. Unfortunately, not many pictures of that subject can be found, which is why I went down to Section 17 to document as much as I could about the park I loved as a kid!

Bersih 3.0

On the 28th of April 2012, I went to the heart of KL to photograph the Bersih 3.0 Duduk Bantah demonstration!

The demonstration was done with the request for free and fair elections, and they would sit in Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square) from 2pm to 4pm.

I took the bus to KL. However it did not go to KL, and its last stop was Titiwangsa instead (which, ironically, was its old stop.) So, I took the KL Monorail to KL Sentral, which had an interesting development – would they connect the KL Monorail to whatever it was they were building in the former parking lot?

Surprisingly, the monorail was not extra crowded.

Two crows taking shade away from the action. Coincidentally, the Prime Minister and his deputy were not in KL.

Random yellow things in KL Sentral. The person who designed the posters shouldn’t overlay the Bersih logo on the dark windows of the mosque!

I took the LRT to Pasar Seni, also surprisingly not packed with people. There, I met JD.

There, I bumped into A. Samad Said, National Laureate and Bersih co-chairman.

He was sitting there protesting.

Then, we could hear a commotion, and quickly ran across the bridge to find the procession from KL Sentral/Brickfields had reached Pasar Seni!

Pictures and videos simply cannot do this justice – when I saw the swarm of people coming, I was like WHOA. It was like a scene from Lord Of The Rings in IMAX.

If the Election Commission head and his deputy, who were allegedly members of the ruling party, saw this, they would shit in their pants and resign. Which is pretty much what we asked them to do, minus the shit in their pants part.

100% crop of the above picture. People, as far as the eye could see!

I was taking pictures for a good 10 minutes or so, observing the crowd. It never seemed to end! There were just more and more people, continuously coming in!

I knew that I was one of the few people going, and I knew that many people weren’t going because they wouldn’t be bothered to. And yet, to see so many people of all walks of life, was immensely inspiring! To see them get out of their comfort zone and bear the Malaysian heat, and walk for miles when they’d normally circle a parking lot to get a spot as close as possible to a lift, was amazing!

This was just the people who were on time. Some reached Dataran Merdeka the night before!

You can read about how there was a swarm of people and a sea of yellow, but you have no idea how big that is until you see it for yourself, in real life, from an elevated view.

These guys were in the front of the crowd.

There were blind people, people in wheelchairs, and people with crutches. Despite their disability, they decided to come out on this hot day and show the government that they wanted free and fair elections!

When you are down on the street with the people, you don’t get a sense of scale.

The atmosphere was jovial! The bus honked, and we waved back at them. Passengers on the bus gestured with their thumbs up.

Business for small traders was great! Who said that demonstrations was bad for business?

We passed the side road of Central Market, where this Indonesian fast-food chain was still open. Business was roaring!

Surprise, this area was overrun by Malaysians! On any regular weekend, this place would be overrun by foreign workers.

More entrepreneuring spirits.

We went up the pedestrian bridge to cross to Petaling Street.

View on the other side.

This is a screen capture from a video I recorded. Cool jerseys!

The Unit Amal PAS volunteers helped to coordinate traffic, stopping the crowd to let an ambulance pass.

I then went down to the Bar Council area, where the Occupy Dataran movement was, since they were evicted from Dataran Merdeka.

The police obtained a court order, banning anybody from being in Dataran Merdeka.

Bumped into Davina there!

There were a lot of Chinese people in the crowd!

The Chinese have, traditionally, been known to mind their own business when it comes to matters of the country – usually the Malays would be gungho about these things, but not today. Today, all races came down. Malays, Chinese, Indians and even my Portugese-Chinese cousin. He is not in this picture, though.

Traffic light!

This guy was recycling to save the environment. Well done!

He calls himself the Bersih Man. I prefer Bersih Ranger.

Malaysians showed their love for our beloved Prime Minister.

Yellow bikes!

I had no idea we had such cool-looking safety cars.

Across the bridge that crosses the Klang River, which defines this as the very center of Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian Federal Reserve Unit (FRU), a.k.a. the Riot Police, were gathered.

There, we could see their trademark ice-cream bell. There was also a FRU officer recording with a video camera.

My late grandfather was a FRU Battalion Commander, among many things.

We then headed nearer to Jalan Tun Perak, where the action was supposed to be at. On the way there was Reggae Mansion, infamous for not letting Malaysians, Asians and Arabians in.

At the MSC Malaysia Cybercentre, ironically not in Cyberjaya.

The Himpunan Hijau group was here, too, protesting against the Lynas Rare Earth Plant.

Also, a labour day protest!

I was quite confused as to where the crowd was going – they seemed to be going in the opposite direction of Dataran Merdeka! As it turns out, Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan had declared the rally a success and told everyone to go home.

Since I turned off data on my phone, I didn’t know she said that, and I thought we were going to continue to head to Dataran Merdeka, getting as close as we legally could, and sit down from 2 to 4pm, as was the original plan.

People were mostly sitting down at this point.

Here you could hear chants. Some were “Bersih Bersih!” but some chanted “Reformasi! Tumbang BN!” Technically, Reformasi is legit, as it wants to reform the government, but Tumbang BN (topple Barisan Nasional, the current government) would be out of topic.

