Sunday, March 28, 2010

Of Apple and Me...

Apple, yes we in Malaysia are never without apple although we do not grow it here. I have not seen a day that our markets are without this fruits. It came in various shades of colors and sizes. Just do your pick and you could enjoy it at any time. For me I have a story to tell about Apples especially the first time I saw an Apple tree. It was sort of a cultural shock of a person from the tropic on his first trip overseas.

The first time I saw an Apple tree was when I first arrived in Perth, Australia in the early seventies; my first trip overseas. I was walking around the outskirt of the compound of the Hotel that I was staying when I saw to my shock so many apples scattered under the Apple tree, going to waste. It was like we often see back home under the Jambu Air [Water Apple] tree. Remember that before seeing that tree, I only saw apples in the market as an expensive imported fruits. It was sort of a cultural shock to me to see those expensive Apples go to waste in such a large numbers. It takes me a few seconds to realize that in this country there are many apple trees around and that Australia export fruits to Asia.

When I was living in Boston we would go for apple picking in the fall and enjoy the fresh fruits right from the trees.

As I had often blog I have been feeding that elusive squirrel if front of my house with cut Apples everyday and it seem to be enjoying it. Now it has became more friendly and at time kept eating when I am at a distance; but still rather elusive.

Well folk above is an image of a bowl of apples on the table in my living room; that does give the setting a cozy ambiance. I did enjoy this take and hope that my visitors do as well.

Have a nice day.

- I have read this book and found it to be full of information and ideas. Written to humor us on the normal happening in our lives, it does gives valuable lesson to us not to take for granted of the small happening in our lives. I did enjoy this book.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Earth Hour Malaysia 2010

Today is Earth Hour Malaysia for this year. So let us conserve energy for one hour from 8:30PM tonight. Just switch off your light for one hour tonight. Together we would surely make the differences. Have a nice day.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Blogging..The New Media

Yesterday a student of Journalism from UiTM who is also a Blogger interviewed me on Blogging. I have written many times on the subject of blogging especially in the contact of the Malaysian society. This is one of such article which was first posted in this blog in November 2007. I have revised it and since it is as relevant as ever, am posting it here again.

A lad, a university student still in his teen from the generation of my grandchildren while on a holiday recently watches me on TV. He is among the millions who watch that Talk Show on TV9 that day. Most I believe just watch it as another entertainment program but some do listen to it attentively and one of the people is this lad. After watching it he wrote to me and said that my talks do open his mind toward what blogging is all about. Before that he has totally different views of what blogging is. He thanks me and says that he like what he saw and heard and he might start blogging. I replied thanking him for been so sincere and told him that he should try blogging. And guess what! He did just that. And I believe some of you have already visited his Blog and found him to be a resourceful person for his age. He is now a Medical Student at the International Islamic University at its Kuantan campus. I am indeed glad that at least another young Malaysian have start blogging and this add to the thousands that are already enjoy blogging and by doing that contributing contents to the Internet. Remember by blogging you activate your thinking cap and for the young it would open up their minds and start to think outside the box. Student would be more knowledgeable and resourcefully and this would made them easily marketable after graduation. We should remember that when we share information we also get to learn more from the feedback. Knowledge is like that, the more we talk about it the richer our knowledge would be. Interaction of knowledge between more people makes the knowledge richer and more useful.

Science and technology are changing our world very fast indeed. Television and the Computer are in the process of converging into one. Because of this blogging is going to be a very powerful tool, more powerful than the present media like the Radio, TV and the Newspaper. Together with You Tube I believe it would become an alternative if not competitive media with the old media as the means of spreading news to the masses. But some in our society has yet to come to grasp with this new media, a media where the people would be the sources of future news. Just imagine there are Newspapers or Radio station or TV station in every corner of the country where individual are the owner, the producer, the editor of the program that are accessible all over the country and the world. That is what Blogging and You Tubing are going to be in the near future. Soon Blogs would spreads all over the country. All these Blogs would be the source of firsthand news that you would get on your laptop or your Smart Phone all days long. That scenario is not an impossibility but would be a reality once the masses get to understand of what the New Media is all about. And how it could change the society and fast-forward reform to the Malaysian society, thus change the Malaysian mindset into a global thinker.

It is somewhat a reality in the west, where politician and businessman are using blogging to reach the masses and it is working well. But sad to say some of ours are still in the dark of what blogging, You tube, Facebook, Twitter are. They have not really understood the philosophy of the new tools as yet. I hope that they wake up fast to the reality of what the Internet and the New Media could do to improve the quality of the civil society in this country, where accountability and transparency would be the norms. A society that is as democratic as never before, where the power of dissemination information is in their hands rather in the few. The New Media like Blogging, You Tube, Facebook and Twitter. The future is here already.

