Moodswings of KL

The city sometimes suffers from horrendous moodswings. Just last week, it rained incessantly to cause congestion everywhere. It was as if it came down with a vengeance after a long drought.

The last several however tells a very different story. The sun shone brightly unimpeded by cloud during the day, making traveling for any purpose a dreaded chore. At night, it is just impossible to sleep without something to artificially lower down the temperature.

But this moodswing is part of the fun living in KL.

When it is hot and the sky is blue, it is just a good day to go out there with a camera in hand, even if the heat starts to get to you. Except that, I frequently find myself trapped in my employment, having little time to do what I enjoy.

The downpour is a pain, especially when it happens during rush hour in the evening. All I want to do at the end of the day is have my dinner, hit the bed and nothing else.

Nevertheless, at the end of my working hour during a rainy day, I would drive through a stretch of road. It has clear view of the skyline of the city to the southeast. As much as I hate walking to the rain to get my car being all soak and wet, I must admit, watching low cloud floating around the Petronas Twin Towers with the light shooting through it is breathtaking.

I may complain about the moodswing but I dare say that will be exactly what I will miss when I leave this city behind for Sydney next year.

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Don’t use the stairwell while at Suria KLCC

Have you ever used the stairs in Suria KLCC?

I have and it wasn’t a pretty experience.

I thought the elevators were too slow with lazy people using it just to get a floor up or down. I can’t stand that kind of people. Meanwhile the escalators were too far away and too many people using it. As usual, people hog the path. I was in a slight hurry because I was beginning to restless with the mall. But before that, I wanted to go down two floors.

With jumping off the floor not a viable option — I certainly intended to keep my legs intact — I looked around for an alternative and there, I saw a sign announcing to the world of a stairwell nearby. I was just 10 or 20 meters away from me and I thought, I could use the exercise and pace a bit.

As I got into the stairwell, there was something on my mind. I don’t remember what was it but I wanted to go out of the stairwell for a moment. As it turned out, I was in Hotel California. “You can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave!”

I could go pass through the door into the stairwell but I could not get out. The door could only be opened from the outside but not from the inside.

After applying whatever force I could muster, I gave up and went down one story to try its door. The situation remained the same: I could not get out.

I started to panic but I looked around again and I saw a sign: exit, go down. I needed to go down the the ground level to exit the stairwell. Great design folks!

A stairwell with only one exit! What if the ground floor was on fire? There is no common sense in it.

But I did not want to go to the ground floor. I wanted to go somewhere else.

There was a sense of relief when I saw a janitor cleaning the stairs. I asked him how do I get out there. It turned out, he couldn’t speak English, or Malay. He was a foreigner. Okay. Creepy. This started to feel like some horror movie. I gave on him and started to bang on that level’s door.

“Somebody, open up, please”.

Weird enough, somebody opened it. Another janitor fortunately for me was working just behind the door. He opened it to check out the commotion I caused.

And I was free.

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Vigil against ISA at Bukit Aman

Yet another protest.

This time, it is against the use of the Internal Security Act by the government against a reporter who reported a racially sensitive statement made by a politician belonging to the ruling coalition, against an opposition Member of Parliament who has nothing to do with the accusation which the government made against her and a blogger who allegedly insulted Islam (whereas in fact, he only insulted those in power).

So, I was there and as promised, more photos from the protest.

The police wanted the crowd to disperse and so, the crowd did so by walking toward a car park down the stream. From a gathering, it became a procession.

I was there early but had trouble joining the crowd because a police officer prevented me to do so. But being somewhat an anarchist myself, I found another way in. There, the police with shield were surrounding surrounding the crowd.

And so we walked and walked and made a couple of stops here and there, much to the annoyance of the men in blue.

Every time we made a stop, there would be a speech and reporters swarmed the speaker.

But we moved on when the police warned us to disperse yet again. They even escorted us with cars! I thought only politicians get police escort! Ambulances, fire fuck trucks and civilians like you and me do not usually get police escort! What a privilege!

There were really not kidding about escorting us!

The cat and mouse game lasted for over an hour. In the end, the police decided to mingle with us, trying to give the impression that they were willing to arrest folks at the vigil. These officers which kept distance from the vigil participants moved in concert toward the crowd. The balaclava clad personnel was nowhere in sight however. I am unsure where were the police special branch people were though.

After a while, the whole game was getting tiring and in stages, the crowd was getting thinner and thinner and thinner…

It was time to go home.

Freedom Film Fest 2008 and bygone summer

I was at the Central Market Annexe yesterday for the Freedom Film Fest. I was there to particular attend the premier of Pecah Lobang, a documentary on transsexuals in Malaysia which is directed by a friend, Poh Si Teng. Her work is one of three films which received a grant from the organizer of the Fest.

