The Rammifications of Thought

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

2006 and beyond (personal)

Once again, it's post-Christmas and pre-New-Year season. Here comes the time to ponder our own doings and behaviours for the past year.

2006 has been an eventful year for me. I started the year on a low, my final year project being a thousand-tonne megaboulder that weighed my entire life down. My daily routine for those few weeks were limited to spending time in the lab labouring on what turned out to be not such a good result (no thanks to that egomaniac of a supervisor I had).

Being dogged by my supervisor for the past few months, it was a great relief to have finally presented my part and get done with the whole FYP thing. Again, I staunchly support the movement to abolish all final year projects to rid undergrads of their misery.

Then there was the migration from my old Friendster blog to Blogger. I'm glad it came through, seeing that Friendster blog now contains many ugly advertisements littered through most of the empty spaces. Might think of getting my own domain later on, but that's another story.

Coming back to post-FYP life, the end of the semester meant I had spent my last few weeks in the Skudai. After 5 years living there, I was a bit sad about leaving some of the old haunts. But life has to go on and we packed our bags and left in due time. Sayonara to JB.

After taking some time off for a graduation trip, I started work in the big city. This marked another chapter of my life as I say goodbye to academic life and move forward to corporate employment. After the thrill of having my first paychecks died down (and I discovered that the sum saved was petty), routine began to seep in.

No more leisurely trips to the supermarket during weekdays. No more afternoon naps after a late night out. Heck, there are practically no late night excursions anyway. Sometimes I do miss the time when we were students albeit living on a meagre allowance.

Convocation was the time when I had the chance to meet up with some of the old friends again. This event signaled the fullstop to my being a student. The graduation outfit, the packed halls, the photoalbums we took...all seem like a distant memory, but a lasting one nonetheless.

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Some have written about their new year resolutions, some about predictions of the events to come. Some reminisced about the events that occurred in the past few months, some yearn for the coming weeks in anticipation.

I look forward to the coming year. Politically-speaking, the next general election is likely to fall in 07's calendar and I will get to exercise my vote for the first time. Cynics would say the political scene will not alter much, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that some positive change will come.

Career-wise, I'm maturing in the learning curve and will soon be seniors to new freshie engineers coming in. I'm determined to do my best in work to prove that the grades I got during uni days were not a farce.

On the personal side, I'm looking forward to trying new things that youth permits us to do. Having an exercise routine is definitely on my to-do list, and I can only hope that my schedule does not prevent me from carrying it out.

I might even get hitched. Permanently. Who knows? ;)

As I have said during the previous year, BRING IT ON!


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Eragon: A (somewhat biased) Review

A fantasy-based film based on a book with mystical creatures, characters with magic powers, and a bad-ass wizard that commands an army of gruesome solders. Sounds familiar?

Well you can be forgiven if it strikes you that the movie resembles the LOTR trilogy. There are, after all, many similarities between the storylines of these two movies (can't say the same for the books, since I've never read Eragon).

Based on the book by Christopher Paolini, Eragon tells the story of a teenager who finds a dragon egg and is compelled to fight against the evil king after knowing his fate of being a 'dragon rider'. It is actually the first book of the Inheritance Trilogy, with the second one already out in markets.

The elements presented in the story are very similar to LOTR (have I mentioned that?). The battle of good against evil, the role of a mentor to the young hero (Brom as to LOTR's Gandalf), underdog whopping the big baddie's ass so on so forth.

The moviemakers did a great job in bringing the dragon, Saphira to life. Honestly one of the best (and cranky) dragons I have seen since Dragonheart. The sets were also nice, the scenery breathtaking at times.

My gripe about this movie is it's lack of originality and grandeur. After all that exposure to Peter Jackson's magnificent effort on LOTR, Eragon seems to drawf in the field of CGI. There are no great battle scenes and we barely see the creatures commanded by the evil wizard. It felt like the producers were trying to rush through the storyline...barely giving the characters enough time to develop.

John Malkovich was just plain weird as the evil King Galbatorix.

"I suffer without my stone. Do not prolong my suffering."

I must mention though that I was quite exhausted when watching the movie. Heck, I even fell asleep during some of the boring parts.