What a coincidence that I found this book ' We're All Journalists Now' by Scott Gant' and reading through it found that my thoughts on this subject are in tune with what this author wrote. I have just gone through the book on my first reading and have to do a second reading before I could digest all the thoughts and ideas that have been put so brilliantly by this author. For now let me summarize that it is a godsend book for our time especially so for Malaysian where blogging are beginning to made it impact on the socio political scenario. Before Blogging news has always been a one sided affairs, what the Publishers want us to know and that its. And because in Malaysia you need a license to start a Newspaper, only a few got it, thus the limited number of Newspapers in the country. But with Blogging, the citizen journalists have open up the Pandora box on the flows of news. Now the information and ideas comes from the people as well. The status quo has changed. The flood gates of news has been open by blogger and there are no ways of stopping, except with the truth. It is a fair game now; the playing field is getting even day by day. Those who refused to accept these facts would surely be swept by the new waves. The new Media, Blogging or Citizen Journalism [Citizen Journalism is a term use by the author Scott Gant].

On further reading this book, although the contents are of the American socio political/cultural scene, I found that there is so much in common with our ideal. That is the need to have free flows of information and ideas especially from the ordinary folks. In the past it was not possible to do that but blogging has made the flows of information and ideas; to quote the author "a Marketplace of Ideas, which provides the best chance for uncovering truth" possible.

Another aspect that I found to be in agreement with the author is that Journalism should be part and parcel of good governance. In the past government has always been referred as the sharing of power between the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary only. The author has pointed that the role of Journalism especially Citizen Journalism could made government more accountable and transparent. So a good government in a democracy should be the sharing of power that includes Journalism, first dubbed as the Fourth Branch by another author Douglass Cater in 1959. Thus the four branches should now be The Executive, The Legislative, the Judiciary, and the Journalists. With the element of Journalism in it, it would surely create good governance for any country and in turn would be good for its citizen.

Folks the old media would still be there and as usual with things it would evolve in its own ways. Citizen Journalism would play its role and evolve as it goes. Changing the ways we get news. Quote from the book “The days of the mainstream media as the "voice of God" are over, declared Dean Wright, a vice president at Reuters". I believe it is so and I am not dreaming but just been an optimist. There are already thousand of Malaysian blogs that provide posting on various issues and soon there would be more and more. The few socio political blogs has already made an impact on the political scene of the country. I believe that in the not too distance future there would be blogs in every corners of the country; it sure going to change the way of how we get information. Even now in this country people look to the Internet/Blog/Facebook first to get the latest news of the happening, especially so on the socio political scene of the country. In such a short span of time Blogging has already made its impact. It is already a challenge to the old media and it is only a mater of time that it would supplement the old media for our source of Information and Ideas.

Have a nice day.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Yet another beautiful day...

Woke up early to another beautiful day. It is Friday and it is the weekend already. As for me who are enjoying my golden age, everyday is the same. I was wide-awake at just after five this morning and just lay there on my bed whiling the morning with daydreams of all the possibilities the day would take us. It is just the beginning of the day. I got out of my bed and then went around doing the morning ritual; opening the front door and in came a rush of fresh air from the garden out-front. It felt good to breathe the fresh air and see the greens at this early part of the morning. The clock shows 6.30AM and I do felt good this morning. Then I went to the kitchen and open the window there and here again I could felt the fresh air came gusting into the kitchen, filling it up with the freshness of the morning air. The sun is just above the horizon and its rays have yet to penetrate the floor of my kitchen, which usually happened when it rises toward noon.

I could hear the bird chirping making its morning call. I could not see it today but a few days ago I saw it sitting on a branch on my Custard Apple tree as seen in the image here.

Folks that is the beginning of my day, so do have a nice day as well. Take care.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The demise of Blogger Ruby Ahmad....

I am shock of the news of her death. Still is shock as I write this. I got the news when I turn on my computer this morning and look at the Wall of my Facebook and on my Wall I saw the photo taken a year ago posted by Elviza. I was wondering why had Elviza posted this images, just a joke maybe to remind us of that day in April 2009. I was about to placed a comment when I decided not to do so but instead scroll down and what a shock it was when I read at Elviza Wall that Ruby Ahmad passed away last evening. For a second I was lost and did not know what to say; I was in a shock and immediately post a comment on Elviza's Facebook Wall “What! Such a great friend not only in cyberspace but in the real world too. A fine woman indeed. Shock of her demise and sad, very very sad indeed. Condolence to her family and May she rest in peace. Amen."