I played a very minor in the production of the documentary by doing some translation work. So, my name is listed somewhere in the credits at the end of the film. It was fun seeing your own name up in the screen.

I thought helping to translate the document was as easy as ABC but it was harder it seemed to be. The greatest debate I had in my head was whether I should should “he” or “she” when referring to the transsexuals. I neither want to offend them nor infuse my bias into the issue because Poh Si was vehemently neutral on the matter. And translating Malay to English and vice versa sometimes takes away the context of a conversation for the sake of clarity.

The most important thing about the film however is how it makes me to become more appreciative of the issues faced by the transsexuals in Malaysia. Many transsexuals are involved in the sex industry unwillingly because of the reluctance of the Malaysian society to properly recognize them as well as the discrimination which they face. Their inability to secure a decent job due to issue of recognition and discrimination is the factor which force them to go into the sex industry. And while trying to earn a living, they are being prosecuted.

A number of transsexuals were there are the screening. Since some of them were the subjects of Poh Si’s documentary, I recognize some of them. One of them is as beautiful as portrayed in the documentary. I would not have been able know she is a transsexual if I have not watched Pecah Lobang.

I figure I am not the only person unable to recognize transsexual based on look along. As far as I sympathize with the transsexual community, I do not plan to have a romantic relationship with a transsexual. Yet, the inability to recognize them pose a problem. For this reason alone, I think there is a strong reason for our society to officially recognize transsexual and stop discrimination and prosecuting them. With that, information on one’s gender will be more readily available and consequently, avoiding awkward moments.

There was a Q&A session after the screen and I thought I admire Poh Si’s dedication to neutrality.

Several members of the audience asked of her opinion on the issues but she steadfastly refused to share her opinion, lest that affects the message of the film.

After awhile, it was time to go home.

I really love going to the Annexe but there is something sad about leaving the Annexe in the middle of the night. The walk to the train station is always lonely and I thought I would prefer to be in the company of friends all night long instead.

Talking about that, the summer has been spectacular for me. I met a lot of new friends and had a lot of fun. I do not remember when was the last time I truly enjoyed going out to the city. It is too bad that the summer is coming to an end and friends are leaving for the United States again. To borrow a couple of sentences from a friend, the “summer’s coming to an end. Even the persistently sunny skies of Malaysia are darker and the streets cooler with the constant rain. All good things must come to an end eventually, as they always say and so we all move on.”

Pray for New Orleans

Metblogs New Orleans is on the ground covering Hurricane Gustav.

KL wish them good luck. Be safe!

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They put it up and then tore it down

It is August and that means time for exhibit a sense of patriotism, fake or otherwise.

The authority had put up colorful banners, bunting and other similar stuff to make known of out happy the society is in celebrating the upcoming national holiday. I drive along Jalan Tun Razak on almost daily basis and I couldn’t help but notice the banners along the road, wrapping the pillars which support the elevated highway above. All was happy and dandy, until earlier this morning.

As I was frantically trying to beat the traffic on the same road, I spotted that the banners, all of them, have been torn down. I assume it was the same authority that put it up due to how clean the did it. All is left now are the metal skeleton that surround the pillars.

I wonder why they did it?

Printing error maybe?

I wonder how much did it cost us, the residents.

Are the authority going to up a new design up?

Stay tuned as we investigate at how taxpayers money is being spent so recklessly by the City Hall.

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Introducing The Hub


If Metblogs is a city, hub.metblogs is the playground. We kept hearing from people that one of their favorite parts of Metblogs was meeting and interacting with readers and writers from other parts of the world, as well as getting requests for more ways that readers could be involved besides just posting comments. We thought about this for a while and decided that with a network like this, a giant community area where folks from all over the world could hang out, post photos and videos, talk with each other, form groups, play games, send messages, and do about a million other things was probably a pretty fun idea. The Hub is that.

If you have any tech ideas or suggestions join this group and speak up. See you on hub.metblogs!

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Protesting the Kelana Jaya protest for being dull

With all the rumors and hypes, I thought Sunday should be one of those days when history is written in the most dramatic manner. With talks of army on the streets, road blocks almost to the proportion of Bersih rally, police threats and the boast of expected one million attendees, the event turned out to be quite a dull affair.

I was filled with excitement at the prospect of a state of emergency or a military coup d’tat. Nat’s appeal only fueled my expectation of “something big” would be happening.

Today however, July 6, was sort of kiddies stuff which definitely unworthy of my time. I should have stayed at home and play Civilization 4 instead. But there I was and this is a story of how I spent my dull Sunday’s evening.