Some people complain that Bersih 3.0 was hijacked by the opposition party, and so they would not go. Personally, I don’t care, as I knew what my purpose of going was, and I knew that anyone who already had decided who they would vote for, would not be easily swayed by hearing a speech!

It was here that I started hearing warnings of tear gas. So we started moving away from the area.

We ran to the hills. I covered my nose with an old shirt, folded so I would breathe through 3 layers.

Up in St. John’s Catedral, we bumped into Aunty Annie, nicknamed the Malaysian Lady Of Liberty, because she went to Bersih 2.0 all by herself and was in a picture showing her after being drenched by water cannons. Wherever she went, people came up to her. She was an Internet celebrity, and more importantly, an inspiration! There were a lot of old people in the crowd, and I’m sure her picture encouraged them to go.

At this point I could only vaguely smell the tear gas. It smelt like some bad factory smoke, and seemed pepper-ish, quite like Lay’s Salt & Vinegar potato chips.

Lay’s Salt & Vinegar are my favorite potato chips, so I had no problem with that. 🙂

Malay Muslims, in the compound of St. John’s Catedral.

A Malay Muslim cooling himself off with tap water from the church.

A group of Malay Muslims sitting in front of Ebenezer Bookland, a Christian bookshop.

This is the real Malaysia – Muslims who are not afraid of other religions, not afraid that sitting in front of a Christian bookshop or being in the compound of a church would sway their beliefs and convert them!

Some politicians claim that there is a secret agenda amongst Christians, who form a 10% minority of Malaysia, to try to convert Muslims (which is illegal in Malaysia.) Various methods include solar-powered Bibles and charity dinners!

We walked down the hill to get back and get some real pictures, having not taken any action. There, I saw two men on a motorbike, preparing to record video.

I could understand why Mohamad Azri Salleh, a cameraman for local channel Al Hijrah, ran to the scene with his helmet on – he probably got off his bike and ran to save the policeman! More on that later.

We ended up near Kotaraya, where a kid was crying on her mother.

The McDonald’s was closed. A man behind me shouted at the workers inside, “buka lah apasal tutup? Siapa kata masa demo takde bisnes? Ini bodoh, hanya budak ajaran sekolah UMNO akan berfikiran begitu!” Translated, “why aren’t you open? Who says there is no business during a demonstration? This is stupid, only students of the UMNO school of thought would think so!

UMNO is of course the leader of a coalition of parties, called Barisan Nasional, the only ruling party Malaysia has ever experienced.

We entered Petaling Street, which was still very much alive.

Everybody was buying cold drinks.

I heard a guy dressed in a ninja suit went around saving protesters. I wonder if it was the same guy.

Amidst the tear gas in the background, it was good business for the restaurants on the outskirts of the action.


Well, these guys really wear yellow all the time. It is their uniform.

The significance of yellow in this demonstration, was that yellow was the royal color of the King, and that we want the King to ensure free and fair elections, since he has the power to appoint the Election Commission, on the advice of the Conference of Rulers.

We then headed to Jalan Tun Perak, leading to Dataran Merdeka, where the action was!

I bumped into KJ, who stood on his foldable bike and took this picture for me. The red lorry had two water cannons on each side.

Click here for a larger picture.

And so, the tear gas was fired, and people started running away.

This was taken from a side road which I had escaped to.

I had not really experienced tear gas as what others described – at most, I only felt a leaky nose and an incontrollable, mildly stinging feeling in my eyes that made me cry loads. I just needed to open my eyes for a bit to find a pole to rest on, and within 5 seconds of closing my eyes the effect was over.

I carried salt, which was supposed to be put under the tongue, but I found it to have no effect, probably because I wasn’t really exposed. You can only feel the effects of tear gas if you inhale it.

I also passed the salt around, shouting “Garam! Garam! Garam!” which some people took. Most people who were already sitting and recovering were prepared – they had their own salt.

A photographer seemed to have sprained a leg. I gave him my bottle of water. (Also, I forgot my external flash, hence the shadow from my Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG on my Sony Alpha 77’s pop-up flash.)

Once you learned how to breathe through a thick towel or layers of cloth, you would have no fear of tear gas. After a round of tear gas and water cannons, the protesters would rush back in again and again! It was quite amusing to watch.

It was quite like a Boss Level – you die the first time because he attacks you strongly, then you learn that you need to hide behind a pillar when he’s shooting rockets, and then you attack him while he’s reloading.

Water cannons. People really feared this, running madly. I didn’t experience water cannons, so I don’t know if it was much worse than tear gas. The way they ran, it was like school, when you ran from the police and didn’t want to be caught. There would be no real consequence or harm, but you ran anyway!

I bumped into Reta, who came extra prepared! She had antacids on her face and a mask (though I doubt that would work.)

We ran through a little alley, past the old Chinese market.

It was not until we heard people shouting, “polis tangkap! Tangkap! Lari!” that we really decided to stop trying to get closer to the action.

It was probably the same for the others – tear gas and water cannons are nothing, compared to the inconvenience of a temporary arrest. We knew from Bersih 2.0 that you’d be arrested for no more than a day and treated to a nice buffet (since this was a PR exercise for the police, as well.) Before you get arrested, you’d get the customary police brutality, which would also be painful.

