Saturday, March 18, 2017

I'm now a radio presenter!

Well the past month have been rather exciting. I've made the cut and somehow, managed to get a part time role being a radio dj / radio presenter on KRISTALfm. And to be honest, I'm still pinching myself whenever I'm scheduled to go on air. No doubt, there is a tremendous amount of pressure to know there's hundreds if not, thousands of people listening to you when you're on air where every single word you say is under scrutiny. But so far, I think it's been a great start of a journey in a completely different world for me. A lot of people who found out about my new side career have been really supportive - which I am extremely thankful for. But of course, there's always a pique of curiosity that sets in where I'll be asked..."so what made you apply for the job?"

First day on the job! Image credits: +KRISTALfm DST 
Honestly, I don't know either. All I knew was back in November 2016, they posted an Instagram post where they're looking for 3 new part time English speaking DJs. And sometime in the early part of 2016, I had this sudden urge to do something on the side to supplement my income and also to add more fancy-schmancy stuff to my resume. I was tired of being complacent with my usual routine of doing a 9-6 job especially when I'm still in my 'prime' years. So that thought, in a way, got me driven to start looking around to venture into something else.


Prior to this, I also signed up to do voice over commercials for radio advertisements. I thought that was as far as I'll be able to go with getting first hand experience in the broadcasting world. Then, the opportunity presented itself. When I saw the post, I was hesitant to give it a try simply because I felt like I lack the 'radio' voice and the fact that I cringe whenever I hear my ad being played on the radio. But I am reminded again by my wife - you'll never know until you try! So try I did. Didn't really put too much hope into it given the fact that there's so many comments tagging other people encouraging their friends to go for it. And me being the least competitive person in the world, I automatically go into submissive mode with the mindset that says;

"Yeah, no hope already lah so many other people applied. But at least I tried to apply."

Then after about 2 weeks into it, I got an email asking to submit a voice demo about myself. Again, *cues self-doubt & low self esteem but I decided to submit my demo either way and get it over and done with. Like the wifey said...you'll never know till you try. Eventually, I received a phone call saying my demo was shortlisted and I was asked to come in for an interview and a live audition. For some reason, I always find myself faring pretty well in interviews mainly because I come with an extremeku curious mindset. But when it was time for the live audition where I had to 'pretend' I was live on air and I only had one take, boy that was when I really felt I blew it all. I froze, I stuttered and I gave up hope midway during the recording thinking this is definitely not for me. I walked out feeling disappointed in myself that I got this far only to blow it but still felt proud that at least I gave it a try!

After not hearing back for quite sometime, I kinda forgot about it and moved on. Then came the phone call from HR saying I've got the job, I was confused. Excited...but confused. Reality only set in when I was at the HR office to sign on the offer letter. It's been three weeks into this journey now and I'm still figuring out the "art" of talking out loud to myself. I've been on a few shows with other djs where it's much easier to converse when there's a person to talk to but the real challenge as of date is talking to myself. Yesterday marked my second time being on air alone and boy, oh boy, I still find myself for saying silly stuffs that makes no sense. It's funny how nerves can really destroy your entire grammar and vocabulary.

Nevertheless, it's definitely an exciting world to venture into. Still feel like I'm not cut out nor worthy to do the job yet but I'm clinging on the fact that I'll just improve myself over time. Nowadays, I also find myself 'practice-talking' while driving so if you happen to see me in my car talking to myself, I haven't quite lost my mind just yet.

Monday, February 13, 2017

It's been a decade, dad.

Today marks the 10th year of my dad's passing. There are still days I wonder how our entire family life would be like if he was still around. Actually whenever my family talk about dad, we always bring that line up.

"If only dad was still here..." 

You'd hear quotes about how things will heal in time or time will heal all wounds, etc. That is true. The pain of losing him after 10 years doesn't feel as bad as the day when he took his last breath on the hospital bed. But what no one actually tells you is - how scary it is that time will also erases memory about the departed. As I grow older, there's many things about dad that slowly slipped my mind. How did his voice sound like? What's the cologne scent I usually smell whenever he picked me up from school? What are the other songs did he love to sing along to on the radio? Little details about him just slowly slipping through my mind as time goes by. I actually blanked out briefly when my sister reminded me that it was dad's birthday last month. Dad? Dad who?

I wonder what he'll look like at 67. 
10 years of not having someone to call dad will also subconsciously remove any affiliation of 'dad'-things/events in your life too. It's never fails to sting just a little whenever I see things like father's day advertisement or videos about father's love etc. A little voice inside my head will constantly whispers "You don't have a dad anymore." Days like these, I'm also actually thankful that I started blogging long time ago. I find myself re-reading old posts on events that led up to discovering dad being diagnosed with cancer just to see pictures of things then. The only thing I regretted is not blogging about when times were better. When life was cancer-free, happier and normal.

Young mom & dad. 