An interesting note is that the book was written when the author was 15 years old. So go ahead and watch the movie if you're tired of LOTR and expect no more than a simple story. That said, I'd rather save my money and buy some Aragorn action figures instead.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Together again

Have been busy for the past few days helping Gurl move her stuff up to KL. After a week's rest at home, she's finally started her new job here in the city.

It's a good change from her previous company I guess. Not being able to bring handphones into the workplace, being barred from receiving/sending emails other than to company addresses, blocked from using any form of messenger service or surfing the internet...definitely not the most conducive working environment, IMHO.

Imagine being cut off from the outside world during the day time. The thought of it makes me cringe, considering I enjoy far more freedom in my workplace.

Anyway it's convenient since her company is located near to mine, so we can probably save on some petrol money (fortunately the toll hike does not affect us). The downside of sharing a vehicle means less flexibility in our working hours, though we do have our own transport in case of emergencies.

There're a lot of other stuff that I need to get used to, for example my meals after work. No more simple 'tapau' dinners after this I suppose. One thing's for sure though, it's great to have her here :)


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Toll price hike / Mat Rempit / Self-gratification syndrome

Again, citizens of Malaysia are given a cruel reminder to change our lifestyles.

I say, instead of hiking up the toll prices, the government should IMPOSE huge fines on those crazy mat rempits to compensate for their (the gov's) failed projects. Too poor to pay up? No problem hard labour is the solution. And aren't we sick of incoming immigrants doing jobs that no locals would take up?

One thing I sure hope is that the extra money doesn't go to waste in efforts trying to "rehabilitate" the so-called "misunderstood" biker community. Want to Umno-nize them? Give them proper playing grounds so they can show off their useless skills? They could hire a firing squad for all I least that would make some good to the country.

Ah, I'm glad I will be able to vote during the next elections. No prizes for correctly guessing who I'll be voting for though.

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Browsed through Sitemeter and found out that my blog's in Google's top 10 search results for this phrase:

Self-gratification syndrome.

Hmm...the term sounds a bit morally dubious. Rest assured that there is no sex fiend behind healthy little blog.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Y.B. Datuk Ir. Prof Dr. Deriku

Apparently future graduate engineers will have a harder time in order to qualify as "professional engineers".

"Graduate engineers will soon find it tougher to call themselves professional engineers and to carry the Ir title before their name. The bar for the profession will be raised come 2008 with the introduction of an additional competency examination."


Frankly speaking, I've only ever come across the title "Ir" during my university days, as some of the more 'distinguished' lecturers would like to be addressed during formal ceremonies. We were also exposed to the procedures on how to qualify for that particular title, though I have no recollection whatsoever.

A title like this would probably raise a few question marks when mentioned along more common titles such as Dr. and the granddaddy of all titles, the Datuk.

I was told it was supposed to be pronounced as 'inginieur' with a certain French taste to it, seeing that the good Frenchmen allowed us the usage of their term for 'engineer'. But imagine some uninformed emcee trying to pronouce your full title when addressing an audience.

"We would like to welcome our guest of honour, mean Ai-arr...Andy Lau to our exhibition..."

And it becomes worse when the person carries multiple titles and protocol needs to be observed. Try saying this out loud in one breath - Yang Berbahagia Datuk Ir. Prof. Dr. Mohamad Salehuddin bin Shaik Nasir.

See? Bet you couldn't finish that in one breath.

Well, being in the semiconductor field means I practically have no chance (and no point really) in attempting to qualify for this title. Not that I would like to anyway.

"Hey who's the infrared guy?"


"The balding guy with a polka-dot tie standing over there? The booklet says he's name is IR Tan."

"So why do you call him the infrared guy?"

"Doesn't IR stand for INFRA-RED?"

*No offence to those who carry the title. Hey don't forget I'm on your side :D


Monday, December 11, 2006

FRIM outing

It's been a while since I had a nature outing. And that is just what I did this morning at the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM), together with a few cell group members.

It was the first time I had been to the place. And what a pleasant surprise I had when I first stepped into the compound. Who would've imagined there would be such a lush, green lung just not far away from the city center.

Li Lian, Yee Lin, Keng Fong and Theen Kin

We went for one of the 5 trails that joggers could pick from - the Rover track. This was also the trail that would bring us to the famed Canopy Walkway, a 200m long bridge suspended 30 meters above ground.


Unfortunately, we didn't know that the Canopy Walkway was closed on Mondays and Fridays until it was too late. So the girls decided to do some posing to make up for the lost pleasure.