We walked past this road, where some very, very lost tourists were walking towards the riot police.

We walked past another lane, which I was about to turn into… then I saw a laughably small group of riot police. I then realized why this was a very wrong road to walk into – they had tear gas launchers!

As we walked past another road with riot police, a guy to my left shouted at them, calling them dogs. One riot policeman shouted back at him, and this continued for a bit until we could not see the riot police.

Are you going to be asleep, or are you going to protest for your country, to demand free and fair elections?

We walked up a hill, passed Stadium Negara, and opposite it, a school with a very yellow banner.

We ended up passing Hang Tuah station, then having dinner at Times Square.

We took the KL Monorail to KL Sentral, and JD and I parted ways. Here I took a picture of a random bunch, who, like me, had not gotten over the euphoria of the day.

I took the LRT to Masjid Jamek, but the train would not stop at Masjid Jamek! The background you see that is blurry, is in fact the trapped people in Masjid Jamek who were unable to board any trains!

I got off at Dang Wangi and decided to go back to Masjid Jamek, this time using flash. More trapped people who could not go home!

Finally, at 7pm, the doors opened, and we could get out. Here was the place that was home to a lot of chemical water and gas. Police were walking back to Dataran Merdeka after a long day of chasing people and randomly arresting them (nevermind that they may not have actually defied the court order by entering Dataran Merdeka!)

Interestingly, the crowd broke through the razor wire and entered the Dataran Merdeka, with the cops behind, not even bothering to stop them. It was, of course, a trap, that would allow them to violate the law and get arrested.

Let’s ignore the fact that the court order would in fact be illegal since the Peaceful Assembly Act 2011 only allows the Police to ask that the assembly be done somewhere else instead of denying the venue without suggesting an alternative area. Then again, I am not a lawyer, so take what I say with a pinch of salt.

Rubbish was strewn all over. Some say this was against the literal translation of Bersih, which is clean. However in their defense, the protesters had to run because water cannons were being sprayed!

I took the STAR LRT to PWTC. On the way, I took an overhead shot with flash. Quite cool to see all the policemen’s reflective jackets light up! They were still lingering around the Dataran Merdeka area.

Earlier, the police had used Dataran Merdeka as a ‘detention square‘. How ironic!

There was also the police car incident – videos from different angles can be seen here:
Accident involving police car and supporters

What I understand of it was, that a police car was driving nearby Sogo, when it honked and protesters started throwing stones and police cones at it, breaking the windshield and injuring the driver, causing him to swerve the car into the crowd, injuring at least 2 protesters. An angry mob then started attacking the car, jumping on it, and a helmeted cameraman, Mohamad Azri Salleh, ran to the scene, trying to save the policeman and fend off the mob. However, he was pulled aside and attacked. PKR’s Jingga 13 group defended the police car and brought the policeman to an ambulance. Somebody then shouted that there was somebody trapped under the car, so they overturned the car. Strangely though, none of the videos show the person underneath, but they initially tried to push the car back, so the person could be at the front of the car and pulled out. That is not clear. They also cheered, probably because they were relieved that there was nobody under the car! One woman shouted to get away from the car in case it exploded, so the crowd ran away.

If not for the car accident, I would have said that the rally was a success. It does shake me a little to know of the risks of being in a street demonstration are. However, I knew the risks involved, that anything could happen, that I could’ve been unlawfully arrested or injured, and I was mentally prepared for that.

With all the tear gas, water cannons, police violence, lawful and unlawful arrests, it makes you wonder – what kind of government puts patriots against patriots? We have the patriotic Malaysians who want to rally for free and fair elections, and patriotic Malaysians on duty who want to protect the citizens (but in this case, they have been ordered to protect a patch of grass.) All this could have been avoided if the police had allowed them to gather and sit down on the big field of grass known as Dataran Merdeka. There would have been no casualties, civilian or police, and no damage to public property.

Anyway, if you have decided you want to do more for Malaysia, be a Polling/Counting Agent!

Sign up for the training here. It is open to all citizens of Malaysia – you don’t need to be a member of any political party or the Election Commission, to participate in making sure the elections are free and fair! I’ve gone for the course myself, and learned so much about the electoral system.

I took some pictures from the first Bersih Rally, here:
Vote For Cleanliness!

My Grandfather, The Policeman

I wonder what my late grandfather would think of today’s Royal Malaysian Police Force – today’s FRU, today’s Special Branch, today’s ACA (renamed the MACC) and today’s traffic police, since he was one of them. Some of these, I only knew thanks to this article in the Malay Mail.

I never really asked him about his police days. He had long retired by then, and the only things I knew as a kid was that he received the Kesatria Mangku Negara (KMN) from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, which hangs proudly in his home, and that he had a shotgun, which he’d use to hunt crows (I can’t remember if this was with the MPPJ or DBKL.)

I also knew that he had to relocate a lot – my mom went to so many different schools!

One of my uncles was in the Royal Malaysian Air Force – I don’t know of all his roles but I know he was a traffic controller once. He often said the sense of duty to the country seeped down to him.

(No, not this uncle.)