In fact, it is so dull that I’ll just let the pictures tell you what happened.


Okay, it was noisy from the outside and I thought there were many people. Of course, I didn’t expect one million turn out because the organizer has a knack for exaggeration but I did expect the number to match Bersih. So, I was all excited. Still, the compound looked nothing compared to Titiwangsa Lake Garden on a weekend.


“Wow. They have a stage!”, I yelled to my imaginary friends.


And then I saw the crowd. “Is this a revolution?” Clearly, an oversize party on a Sunday’s evening but nothing inspiring. Hell, all that commies talk made the event less inspiring but I did prepare myself for those leftist propaganda but I was shocked at the disappointing turnout.


Or maybe, being a libertarian and unimpressed with socialism, I am biased and critical of the gathering because there were actually more people around.


Yup. Add another 10s to the equation and you get the amount of people there, which at maximum was definitely 1,000,000 minus 999,999 people. Okay, not quite but I’m sure that you get the idea.

The protest was so uninspiring — did I tell you earlier that it was boring? &mdash that a guy could lay down on oh so sexily.


Maybe it was just me. Maybe I came at the wrong time. Reports have it that there were 10,000 earlier in the morning.

But I sort of told myself, the number should swell when Anwar Ibrahim comes. At first, the organizer said the man would show up after Maghrib. That probably meant 20:00. Then the organizer said the man would show up after Isyak. That probably meant 21:00.

But I told myself, screw it. I am going home. Besides, the populist speeches were starting to get on nerve.

Army on the streets of KL

The rumor mills are on overdrive with steroid added on top of it when the army are seen patrolling the streets of KL. Nik Nazmi reports that he saw military personnel dominating the scene of Kelana Jaya, the area where a huge gathering is scheduled to be held tomorrow. Anwar Ibrahim is rumored to make a very important announcement during that gathering.

Earlier, Anwar Ibrahim promised Malaysia with a new government by Malaysia Day, September 16. The government of the day is definitely worried about it. Meanwhile, the credibility of Anwar Ibrahim is on the line if he fails to make good of this promise. The gathering tomorrow may have something to do with the promise.

But we will never know for sure.

Meanwhile, Nat is visibly worried with military presence in the city.

Words on the street have it that an state of emergency might be declared tomorrow, depending on what kind of announcement Anwar will make. The fact that KL Sentral itself had an “emergency drill” last week or so grants the rumor some credibility, if the very visible presence of the military fails to do so.

All in all, like what a friend said to me, it is an exciting time to be a Malaysian.

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Tearing down the grandeur of Stadium Merdeka

“Abang 24 jam awal.”

Oh, the pain of mistake. I have been anticipating Farish Noor’s third public lecture so much that I decided to turn up a day earlier. I took a look at my Facebook with my Blackberry and I couldn’t believe it that I overlooked the word “tomorrow” so clearly printed on the screen. All that effort of getting out of bed and traveling all the way to the heart of the city now seemed so utterly wasted.

But I was determined to make the best of it and I decided to take a walk with my camera. And it is amazing how small the city is. I guess being “older” always requires redefinition, just like my experience with the Perdana Lake Garden.

Starting from the Central Market, I walked toward Leboh Ampang to marvel at facade of buildings built back during colonial times. While on H. S. Lee, I spotted the famed Petaling Street and I didn’t recall when the last time I had walked through the street was. It could have been years and so, I decided to visit it.


This was about 16:00 when the situation was not too disorderly. There were still activities but mainly on the sides. There was ample room to walk in the middle of the covered street, which westerners seemingly amused at the street culture.


Another kind of foreigners were being hunted by the RELA team. A group of this voluntary force together with two or three police officers was seen checking for possible illegal immigrants. I saw several foreigners were taken away, possibly for failure to produce documentation.

It didn’t take long before I reached the end of the street and I had a choice of heading back to the train station for home or walk on. Since it was a blue sky day, I told myself, “what the heck, it’s a beautiful day.”


Soon, after walking along Hang Jebat, just after Jalan Sultan, I found myself at the Merdeka Stadium. I walked around its parameter, looking for ways to get in. It seemed deserted and so, I didn’t think going to through front entrance would help.

While searching for ways to get in, I remember long ago when I watched a soccer match in the stadium. Those were the glory days of the stadium when it was actually useful. Back then, the stadium felt huge but today, it looked like some insignificant stadium.


