Saturday, December 31, 2005

Nokia 6230i part II
Just an after thought, if you want to read about the phone and see what it looks like, you can see it here in Nokia's website. Notice how it says "Flexible connectivity: features Bluetooth technology, infrared, USB port, Pop-Port™, and GPRS/EDGE"

What flexible connectivity? The damn thing when dead.

My advice is, if you're buying a phone for the camera use, make sure you test it with your own SIM card and activate the MMS setting. Try taking a picture and send it yourself with GPRS and MMS to see if it works. If the phone crashes, better get a new one right away.

I just hope the samsung I picked would fare better.
Nokia 6230i is a shitty phone

I want to tell the whole whole about my experience with this piece of crap phone. Normally, I'm quite a patient guy and my tolerance level's pretty high but the level of incompetence by Nokia is way too much shit for me to stuff down my troat.

It all started with my girl friend getting a Nokia handphone for me for Christmas. It was a phone without a camera and I thought I'll just bring it to the shop in Atria to upgrade it to a camera phone.

After browsing through some of the handphones, I settled for the Nokia 6320i. Since my current phone was a Nokia and I had pretty good experience using it, I thought the same experience would transfer over to the next generation of Nokia and that's where I made the worst assumption.

I asked the sales person how to transfer my phonebook into the new phone and she said I could do it by transfering all the data into the SIM card. As the SIM card wasn't big enough to support all my phonebook, I drove down to MAXIS to get the new 256K SIM Card. Wasn't much of a help as the phonebook in the SIM card was divided into 4 seperate folders.

After a day of waiting to get the phone, I when to the shop the next day to pick it up. The shop assistant put the SIM card into the new phone for me and it worked fine. When I got home, I called Maxis to get them to send me the MMS and GPRS settings for the phone to me. After receiving the SMS, it asked if I wanted to activate it and I said yes. The phone worked fine until I wanted to send a photo I took by MMS to my girlfriend. The phone just died and everytime I started it up and entered my PIN number, it auto shut of again. For me, this was deja vu of a Microsoft OS.

The next day I took the phone to the shop and they replaced it with a new one and I took it home and asked MAXIS to send me the GPRS and MMS setting again. As soon as I set the connection setting for GPRS to always on, the phone when dead again. It was then that I realized that the damn software in the phone was not compatible with what ever setting MAXIS was sending to it. I called up MAXIS to complain and they said what ever setting they had, was given to them by the vendor.

The next day, I took the phone back to the dealer and told him what when wrong. I asked if he could take it to the service center to install a newer version of the operating system in the phone and he agreed. I also asked him to test the phone with the GPRS setting to see if it worked. Later in the day, I came back to pick up the phone and I tested it in front of the sales person and the phone died right after I activated the GPRS.

Since the service center was nearby, the sales person asked if I mind taking it directly there to explain to the technician instead. So the next day I did exactly that and asked to see the particular technician and explained to him what happened. He told me he would have to replace the board and that would take another day but he'll try to get it done by 6PM. He informed me he'll call me by 6PM if the phone was ready. I was a little worried by 5PM when they didn't call so I dropped by the service center at 5:30PM to see how things were going. The technician casually said that the phone was ready already, he flashed the software and it was working fine. He didn't install a new board like he said he would. So I tested the phone in front of them and this time it was even worst. The phone died right after I put in my PIN number.

This is where I lost it, after the phone died, the front counter staff at the service center told me to take the phone to their HQ in another part of the town to get it fixed. I then asked her who's going to pay for my parking. As this was a service center, how come I had to cross to over to the other part of the town just to get the damn thing fixed. She said I could leave it with them but that'll take a week as it was a long weekend with public holidays.

I called up the handphone shop and told them my situation, they were nice enough to offer me to trade to another phone so I when over a few hours ago to trade it for a Samsung.

So here's my beef with Nokia. Apparently, according the Handphone shop, Nokia releases phones into the market and some of them have the same compliance problem with MMS and GPRS. It takes them awhile before they work it out with the service provider. If Nokia is advertising MMS and GPRS capabilities, couldn't they have just simply tested and made sure the damn think worked before selling it? Or at least put a sticker on the packaging saying MMS and GPRS would only work after a certain date.