Although I only really got to see him during festivities, somehow his values were transferred to me by some sort of osmosis through my mom – he was a teacher, and he being a SB officer might explain my investigative streak. My mom is a very by-the-book person, fastidiously following law, extremely trustworthy and accountable, and far more chivalrous than most men. (I did not inherit the chivalry bit, though.)

Heck, I could hold my mom to her word, which is why I have a problem with women when they don’t hold their word. She was quite like Optimus Prime (the righteous cartoon version, not the live-action ass-kicking version.)

I knew though, briefly, that he was a bit disappointed in today’s authorities. I didn’t ask him more, as I was young and was not yet very concerned about where the country was going, and where the police were not following procedure. Plus it was Christmas and I didn’t want to spoil the jovial mood.

I wonder what he would say now, if I had a T-shirt with Che Guevara’s face on it. I don’t have such a shirt, but I know children of army men who do!

I wonder what he would say about the communists, and the young men and women involved in politics who have been wrongly accused of being communists.

It was because of my grandfather that I do not have a motorbike. My grandfather showed my mom plenty of pictures of motorbike accidents when he was in the traffic police.

Somewhere in Cheras, I think.

The funeral procession was flanked with police motorbikes, and they stopped traffic for us at junctions, which was quite cool!

My other grandfather was also a teacher, and he told me horror stories about the Japanese Occupation, but I thought they were just stories to scare you as a kid. I wish I believed him, and I wish he was still around when I had to learn about it in History, in school.

Don’t worry, I am not sad – this was back in 2009. Though I am sad about today’s police, though.

What Do These Bands Have In Common?

Aiqa Halim

Altimet (I did not take this picture; it was taken from Shugar Studios’s pictures.)

An Honest Mistake

Ariff Akhir

Ash Nair (I did not take this picture; it was taken from Baldwin’s blog.)

Az Samad

Broken Scar

Broken Scar (more)

Broken Scar (even more)

Broken Scar (that’s it)

Car Crash Hearts

Cosmic Funk Express

Dina & The Crazy People (aka Dina of Malaysian Idol 1)

DJ Biggie

DJ Cza

Dragon Red

Estranged (featuring Adam on vocals)

Freeloaders Inc
Frequency Cannon


Hannah Tan

Hunny Madu

Ila Damiaa

Isaac Entry

Izzy Mohd

James Baum

Jin Hackman

Joe Flizzow

Kimberly Chin



Mr. Noisee (thanks to Francis Cobb for this picture)


Once Upon A Time There Was A Sausage Named Bob
One Buck Short


Rendra Zawawi


Ryan Lucas

Shelley Leong

Soft Touch


Sufiah Noor (Malaysian Idol Season 1)

The Sofa Sessions



Wisdom Of Sorrows


Zack Tay

What do all these bands have in common? Well, Alda Tan has played for all of them! I asked him once if he could list all the bands he has played for, from A to Z, even if it is just as a sessionist. He said then, many years ago when he was still involved with JamAsia, that he could at least cover A to M.

I don’t remember the list, but I searched back in my blog for every mention of Alda, and this is what I got. Can you fill in the blanks? What are the bands he played for?

Also, thanks to Adam Lobo, Aliff Screwthebox, David Rafael Buri, Jin Hackman, Joanne Kay, Francis Cobb, and the official Kartel Twitter account social media person, for their contributions to the list.

The band names are linked back to the blog post where I blogged about the gig that the picture comes from – some are re-edited in higher resolution. Some don’t have links because I haven’t blogged about those gigs, yet!

The first gig that I had ever been to was Good Golly, It’s A Gig! and I think the second was The Most Wanted Gig. I wrote:

Estranged, whose reputation preceded them, had the crowd cheering beforehand. I would find out why afterwards! They had influences of my two favorite bands, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Incubus. Interesting showmanship here too. Here was a bassist with the funky energy of Flea, sliding his bass, jumping about with the bass flying! At one point he was scratching his strings like a turntable! :O

The first song was somewhat grungy with electric guitar effects, followed by a bass-slap-intro metal-Incubus-style tune. Puzzle followed, with well-mannered screams in the bridge. Well mannered in the sense that the vocalist faced away from the crowd for his outburst. 🙂 Velocity played harder with effects, followed by another Incubus-chorused vocals song. They ended with a acid jazzy tune. My search was complete. However, where are any other Malaysian bands that sound like this?!?

The bassist I was referring to was Alda. This was where I first met him! After the gig, I went up to him and complimented him on his awesomeness on bass.

Alda, who is well-known in the underground music scene of the Klang Valley, later went on to organize many gigs in many venues (though I don’t think I could do an A to Z on that one.)

Anyway – he just suffered a stroke. I quote Zona, Alda’s sister:

My brother, Alda Evan Tan – talented musician and music promoter by night, social media community manager by day – turned 29 last month. And just last night, he had a stroke.

I’m living with my husband and my 14 month old daughter in Sydney, Australia – and was sickeningly devastated to get the news around 4am AEST that my brother was having brain surgery. I honestly thought my dad had his iPhone autocorrect go wrong on him. Sadly, no.

This is what happened, an account provided by very close friends of my brother’s (in Malaysian time):

Alda had a capillary burst in his brain last night. Brought to hospital and a brain op was conducted at 1.40am, done by 4.30am. It was successful but he is in an induced coma now to allow to heal. In ICU as well. He collapsed mid-song while jamming.