I had wanted to climb over but with buses and cars could be seen passing by, I gave up the idea. Besides, a police district headquarters was nearby. With a sign “intruder will be prosecuted” standing silent nearby, I thought spending the night in a lockup is not my idea of spending the weekend. So, I almost gave up up I got to the front entrance with a door opened, guarded only by a security officer whom was clearly bored.

It didn’t take much to get in.

At the gallery, there were collages of images, supposedly telling the story of this country. Like so many thing in Malaysia, the collages tell the story of UMNO. Sacrifices of other groups were total ignored. Even during the August 31 celebration held at the stadium which saw Tunku Abdul Rahman officially declaring a free Malaya, it was an UMNO event, not that of Malaysia. I’m only glad that many Malaysians thought the arrogant UMNO a lesson on March 8.


I walked across the field. The condition befits a ran down community field. Without the sign “Stadium Merdeka”, I would think this was just another pathetic stadium deserved to be torn down for redevelopment.

I felt sad that I felt nothing when I stood in the middle. The magic of the stadium had died long before I ever thought of this moment. Despite priding myself for being a rational person and refused to label myself as a nationalist, I could sometimes find myself taken by notable moments. A speech, an injustice, etc. I know that I am always moved by anything appealing to the idea of liberty. Yet, there was the stadium, here I was in it, at best indifferent, at worst disgusted at the fate of the building. An old shophouse in Kluang would awe me more than Stadium Merdeka.

Really, if this is the state of the stadium, a redevelopment exercise is overdue.


On the other side of the field, two persons were dismantling metal pieces for unknown reason. They seemed to be employed by the management of the stadium, which is Perbadanan Nasional Berhad.


At the stage, I saw the shadow of the wording of Stadium Merdeka down on the field. That perhaps the best part of the whole excursion. I walked down and looked up toward the wording. The sun was shining right behind it, with the cloud blocking part of the sun and blue sky everywhere else. It was beautiful and I wanted to memorialize it.

Alas, the camera died on me.

“Well, time to go home.”

Lining up at the Postal Offices is for fools!

Yup. All of them got one year to do it but too many of them must do it yesterday.

What? Is their discount rate so high that they couldn’t wait for a few more days? Ridiculous.

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Lining up at the gas station is for fools


I especially annoyed at those whom rushed to the gas stations to fill their tank up after learning of the fuel prices hike which is due this midnight. These guys caused unnecessary traffic congestion!

Really guys, rushing to the gas stations only will save you at most a couple of hundred bucks. Most of you probably saved less than a hundred bucks. Was the time spent waiting worth all that? Think of how much gas you burned while waiting.

Real saving comes from using public transportation, car-pooling and dumping gas-guzzlers for efficient cars.

There is a saying for this: penny wise, pound foolish.

KL is virtually cloudy

Have anybody noticed how cloudy KL is on Google Maps, Google Earth and Wikimapia lately?


I use these three applications extensively to drive around KL and now, I am blinded! I can’t see where I am going!

Why do they update their maps only to use inferior ones?

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OMFG, not again!

The haze is coming! The haze is coming! Every man for himself!

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s annual problem of dry weather and hazy skies look to be here again.

A check with the Malaysian Meteorological Services Department revealed 207 hotspots in Sumatra on Sunday, a drop from Saturday’s 372 hotspots in that area.

Peninsular Malaysia had four hotspots, while Borneo had 52.


According to the Department of Environment website,, the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings showed Port Klang’s reading was 100 at about 8pm Sunday.

Other areas with relatively high readings were Taiping (71), Muar (68), Kuala Terengganu (67), Kuala Selangor (63), Ipoh (62), Putrajaya (59), Prai (58) and Kuala Lumpur (55).

API readings of 0 to 50 is good, 51 to 100 is moderate, 101 to 200 unhealthy, 201 to 300 very unhealthy and above 300 is hazardous. [Get set for hazy skies again. The Star. May 19 2008]

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More photos from the KLAB 2008

There were a few prominent individuals at the festival. At least, the ones that I recognized. Some are friends while others, while, I’d like to know them more closely due to their interesting character.

The most respectable there was probably the celebrated sasterawan negara, A. Samad Said.


The Member of Parliament for Bukit Bendera, Penang was there.


Friend and the youngest candidate for the previous general election, Nik Nazmi Assemblyman for Seri Setia, Selangor was there.


Kam Raslan was there.


I honestly can’t remember her name.


Amir Muhammad!


Eli the Amazon warrior the Assemblywoman for Bukit Lanjan, Selangor was there. So was Nat.


Nat is supposed to blog here. But he hasn’t posted anything here yet. For that, I think I’m entitled to post this up here for the world to see. Hey, hello Philly!


Sharon and Marina were there.


And the controversial Astora Jabat was there too.


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