My confidence for Nokia has gone down the drain after all the frustration I when through. Nokia, you're out of my circle of Trust. I'm going to tell the whole world you gave me a lousy experience.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Truth

I want to tell you something... you can't handle the truth. When I was in university and was learning about journalism, my head was filled with idealism about how we should strive to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

However, after a few years I discovered that this doesn't always achieve its desired results. People are just not ready for the truth. They want to hear it alright, they just can't accept it.

So what am I crapping on about? As a gatekeeper in the media industry, I get to decide what the public knows and doesn't know. People want to know every single thing that happens... what they don't realize it's boring most of the time or it'll just get them pissed and cause uncontrollable anger.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Laws against Death

I read this in the BBC news website. Besides The Star's website, the site I visit the most often is the BBC website. I love their of the beaten path news such as the one below. Strange, funny but true.

Brazil city proposes ban on death
Municipal regulations normally ban anything from smoking in public places to parking in certain zones.
But officials in the Brazilian town of Biritiba Mirim, 70km (45 miles) east of Sao Paulo, have gone far beyond that.

They plan to prohibit residents from dying because the local cemetery has reached full capacity.

Mayor Roberto Pereira says the bill is meant as a protest against federal regulations that bar new or expanded cemeteries in preservation areas.

"They have not taken local demands into consideration", he claims.

Mr Pereira wants to build a new cemetery, but the project has been stalled because 98% of Biritiba Mirim is considered a preservation area.

A 2003 decree by Brazil's National Environment Council forbids burial grounds in protected areas.


Biritiba Mirim, a town of 28,000 inhabitants, not only wants to prohibit residents from passing away.

The bill also calls on people to take care of their health in order to avoid death.

Of course the bill is laughable, unconstitutional, and will never be approved
Gilson Soares de Campos, aide to the mayor

"I haven't got a job, nor am I healthy. And now they say I can't die. That's ridiculous," Amarildo do Prado, a unemployed resident, told local media.

The city council is expected to vote on the regulation next week.

"Of course the bill is laughable, unconstitutional, and will never be approved," said Gilson Soares de Campos, an aide to the mayor.

"But can you think of a better marketing strategy to persuade the government to modify the environmental legislation that is barring us from building a new cemetery?"

The bill states that "offenders will be held responsible for their acts". However, it does not say what the punishment will be.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/12/14 13:40:23 GMT


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

ISA and our forefathers

Saw something funny on the midnight news earlier. Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited Perodua's sales office and there was a visual of him standing next to a MYVI giving it a jolly good old slap and endorsing the car. It made realize sometimes Prime Ministers have to do the most indiginified things as part of their daily job. Here's a leader of a powerful asian country with a land steep with culture endorsing a little car. The poor guy looked out of place but here he was sportingly playing it out for the camera.

Today was a pretty exciting day, spoke to two lawyers today about legal rights. Made me realize today that if I ever face a criminal charge, I'll be too poor to afford free legal help and not rich enough to afford a good lawyer. Even if I could afford a lawyer, I'll be financially destroyed after all that.

They passed me pamplets on our legal rights when dealing with the police. Quite interesting. Basically, you don't have to say anything that would incriminate yourself. If you are not under arrest, just walk away. Of course, all these would certainly piss of the cops so I don't know if I would want to do that in face of all the media controversy of how police actually treat suspects.

This made realize, with all the free advice people have been giving out on our legal rights, I have a feeling the police probably knows all these limitations in how they can get information out of suspects. Thats why we often hear of cases of police torturing suspects.

The two lawyers I spoke too basically specialized in dealing with ISA cases and were obviously quite critical of this law. Personally, I feel that it's an inferior weapon to deal with the 'terrorist' treat but its the most effective one. It's napalm you drop in the forrest and it kills everything in it. Malaysia is so proud in how it won the war against the communist treat, we often forget how we won the war. It was weapons like that ISA that got us where we are today. The one of the lawyer mentioned that while we inherited this law from the British, they knew how to do it properly. Now here's where I have my scepticism.