(Taken from

Sadly, Alda and his family does not have health or medical insurance, so they have large bills to pay. So this is my call to whoever’s reading, to help him and his family out. You can help by sending his family contributions. Click here for details how to.

Back when I went bald to raise funds for charity, Alda did too! (Though he did so at home and recorded a video.)

On a side note, yes insurance does help somewhat – though not as smoothly, in my experience – I had gotten a Guarantee Letter that I could be admitted and the insurance company would pay, but when I was discharged, they said they would not. So I had to pop a vein and berate the insurance company! I had to pay for myself, to be discharged. It was only a few days later that the insurance company reversed their decision.

A government hospital is admittedly cheaper, even for a longer stay, but I still haven’t gotten my insurance claim form for that one! So it seems like you still gotta pay, but with insurance, you might get your money back!

Also, Alda was born in 1983, same year as me, and it scares the shit out of me that you can get a stroke at this age! This just reminds us all again that we’re not getting any younger and that we need to take care of our health. No more sleeping late, eating high-cholesterol food, copious amounts of alcohol and smoke – you might find a better quality of life with more portions of vegetables and fruit, water and exercise.

EDITED 11th June 2012: Alda passed away peacefully at 4:45am.

There will be a wake service at St. Ignatius Church, Jalan SS 25/23, Taman Plaza, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia, at 8pm, on Monday 11th June, Tuesday 12th June and Wednesday 13th June. The funeral service will be at 10am Thursday 14th June at St. Ignatius Church as well. He will be cremated at the MBPJ Crematorium, Kampung Tunku, Petaling Jaya at 11:30am Thursday, 14th June 2012.

Relationship Status: A Review

Greetings! I have something special for you today – a wordy blog post!

So I watched Relationship Status, a film by Khairil M. Bahar. (As a disclaimer – I know him and a few cast members and some behind-the-scenes people.)

A cautionary note: I often struggle to write a review of something if I know what I would criticize and forget how to underline the good bits.

The film is about a bunch of loosely-connected people who are in various types of relationships – with the general theme of Facebook, and its “relationship status”, affecting how they act and who they meet. The film is, well, mostly a lot of dialogue, with little or no action, other than one slap and mild pillow action. One might call it somewhat draggy because of this.

On the plus side, the dialogue is very real, and the pacing and articulation is what you experience in real life – kudos to all the amazing actors – but you might realize that Hollywood caters to the short-attention-span generation, and your typical movie scene is shorter, wittier, more dramatic, and faster-paced. As I watched the dialogues, it was as if I was an invisible fly, sitting in my neighbor’s house, listening to them have a leisurely talk.

I’m not sure if it’s just me, being a photographer, but it did bother me each time the Canon 5D Mark II used to shoot the movie, went out of focus – and it did, many times, with some scenes having the sofa be in focus, or the camera operator was inexperienced with focus pulling, especially when the actor was moving in the scene. It’s quite apparent when there is a sharp zone of focus across an actor’s cheeks but not anywhere else! I’d rather stop the lens down just a tiny bit as a full-frame video camera is unforgiving.

You know what movie has awesome bokeh? The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1. I kid you not. The bokeh in that movie is awesome – backgrounds are painted with a lush, rich, saturated brush.

The other niggle I had, which might’ve been the projector, was the white balance – many scenes were shot (seemingly) with room lighting only, so you get the icky flourescent green and a pallid greenish orange for tungsten. It gives too much of an indie look which distracted me from the conversation – honestly I’d rather set the white balance to appear like daylight as that is how humans perceive it.

The camera angles are good, though there was one bit in Daphne/Tony’s scene where they are having a conversation, and it looks like the camera operator is standing in front of the sofa they are sitting on. It suddenly jumps to a eye-level shot of Daphne as she says something pivotal. Impactful, perhaps, but strange.

And of course there’s that rather bumpy baby bump. I did enjoy the scenes with Ruzana/Daphne, though, with the audience feeling the tense build up to the inevitable. I wish more of the movie was like this!

The movie starts with a guy writing “Hope your well” on a girl’s Facebook wall. Now this would be alright… if he wasn’t a writer. Apologies for the Grammar Nazi outburst. Heil The Queen’s English!

Hmmm, or was it a snide poke at how social networks and the Internet have killed our command of English? Then again, English is a language with terribly inconsistent rules.

Interestingly, Davina, and the character she plays, has the same birthdate! I wonder what other nuggets are there e.g. Ilmar.

I don’t know if it’s because I know Khai, and I’ve seen his previous movie, Ciplak (which was awesome, and high on entertainment value and his trademark humor) that I couldn’t help but feel that this was not what I had expected. Plus he had experience in the Malaysian film industry, as well as short films of all sorts (which I always looked forward to, because of entertainment value).

Nevertheless, it is a good movie that feels real. So please go watch Relationship Status at a TGV near you today! (Also, TGV has massively overhauled their site and it is real snazzy that it doesn’t need any plugins. Well done!)

My Apple Story

I am admittedly an Android fanboy, but today I shall tell you the stories of Apple and my close encounters with the tech giant.