Chinese New Year circa 2004 since I wasn't around.
But I'm still grateful for days where he appears in our dreams. Mom would also randomly mention that she had dreams about dad doing random stuffs but for the past 10 years - with his occasional appearances, we never get to hear him speak. He'd just stand there and smile. My last dream of dad was probably more than a year ago. I was on a boat ride with him heading somewhere and it dawned on me that I haven't seen him in such a long time. I broke down and cried and asked where have he been and that we all missed him so much. He just looked at me and smile without saying a word. And I find comfort in that. Knowing that wherever he is, he is happy.

It's been officially a decade, dad. 10 years of not having you around. And we still miss you.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Trump is officially the 45th president of the United States of America!

As a non-American and a citizen of a country that does not have democracy, I am in awe of how a businessman cum reality TV star is able to be the president of a country. Sure not everyone is a fan of Trump and have voiced their anger by protesting and practicing their freedom of speech - but yet, what good can come out of it? This man is now the official leader and commander in chief of your country, America! And he has promised to make your country great again! Not only that, he even reminded you during his inauguration speech that you, the American citizens are now in power.

Donald J Trump swearing in as the 45th POTUS. Image credit: Google. 

"Today's ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another -- but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People." - President Donald J. Trump, 2017

Ok, maybe that speech was somewhat a little too dramatic for my liking but my point is this. This man has made an oath to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of your country. God knows why he decided to run for president when he of all people, could've just go about his business running his multi billion organization and host the next few seasons of The Apprentice and then retire in peace. Dude's 70 years old for Christ's sake. The official retirement age for people in Brunei is 60 years old and yet - he's taken one of the hardest job in the world i.e to lead the country. 

But even before he started his official duty being the president, a good percentage of Americans out there are already doubting him. And this baffles me. Rioting and protesting won't solve the mounting debt America has accumulated over years. Hashtagging #NotMyPresident won't solve the ISIS crisis the world is facing either. Yes, he may not be the person you voted for few months ago but the reality is this - Donald J Trump is now officially the 45th president of the free world. If I were an American, I would hope for the best that he'll truly make my county great again. If he does, wouldn't that be a good thing for the country? I remember my parents going on their honeymoon to the USA and getting a few gifts that had the tag "Made in America". This somehow gave the impression that  the gifts were deemed more valuable than all the other stuffs I've ever owned. 


And that is what Trump wants America to be again. Great! The best of the best! The country that everyone still look up to! So why not just give him the benefit of the doubt and hope that he'll be able to "make America great again" during his presidency? If he does, then good on him and good on the USA. If he doesn't, then make sure he doesn't get re-elected for another term. At least you guys get to choose and do something about it. We, in Brunei can only dream of such things. 



Disclaimer: I love Brunei and my Sultan. And MIB. Because MIB is life. 

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Thoughts.

Sippin' on my whisky while watching a few REACT videos on teens guessing on songs from the 90's and watching them getting so many wrong just made me feel...old.

Then bam. A sudden wave of thoughts just flowed through my mind. Mainly a lot of uncertainty with life being in this country especially after knowing how a few of my friends are losing their jobs. I really don't know what the future holds for this place anymore. Then again, I also don't know if life is going to be any easier if I were to be elsewhere either.

Most days I still feel like I'm still that same kid in class back in highshool trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. But here I am - legally an adult and still trying to figure out life itself. What am I doing with my life?

Sunday, October 02, 2016

TelBru doesn't care.

If you've been following my blog since the beginning, you would've known by now how much I hate TelBru's shitty internet service. Even before it was corporatised to TelBru, I hated it. When they announced they were being corporatised from JTB to TelBru, I thought things may be for the better but nope, majority of the country's population is still being ripped off with their ridiculous pricing. But what else can we do besides having to move on with a 'just deal with it' attitude since they are the only internet service provider nationwide?

I do however give them credit for trying to up the country's internet infrastructure every now and then but the main problem I have with them is the lack of transparency with how they deal with their existing customers. Lately many of the country's internet users have been experiencing sudden internet cut off at midnight with no advance notice given and no explanation provided after. Many vented their frustration online while the rest just suffer in silence.

For me, I find it unethical for them to continue billing customers when most of the time, they don't live up to their promises with their shitty service and their hidden charges. For example, before my area was upgraded to their FTTH network (Fibre To The Home), I decided to upgrade my e-Speed plan to their 5mbps only because they updated their pricing. But after a few months on it, I noticed the speed of my internet connection gradually started slowing down. Only after filing a complain and some investigation, I was told by their technician that my area "does not support the 5mbps speed" which was probably a lie because the first few months worked fine. But since they recommended to downgrade my plan, I went with their suggestion - only to find out that there's a $50 downgrade charge. I tried arguing with them I shouldn't be charged because prior to upgrading it, they told me that my area does support the speed. And now they're telling me it doesn't. But do they care? Nope.