On the Delphi in Greece, there is quote etched in that says "know thy self". It basically means, don't kid yourself... know yourself. Humans share the same traits. I have a feeling that the Malaysian police force is just of the same caliber of the British police force pre-independence. Now that brings us back to my point of how the British and the early Malaysian government fought the battle for our independence against the communist. The suppression of the communists and trade unions with laws such as this was certainly an affront to civil rights but look at where we are today. Does the end justify the means? I don't know if I can imagine a different life if our forefathers didn't do what they had to do.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Karnival, Khalwat & Your Rights

I spend today at my company's final Karnival for the year in Shah Alam. It was not as hot as I imagined, in fact it rained and my sneakers got wet in a slight drizzle while walking to to the shuttle bus.

There was various activities at my booth, the most interesting of course was getting a shoulder massage from this traditional Malay masseuse. For a small lady, she sure has really strong hands! I swear that lady has could crack walnuts with just her fingers.

While I was having dinner with my colleagues in the cafeteria, the topic of interest was of course Khalwat. Recent reports in the Malay print press of one of my managers accused of Khalwat had many inaccuracies in its report. What was worst, was the bad intention of how certain words were phrased. Anyway, whether she's guilty or not, is matter for the Syariah court to decide.

The topic of discussion wasn't whether she was guilty or not, but the definition of Khalwat. For non-Muslims, this isn't a major concern but for Muslim, it's an ambigous syariah law.

I decided to dig up some information on the internet and the Women's Aid Organization's website provided a pretty good description as below:

Caught in Close Proximity for "Immoral" Acts (Khalwat)

Siti* is sixteen. She recently heard from her classmates about a Muslim friend who was caught for Khalwat with her boyfriend. There were speculations about them having to get married because of the incident. This brought about a lot of discussions about what activities are allowed. Some thought that going to the cinema is not allowed, and some were of the opinion that only being in a confined bedroom is not allowed. Siti has a non-Muslim boyfriend, and she was not sure if she could be caught for Khalwat if she was in the company of him, and if so, in what circumstances?

The conditions for Khalwat is provided under the Syariah Criminal Provisions Act, and the circumstances differ from state to state. Generally, as provided by the Syariah Criminal Provisions Act (Federal Territories), Section 27, it entails:

"Any man who is found together with one or more women, not being his wife or mahram; or any woman who is found together with one or more men, not being her husband or mahram, in any secluded place or in a house or room under circumstances which may give rise to suspicion that they were engaged in immoral acts shall be guilty for an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding three thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both."

This means that if you are with a man or woman who is not your legal spouse in a secluded area or confined place, being engaged in "immoral" activity, you can be caught for Khalwat. If convicted, you can be subjected to a fine, or be imprisoned or both. This only applies if you are a Muslim. In the case of Siti, if she and her boyfriend are caught for Khalwat her boyfriend will be released, as he is not subjected to the Syariah Law.

Who has the authority of enforcement?

Enforcement officer from the Unit Penguatkuasaan Pejabat Agama (The Enforcement Unit of the Religious Office)
Religious officer or public officer, in example the police.
Nazir and Imam if the Religious Office is geographically inconvenient due to distance.
There can be no citizen's arrest made for Khalwat. However, the public can make a formal complaint to the Religious Office if they have any suspicion of Khalwat, much like the way a member of the public can make a police report if they have any suspicion of robbery or abuse.

There will be a minimum of four persons in each enforcement unit because of the stipulation of four male Muslim witnesses for crimes under the Syariah Law.

What happens when you are caught for Khalwat?