Steve Jobs passed away from pancreatic cancer on the 5th of October 2011. The Internet was abuzz with stories of how they loved Apple and Steve Jobs. The Internet, just the day before, was abuzz with Apple lovers and Apple haters all trolling the underwhelming iPhone 4S. I resisted the urge to troll because really, I did have respect for him, although I never agreed with any of Apple’s products. I understood why they were made that way, but I also knew that they didn’t work for my way.

When I was a kid, I first saw my cousins playing Karateka on their computer. Years later, I found out that it was actually an Apple clone. Remember back in the days when computers were either made by IBM, or “IBM compatible”? Yes, other companies made Apple-compatible clones back then, legally. Of course, Apple no longer allows this.


When I was about 12 years old, I learnt BASICA from my dad’s IBM-compatible XT computer. It loaded off a diskette. I learnt how to write my first HELLO WORLD program from books that he had photocopied and binded.

10 CLS
30 END

One Chinese New Year, I met my uncle (not related to those cousins) and he told me he studied Computer Science in the United States. He programmed in BASIC, too… but not in BASICA. Instead, he programmed in Apple BASIC! When he told me this, it was as if he had come from an alternate parallel universe! He pulled out a book about Apple BASIC and I read it. Whoa, what weirdness is this? I thought.

It is interesting to note, that BASIC brought Microsoft and Apple together many years ago, when Steve Wozniak was making a BASIC interpreter for Apple, and he just never got around to making it support floating-point numbers. (I find it weird that Steve Jobs didn’t then dictate that it would not be, and that decimal points and real numbers don’t exist.) And so, Apple turned to Microsoft, who had made a BASIC interpreter that supported floating point operations, and asked for help.

Throughout my high school life I was surrounded by IBM-compatible PCs and Microsoft Windows. Quake was the rage, and I brought my computer to school so we could all play Counter-Strike 5.5, I think.

Jam Hari-Hari

It wasn’t until I was in college, when I would hang out at malls, that I’d bump into Jamhari, my old schoolmate, who was working at Machines, 1 Utama. They had an electric guitar there, and it was plugged to a Power Mac G4 (I think) running Garageband. It was then I got a feel of the mouse that had no right-click. It was slippery and weird. Why couldn’t I just maximize a screen, dammit? Worse of all was that when I turned on an effect of any kind, there would be a delay between what I played and what came out of the speakers. I can’t remember if the delay was there when all effects were off. And often, it would crash.

So yeah, I had a good idea of how ‘stable’ Mac products were.

At home, I had built my own PC, and put in a SoundBlaster Live! 5.1 card, with a microphone input. I borrowed (another) cousin’s electric guitar and plugged it in. The SBLive! card allowed you to tweak EAX effects and add distortion, autowah, flanger, and so on, all in real time, with no lag!

So again, I gave a big meh at the big shiny metal Power Mac G4. What a load of overpriced, underperforming crap it was, I thought.

My First Opposition

At that time, I’d listen to MP3s on my MP3 player, that doubled as a USB thumb drive. I could just copy songs in, and copy them out, with nobody getting in my way. The iPod, however, would only let you copy songs in, but not out, and only through iTunes, and it could occasionally wipe out your songs if you hold it the wrong way. Nah I’m just kidding about the hold-wrong-way part. 😉

Plus, I never understood the whole click wheel navigation. So I thought the iPod was gay. To own it back then, you’d either have to be gay, or a musician. That impression of mine continued on to the hipsters lugging Macbooks around.

I understand why the iPod did that, to protect the music industry. However, that was none of my business – I just wanted to get my songs from home to office and back.


It was around then that I was frequently chatting with Mystery Wolf on MSN. I remember that she had an iMac, and MSN for iMac was missing a lot of features like voice chat. I remember us thinking how sucky it was to have a Mac back then, to have lousy software support.

I also remember the Machines shops, because they were the only places that sold games for Macs! Again, I laughed and felt pity for them when I saw a small shelf of games. Quake 2 was there. In the PC shop next door, they’d sell Quake 3 for Windows! It was quite a while after that I noticed Quake 3 for Mac. Which is funny, since I have the impression that John Carmack and company liked Macs, but understood that the market was with the Microsoft platform.

Powered By Mac

Meanwhile, at Digital Five where I worked, a new Creative Director was hired, and he was all into Macs. So he bought all the designers Powermac G5 workstations! The developers were just like me – what, program on a Mac? No way. So we chose to get souped-up Dells instead.

I remember that whenever a designer asked me for help and I took that (again) slippery mouse, I ended up being frustrated when I just wanted to click something on the side of the screen and I end up teleporting to another screen. Dammit, stop flipping already!

After a year, some of the Macs weren’t in such good shape and were crashing. Some designers were not enamoured at all by the end of the experience, and would rather use a PC.

When the iPhone came, but in Malaysia, amongst the people I knew, nobody knew about it.

Then the iPhone 3G came. Again, nobody.

It wasn’t until the iPhone 3GS that I knew of two colleagues, both designers, who secretly desired the iPhone 3GS but would not admit it. So they both secretly went to order it. I was there, I touched it, but I wasn’t enamoured – I didn’t like the idea of touchscreens then, as they felt slippery to me. Typing on the keyboard, to me, was like playing Super Mario and running all the time – you’ll slide off the edges and fall into holes! I didn’t like that feeling at all.