Brokeback Forest?

Anyway, we did enjoy the trekking , though some parts of the trail were a bit difficult to manoeuvre for the casual jogger. The ground was also a bit slippery due to the rainy season that has plagued the Klang Valley for quite some time now.

One unpleasant experience were the leeches that are abundant along the track. You can see the little critters crawling along the track if you look closely. I even had two stuck to my leg. There was no pain though, and I figure by contributing a bit back to mother nature's creatures meant the balance would be preserved.

Note to those planning a trip there: always bring a packet of salt. You never know when you'll need it.

Sokongilah kempen menderma darah

It was a refreshing day out. But every good time has its price, and this time it was the fatigue after the trip, partly because I didn't really sleep much the night before.

Ah well, time for bed.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

How to ruin your office relationships

One of my colleagues accidentally sent a mail to all of the team members, including the boss. He was actually replying to a friend's mail and I suppose he replied to the wrong message.

"LDP toll go up...what to do. Hope next year will get a good increment. If not then say bye-bye to the company loh..."

Yes he actually put the MANAGER in the list too. And he's barely been here for 9 months. Lucky for him, he realized the mistake immediately and put out a recall message. But the story doesn't end here.

Bull, the inanimate, IQ-challenged office dumbfuck actually replied to everyone in the recipient's list:

"Eh, belum bangun lagi ke. Very brave you are, I respect. You ask for 50% increment ma, tell boss LDP go up 100%."

Although this time our manager was omitted from the list, my colleague was pissed enough to tell him that he should not have re-broadcasted the message when a recall was already issued.

I guess Bull must have come to his senses for a while, and not long after came over to my colleagues cubicle with an apologetic look. Muttering some phrases with the words 'sorry' here and there, he made a lame attempt to apologize to my colleague.

It just puzzles me how some people lack the necessary office ethics, though I would not be surprised at Bulls ability to mess up. I suspect he's still trying to find out the difference between pressing "Reply" and "Reply all" when using Microsoft Outlook.

My colleague and most of us ignored him for almost the rest of the day. At lunchtime he didn't even tag along (uninvited as usual) with us to have lunch. Must have realized he's not in anyone's lunch partner list anymore. Hah.

A lesson to everyone: Never, ever attempt this in the office, or you'll end up as the person everyone would love to ignore.

Just like Bull.

Hollywood is king

Honestly, how many good movies have you seen lately? I mean, REAL good movies. I just watched The Shawshank Redemption, and it truly is one of the best films I have ever come across.

Forget flashy CGI or whatever latest filming technology that viewers are so over-indulged in nowadays, all it takes is just some solid acting and a good script to get people's attention.

I remember watching it on TV for the first time many years ago, and even then it left an impression that this was one movie not to be missed. Only difference was, this time, all the swear words weren't censored.

With a rating of 9.1, the movie is ranked 2nd on IMDB's top 250 list, which makes it really worth a watch. By comparison, The Prestige, another stunner that made it to my all time best's list is rated 8.1.

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Over the weekend, I watched 5 different Bond movies on Star Movies. 2 from the less-attractive Timothy Dalton, and the remaining ones with good old Pierce Brosnan.

The spirit of double-O-seven has really got to me. Whenever I'm introducing myself to someone, it requires some effort to refrain myself from pronouncing "The name's XXX. Deriku XXX."

Or when it comes to ordering drinks in the cafeteria, I nearly blurted out "Vodka Martini. Shaken, not stirred." to the lady who was serving fruit juice.

Talk about James Bond overkill.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Gaining weight

Today marks the halfway point of my first year of employment. I step on the scales, and get a hold of the damage done. In six month's time, I have gained approximately 3 kilograms.

I know most girls would probably freak out if this happened to them. (3 kg? What would become of my dream to be the next Paris Hilton? And the strapless tops, my miniskirts...all ruined!) But being a guy, my genes are simply not programmed to worry too much about the issue of body weight. Aesthetically speaking, that is.

In a health perspective, my BMI still stands at a normal level of 22. But obviously this won't look too good in the long term if the condition continues.

At this rate, I'll weigh 87 kg into my third year of corporate enslavement.

The current me.

The future me (if the phenomenon persists).

Looks like it's time to hit the gyms again!


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