If you are in a confined place, the enforcement officers will ask to be let in. If you refuse, they will wait outside until the both of you come out. They will also guard all available exits and windows to prevent escape.
Once you come out, or if you are in an open place, the enforcement officers will explain the reasons for them being there.
Ask for their credentials. The credentials should have the words "Unit Penguatkuasaan Pejabat Agama" on them, unless the officers are members of the police force.
Here, you can explain to them why you were in that place and what you were doing, and that you were not engaged in any "immoral" acts.
If the enforcement officers are not satisfied with your answers, they will take you to the Religious Office.
If either one of you are underaged (below 16), the underaged person will be surrendered to the police and his/her parents will be contacted. To be released, your parents will have to provide bail (jamin mulut) where you will need to present yourself at the police station or court at a specific date. The case will then be referred to the Welfare Department.
At the Religious Office, you will be investigated and personal details such as information about your marital status, IC number etc. will be taken. You have a right not to reveal anything about the incident of arrest at this point. You can enforce your right to silence and request for your lawyer to be there. It is also important to note that anything you say at this point cannot be used as evidence against you in court.
You will then be taken to the police station for police bail, and then to the Syariah Court where the charge will be read. The Court will then set conditions for the bail. After which the prosecutor will take action.
If there is no prima facie case, then the prosecutor will send you a letter to this effect. If there is a case, the prosecutor will then conduct investigations and the enforcement officers will act as witnesses.
However, if the incident of arrest is not serious, you will be asked if you have repented (insaf) before prosecution. If yes, they may drop the charges and request that you attend counselling sessions at the Religious Office. If not, then the prosecution process will continue.
If found guilty, you will be fined for a maximum of RM3,000.00 and may be sentenced to jail.
You cannot be forced to marry as a result of the arrest. For further information, contact your nearest Religious Office.

*Name changed to protect WAO's client's confidentiality.

Prepared by Rozana Isa and Jaclyn Kee
Women's Aid Organisation - 20 Years of Service to Women and Children

Fortnightly Column by WAO on Sunday Mail (Reprinted with permission from Sunday Mail)

Now notice the part in bold I highlighted, at the table I was sitting was also a former police officer who told us some pretty interesting insides into how the investigation are carried out. So, out of curiousity, we asked him what can we do if we were caught in close proximity with someone?

He said, normally, the religous authorities would bring along an Inspector for the raid, as they do not have the arresting powers of the police. However, the enforcement officer and the police does not have the right to smash down the door and drag you out. That's why they always knock and ask for your permission to be let in. If you ever find yourself caught in this situation, don't answer the door.

While the police and religous authorities can wait for you to come out, they can't detain you and prevent you from leaving the premises. So his suggestion was simple, ask the guy to leave the house and go of to work or whatever. The other party in the house just stays put. By the time the police does actually get a warrant, one of the party would have left the premises already.

However, the religous authories would listen to your explanation of why both of you are together. If you have a reasonable explanation, it's accepted.

Most people caught for Khalwat admit a guilty just to get over the embarassing fact that it actually happened. If they had to go through a length trial, the authorities would have to bring out their investigation papers with details of how often both parties have met. Not something you want your private life to be blown up for everyone to know.

Pity isn't it? Sometimes, admitting guilt is the right thing to do.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Circumcision and religion

had an interesting conversation with some colleagues at work today. As I work with mostly female muslims, we were talking about circumcision. In Malay culture, it's considered a ritual rite of passage for the father to carry the son to his circumcision. The father plays a major role in helping the son transition into manhood by leading him through a series of rites (except for the actual act of circumcision which is performed now a days by a doctor).

So here's my thought anyway, I always had a feeling that circumcision was a bad idea. The guy who got the ball rolling was Abraham. At his point in life, he was an old man living in the dessert and one day out of the blue he tells his family that God told him that to make covenant with him, all the guys had to cut their dicks... okay, basically cut part of their foreskin of. Personally, I think it was just an excuse he used, living in a dessert with all that sand and with little water... personal hygiene can be a little hard to maintain you know!

However, circumcision is also practiced in other cultures that before Abraham had the crazy idea. I flipped open my trusty Britannica and it says Ethopians, Arabs and also Egyptians practice it. I think I've seen on Discovery about how ancient mayan (or was it Incan?) cultures practice blood letting where they cut their foreskin to drip blood as a sacrifice.