And then, Apple really took off in Malaysia. I’d say the level of fanboyism multiplied greatly as of the iPhone 3GS. Before this, could you ever get annoyed by someone who loved his/her iPod? Not likely. The iPhone 3GS however, amplified antisocial behavior at dinners and parties. If anybody started playing with their phones and annoying their company, it was the iPhone 3GS owners first.

Somehow, Blackberry owners never got any flak, because we knew Blackberry people were attending to serious business, while iPhone owners were just playing games!

It seemed around the same time, that Macbook owners started coming out. I’m sure people owned Macbooks before this, just that they didn’t express their love as openly as they did before. So I’d see someone I knew with a Macbook and I’d think, “eh, I didn’t know you were gay!”

Then of course came the iPad, iPhone 4 and iPad 2. I still resist the urge to ask people which contest they won their iPad 2 from (this punchline was stolen from Yauhui…)

In my opinion, iOS was always missing some big feature, be it MMS, 3G, Bluetooth, multitasking, good notifications, voice recognition, that would only be introduced in the next version. I always thought iOS to be incomplete, compared to mature OSes like Symbian.

A modern smartphone is made of:
– a CPU
– a 3G/4G radio (radio meaning wireless modem, really, not a AM/FM radio)
– a touchscreen
– one or more cameras
– an external, removable storage slot
– internal storage
– a Bluetooth radio
– a WiFi radio

Every smartphone OS before iOS allowed full interoperability between each of the above components.

I could take a picture with my camera, put the micro SD card in the phone, and upload it via 3G or WiFi, or even Bluetooth it to a friend.

Heck I could take a picture and Bluetooth it to a friend. Or send a contact via Bluetooth.

I could have a 3G video call, involving the 3G radio and the camera.

I could run a WiFi website from my phone, so my computer could access all its files wirelessly, including the songs.

The iPhone, of course, could not do any of that! Why do I have to email an iPhone user a picture, when their phone is right next to mine? What if we can’t get an Internet connection and we’re at a restaurant underground where there is no 3G reception?

That is why I say the iPhone is a smartphone, but it’s not smart enough.

Sure, you can jailbreak the iPhone and hack it to your heart’s content, installing Android-style notifications and Android-style “Live Wallpapers”… but an un-hacked Android still is a lot more capable, out of the box. Heck you can’t interact with the fake Live Wallpapers on jailbroken iPhones. On Android you can click the Live Wallpaper (or tilt the phone, or cover the light meter, or talk to it) to interact with it.


I see why Apple did what they did. Why they left out so many features. They wanted each feature to be perfect in their view, and it’s quite likely that a feature that could not be completed by a certain date would be pushed to next year’s release.

I am also begrudgingly thankful to Steve Jobs for killing. He killed the arrow keys! The first Macintosh didn’t have arrow keys so that people were forced to use the mouse. Of course, the keys came back in the next Mac, and we all eventually got used to the mouse. Eventually.

He also killed the CD, with the iPod, and the iPad, that won’t accept CDs!

He killed resistive screens, for which I am thankful.

He killed buttons with the iPhone. Though some may view the 3 compulsory buttons on Android and Windows Phone 7 to be old-school thinking, I disagree. The Back, Home and Menu buttons make multi-tasking on Android far superior. (Pressing Back on Windows Phone 7 when at Home loads the last loaded app, which is really neat, because it undoes a Home press!)

You may say hey, doesn’t iOS have multi-tasking? Sure, but you can’t flow between programs as easily. An example:

You’re playing Angry Birds, and you waste a bird and want to restart the level. Then you see the ad for a fluffy Angry Bird collectible. You click on it.

It loads the Android Browser. You want to share this with your friends on Facebook. So you long-press on the URL and click Share page. Android shows you a list of applications that you can use to share URLs with.

Like so. (Yes, I have an unreleased Twitter app.)

I choose Facebook, and Facebook loads a dialog that lets me post the URL. I am now in the Facebook app! So I shared it, and I press Back, and I am back in the Browser!

I can then long-press the URL again, and click Share page, and choose to share it over Google+, or ANY app that I have installed on my Android, that is capable of sharing!

So yeah, where was I? Angry Birds. So I press Back, and the Browser window closes, and I am back playing Angry Birds.

Angry Birds -> Browser -> Facebook -> back to Browser -> Google+ -> back to Browser -> back to Angry Birds

Note that I did not have to press the Home button (like on iOS) to get back to the Browser or Angry Birds. I just press Back.

This also helps if I am doing something important, and I get distracted by an incoming message. I reply the message, then I press Back, and I get to continue whatever important thing it was that I was doing!

Meanwhile, iOS doesn’t let an app launch another app. They’d rather you open a link in a browser window, within your app. You also cannot share to any program you like, so you’ll have to wait a while before your favorite apps let you share with Google+ or LinkedIn or Flickr etc.

If you’ve taken a picture on Android, you can Share the picture with any app that can share pictures or edit them! So I don’t have to load the PicPlz app and take another picture just so I can use a PicPlz effect on it! Or a MyTubo effect. Or a Paper Camera effect. Or a Flickr effect.