I came to know Ruby Ahmad through her Blog. To me she is indeed a prolific writer with her own mind. A person of great integrity and want the best not only for herself, her family but to the society as well. She has relentlessly written in her Blog, Facebook about the need for the Malaysian society especially the Malay to change and move forward with confidence. She was concerned about the standard of English of the present generation and in one discussion we discuss at length her concerned. It was indeed a challenge to banter with her in the comment column in the Blog or Facebook. She would always provokes your thoughts and the discussion with her was always stimulating. She was always resourceful and knowledgeable in every aspect of the subject that we often discuss. And when we found the discussion seem sensitive we would discuss it just between the two of us via email. And she would always speak her mind and since we both are Leo, we seem to click on so many issues that affect the society at large. In the course of blogging we met a few time with other blogger. Once when I was having coffee with my spouse at the Dome at Ikano, She and her husband and the two kids came over to meet us and chat. Though that meeting was short, I still could visualize her smile as she introduces her husband and her two boys to us. It was such a short and sweet moment that still lingers in my mind till this day. She had great personality and a great person to have around a dinner table where the intellectual discussion would surely stimulate one thought. The last time I met her was at a dinner with other blogger on April 22, 2009. But we continue to keep in touch by means of Blogging and Facebook until recently.

And When I went into Facebook we would continue to discuss subject of common interest to the society especially on Education and the quality of living of the society. When I decided to leave Facebook, she search for me and wrote an e-mail to me asking what has happens. I told her that I need to think again about Facebook since some aspect of it seem not to my liking and told her that I would come back to Facebook and did that after a lapsed of a few month. With that we continue to communicate in cyberspace and every time we met in cyberspace she was always cheerful and her thoughts always inspire me as she had inspired others who follow her in blogsphere and in Facebook. Her death is indeed a lost but that is life; we came and then we leave. She has gone but to me she left great thoughts that would be remembered by all who know her. Indeed a woman with a Beautiful Mind. Bye and Amen.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Of the Plants and Us...

I have always loved the green. Since I was a kid, as a Boy Scouts we would learn the name of different plants and its uses. So whenever we went camping we know what to use to make the environment of our camping site comfortable. We would always care for the plants and animals and insects that we knew are around us all the time whenever we camp in the wood. We would never cut tree or shrub unless we need to and only did so to make some makeshift gadgets and items for the camp. We would often collect dried wood for our campfire. And when we camp near the beach we would collect dried drift woods to use as stool or for the campfire. I soon learned that nature always has a way of giving back to us which in turn made our camping stay such a wonderful experience.

So when I bought this small house in Ampang Jaya I decided that I must have a small jungle in front of my house. And because the space was limited I planted various greens in front of my patio and these not only gave shades but also give me that greens look that I love to see. Over the years my little garden matured and I began to see small animals and insects start to come and go as it please. Birds would chirp on the branches and at time make wonderful melody as it jumps from branch to branch. The Bougainvillea that I had planted now cover my porch and would bloomed throughout the year adding color to the small jungle in front of my house. To get some wonderful aroma from the flowers I planted a Kenanga tree, its yellow flowers bloom throughout the years. Folks would stop by to ask for the flowers and I would readily tell them to just to plug it away. And to make it easy for folks to take the Kenanga flower when I am not around, I decided to wakaf [for public use] whatever flowers that are out-front or outside my fence to all. So if I am not around folks are free to take the flowers for their own use. It is my way of giving back to the society and I felt good about it. As I have said in my previous article, my little garden has become an ecosystem of sort. Above is an image of the little jungle in front of my house, a scene that I would see every morning as I opened the front door. Indeed a refreshing scene every morning. In the cool of the morning I often could see birds chirping and that elusive brown squirrel come to have its daily meals of cut fruits that I had placed on a plate there everyday. Folks, that view of my little jungle have become such a wonderland of nature and I am enjoying it.

All the greens that I am talking about are the plants, the largest species on our planet. Without it all living species including ours could not survive on this planet. Once the greens go earth would be barren and lives would be gone and that includes our species. The reason is simple for it is only the plants that could convert the Sun energy that we need to survive. No other species on this planet could do that. All living species need energy to live and that energy comes from the Sun. And only the plants could convert the sun energy into eatable produce that other species could consume and get that Sun energy. Other species could only get that sun energy by eating the plants or by eating animals that got its energy from the plants. And since all other living species could not convert the sun energy direct, to be able to survive on this planet all living species must eat and drink. Most of all living species need oxygen to survive and in this case again it is the plants that became our source of oxygen. It convert all the carbon dioxide that living things creates and convert it to oxygen that we so need to survive on this planet. So folks do give due respect to the plants that is a vital link of the survival of all species on earth. Without the plants there would be no energy for us and without energy we could not live. It is as simple as that. So the next time you walk on the grass just take a pause and think for a second in that it is these grass that provides the energy for the animals to live, as well provides us with the oxygen. When there are abundant of greens we just took it for granted so please remember that without the plants there would not be any living species on the earth. So do keep the earth green and we would be able to continue to enjoy living on this beautiful blue planet of ours. Have a nice day.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

That Yellowness...

Folks the above image is that of a Yellow flower that grows in front of my house. If you take a closer look you would see a yellow butterfly enjoying its morning visit and having a feast of the nectar of that flower. Indeed it shows nature at its best. Have a nice day.