There also seems to be a trend for those who have been circumcised at birth to try and grow back their foreskin. Seems that those who never had a choice are quite pissed that something was 'taken' away from them at birth. On ebay, people have been selling this tiny cone men can wear on their penis to try and make the foreskin grow back. Don't ask me how I came across the product, and no I don't use it.

Anyway, had some thought about Abraham and I have been thinking about the major religions of the world, especially Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Now basically, all these 3 religions have the same God. They just talk to him/her the same way. Most of their teachings can be traced back to that dude Abraham (some call it Abraham's God). I always find it amazing that this dude from the 2nd millenium BC was able to spread the teachings of this one single God down a few thousand years. Okay, so it broke into a few branches but most of the teachings like circumcision, 10 commandments and the covenant between man and God.

Now, how did his 'religion' survive till today will others have been forgotten? I think it was no divine act but simply religous evolution. The major religions that we have today were the 'strongest' religions that suited mankinds needs that help them flourish and event evolved and adapted through times. The Greeks and the Roman hardly pray to Zeus now and the Egpytians to Isis or the Swedish to Thor.

Those Gods were 'wiped' out with the arrival of the major religions either through force or subtle conversation. For Christianity, the turning point was probably Emperor Constantine. The first Roman Emperor to convert the whole known world then to Christanity. Gone were the old Gods of Mount Olympus and with that Jesus became everyone's saviour.

For Islam I guess it was their prophet Muhammad. I find it interesting to note that of all the civilizations on planet earth at that time, 'God' chose to spoke to this one dude in the Arabian peninsula. Why not the chinese, or the Mayans, or the Malays, or the Indians? Now at that time, the Arabs were just war like tribal people. Maybe God just gave up on his 'chosen' people in the Palestinian land and moved on to start afresh.... but not too far of. In the end, Muslim conquerors expanded their religion into former Christian stronghold and Saladin took Jerusalem. Now everyone just wants a piece of Jerusalem... the Jews, Muslims and Christians. Too much emphasis on holy sites, less emphasis on the message I say.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Just got back from watching Holiday On Ice. This year's theme was Hollywood On Ice. Since I got the ticket free, I didn't get the program so I spend most of the time trying to figure out what was the movie theme. There was some obvious ones like Titanic, Dr. Zhivago and the 80's. Others were pretty wierd, the wierdest was the one where they were all in black robes. Couldn't figure out what movie theme that was.

I had to download a map of stadium putra bukit jalil to find my way there. Was less cars then I expected. Turns out I didn't need to use the binoculars I brought along. Was sitting in quite a good seat.

Monday, December 05, 2005

In the MyWordup forum, someone asked if it's worth the time and effort to be rich. I thought about it and since most of us learn most of our experiences from the TV. I thought about what we can learn from the TV.

If you watched "The Lifestyle of the Rich & Famous" TV Series, you can see how opulent they can get. A TV host goes around living out the lifestyle of the rich and famous, where they holiday, shop, spa at, etc.

If you want to see what contemporary rich dudes are doing, watch the new season of The Apprentice. Rich dude with bad hair, Donald Trump making some guys & gals who also want to be rich do silly task and abuse each other.

There are also all those gangsta rich African-American movies and music videos. The ladies wear next to nothing and all the guys rap about how they used to have nothing and now they're rich from rapping.

Kalau nak tengok orang Melayu yang kaya gila, watch Samarinda on TV3. jalaludin Hassan always plays the rich dude with a wierd accent... feels like he's gonna ask you "anda pasti?" everytime. They're all Datuks with ambigous listed companies (mostly construction companies).

Orang kaya-kaya also can live in masyarakat majmuk... there's Tin Gei Bin on RTM. Rich Malays and Chinese stab each's back for our amusement.

So maybe you should be asking yourself the question why do you want to be rich. Money is only a tool, it buys you a better quality of life. If the results of your greater monetary wealth is less time for money, poor health and strained family ties... you know the answer. Just remember why you're doing it. If its for your kids to have a better life... remember that they need to spend time with you now also.