And so I wonder where Apple is going, seriously – they seem to be listening to what people want, or what other people have, a bit too much lately – look at iOS 5 and the iPhone 4S! How much of that is anything as nefarious as Steve ripping the arrow keys out and forcing people to use the mouse, or ripping out the right-click, or removing the floppy disk drive, or?

Nothing has been forced on the customer in 2011. In iOS 5, users have the option to set notifications to drop down from the top (banner), pop-up in front (alert) or not show at all. I don’t see any of Steve’s trademark, radically changing and forcing users to learn something new. How will users migrate then, if it is optional? Who is going to tell you that you’re holding it wrong?

Yeah, I guess I would miss someone like that, telling people that they’re holding it wrong. Rest in peace, Steve Jobs.

The Dead Crow, And Politics

The dead crow.

Bang! Goes the DBKL crow shooter.

My deceased maternal grandfather was an ex-serviceman, and he fought communists in the jungle.

No, that is not my grandfather in the picture. 😀

He retired, and would go on these crow-shooting sessions, and get paid for each crow shot.

And yes, I have seen his shotgun. You don’t see one in the average Malaysian home!

Which brings me to an interesting pontification, a reflection if you will.

Recently, I do not remember how, I came about to read about Che Guevara, who I quote Wikipedia, was an “Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist”. He travelled Latin America, seeing the condition it was in, and formed his ideas then, and it shaped his mission in life.

Some simplify him to being a violent communist.

I’d say my political stance is that I prefer everything to be done for the benefit of living beings (is that wide enough a blanket statement?)

Capitalism is great, yeah – you work more, you earn more, but it does come at the expense of some due to greed.

Egalitarianism is great – equal oppurtunity for all, everyone has the same rights.

I don’t think socialism is all that bad, either. The idea that we all work for the benefit of all is good, though it arguably causes no innovation, and that people not aligned with the idea will not work. I fancy the idea of decentralized power, and less power tiers… but there will always be leaders because followers can’t figure stuff out themselves. (Unless education advances until everyone figures it out… or we become The Borg*).

And isn’t communism ironic, being that there is no higher class, that there is a State that controls everything?

The world’s most famous photo is Guerrillero Heroico, a portrait of Che Guevara when he was at a funeral, looking brave in the face of adversity. The photographer, Alberto Korda, did not claim any royalties or payment for the picture, because he believed that the picture should be shared for the benefit of all, to spread the revolution.

Which brings me to another tangent.

Open source and free for all, versus closed source that you’d have to buy. Or patents, to lock your ideas as money.

So Microsoft and Apple are obviously capitalists.

Google, on the other hand, what are they? Some kind of egalitarian pseudo-socialist entity? They give their services away for free, for the benefit of all, and break borders. Their idea is that information is free and will eventually float in the air.

Of course, they are incentive-driven also – they sell ads in these services. And who pays for these ads? The capitalists!

So I am grateful for the Google model (or the free TV/newspaper model). Though they still need the capitalists until we can figure something out.

While I am not going to install Linux anytime soon (unless you count Android as a Linux system) I do really like the idea of open source. One programmer decides to make a cool program or library, because there isn’t one, and knows his/her efforts will help programmers all around the world. Then somebody else improves on it, and puts the improvements in! This utopian idea allows for collaborative innovation.

Of course, programmers still have to pay for food in a capitalist non-utopian society, so they still have a day job.

I recently helped out by doing unpaid work for a NGO, and have become a bit more charitable than before. Though I’d have to say I could only do so after earning a bit more.

I wonder if Bill Gates just wanted to write some cool programs and ended up being the richest man on Earth. Fortunately with the excess, he has given a load to charity. Unfortunately, Bill isn’t like the coolest dude you’d want to look up to.

What about Steve Jobs? Sure, he could’ve been donating anonymously, but with his cult of personality, could he at least donate some money and make that act known publicly? His followers would follow, inspired by their leader, and that would benefit more people (instead of just having another Starbucks coffee while playing games on their iPads.)

* Footnote – I quite like the idea of The Borg – a fictional society in Star Trek, where the members are humanoids with cybernetic links to a shared network. Which is really quite like Twitter except you see the tweets of everyone on the network!

So imagine you wanted to know where the bus B79 was because you wanted to get to a restaurant. A thought stream could go like this:
You: Where is this B79 bus? I’m craving for an awesome cheeseburger.
Borg on the road: Hey I see it in front of me, at latitude 3 11 2.3 longitude 101 23 6.9.
Borg who travels a lot: Oh, that would take about 15 minutes to get there.
Borg friend: Hey can I join you for a cheeseburger? Oh wait I read your mind already, yes I can.
Borg friend 2: Yes me too!

It’s Twitter in your brain – I see smashpOp lining up to be assimilated already!

I don’t buy the idea of a violent Borg (except unless its shared ideals was to assimilate everyone because they believe it is a good state to be in… “hey why aren’t you on Twitter?” sound familiar?) So a violent Borg would then, after assimilating everyone, become a peaceful Borg, and having shared collective thought, cured cancer and all illnesses so they could live forever. They might just decide to kill themselves, like how the Q (a race in Star Trek which can be anywhere, any time, knows everything) felt that such a life was pointless.

Ah, but how did I get so far from this, the dead crow?