Now with their FTTH service, I can finally be on a higher speed. Seeing that I've been paying $98 for the last 15 years or so, I figured it would only make sense to stay within the same expense monthly. So I signed up to their $99 plan thinking it's only $1 less than my budget of spending $100 a month for internet. However, much to my disappointment when my first bill came, I found out there's a $13 additional charge for 'telephone rental' which is ridiculous because we don't even have a phone connected to it. But obviously, there's no point to argue with them because there's no alternative internet service provider to choose from. Hence, they don't care.

But back to their latest stint of cutting people's internet off without warning and slowing down of speed. Many tried looking up on their website to see if there's any announcement of maintenance work being done but couldn't find any. Neither were there any updates on their Instagram account about their shitty connection but instead, they had the time to post a 'bahasakitani' (our language).

My first thought to seeing that post was...really? Did I really want to know what 'tangkumus' mean? I came to your page seeking answers for my shitty internet speed but here you are teaching me on a Brunei word that I probably won't even use in my life. Shouldn't they be fixing their shit instead? And that pretty much led me to comment on their post...


Much to my surprise, many people found that comment hilarious and was circulating it around on Whatsapp and Twitter too. I thought TelBru would probably delete the comment eventually but they don't seemed too bothered by it.


In fact, they even reached out to me via DM asking me if everything is ok with my internet connection, which I thought is a nice gesture considering the unexpected burn comment.


But what is the point to even address this when I am sure they know something is wrong with their service. In fact, I would even appreciate it if they'll just DM and tell me the reason why the internet is being a little shit. But no, they would rather pretend like all is well and ask me what is wrong! So, instead of wasting my time typing up my complaints, all I did was reply with a screenshot of my problem.

Of course they didn't respond to that after. Cause TelBru doesn't care. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

"You have a lucky face" / "You are lucky" scam.

Re-posting this from my status update on Facebook which I shared the other day on a rather unique encounter. 

-- 
On my way to my car after work today (while doing my Pokestop runs) an Indian fella stopped me on my track and said "You're very lucky. You have 3 lines on your forehead I can see that is luck". 
That obviously stopped me for a bit as he approached me and said "You wanna know how I know? I can tell people's fortune. You wanna know your fortune?" Curious me nodded yes while my brain let out a big sigh and told me "That's it, you're gonna fall for this somehow."
This "fortune teller" proceeds to make small talks about how I'm happy but I'm only 40% happy while scribbling on his notepad discreetly. He then crumpled up the paper and made me hold it in my first and said "What I wrote in there, you don't know right?" (cues my no shit, Sherlock! moment)
Then he started asking me to pick a number between 1 to 10, my favourite flower, my dad's name, mom's name, wife's name, no of siblings & no. of kids. As I told him those details (Yeah, gullible me decide to give a stranger all my personal details thinking maybe he could be a real fortune teller) he started writing them down while still holding on to the crumpled paper in my fist. After giving him those details, he brought my attention back to my fist and asks again "You know what I wrote in there?" I shook my head with a polite smile. He then asked me to give him back the paper and did some mumbo jumbo with it, gave it back to me and asked me to "blow" on it. 
And then he showed me on his notepad he has written down all the details I've told him previously but to prove that he was a fortune teller, he would've known it already. And it's written in that crumpled paper which he supposedly "predicted". Then he continued saying I have 3 good news coming next month and whatever he's about to tell me I need to keep it to myself because there are people right now that are jealous of me (yay I've got haters!).

His 'prediction' on what I told him. 
Of course for such sorcery, it comes with a price. He then wrote down again saying "Usually poor people will give $50, rich people $100. But money will go to this yoga group *flashes a group photo of a bunch of Indian fellas at some temple* to help them. And then the golden question..."How much you want to give them?"
I told him I don't have any money on me while looking at his offer of 'Poor people = $50' whilst thinking to myself, I must be really poor in his category if I don't have $50 on me right now which is true. He then negotiated and said "It's okay, any amount will do." Here, I would usually just opt to give $10 or possibly more but the problem is - I wasn't impressed with his "prediction" because I knew how it was done. (Hooray for owning a magic store before!) 
Again, he was persistent and said "Any amount can help!" So I just did my 'pretend tap on my pocket move' and said "I don't have my wallet. Got wallet also no money. Sorry!"
Fella then said "God Bless You!" and walked away.  My brain did a victory dance.
-- 
Upon posting that, quite a number of my friends commented and said they've also experienced this scam from different parts of the world. A quick Google search shows this scam has been going on for quite  a while. 

Just Google 'Indian Fortune Prediction Scam'. 
The next time anyone stops you and say you're lucky or have a lucky face, just say thank you and walk away. 


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Foreigner marrying a local Bruneian. A step by step guide.

Time to put this blog to good use again. Seeing that there's hardly any resources online for what one should do when they have decided to marry a local Bruneian, here's what I can tell you in a quick summary. 

Brace yourself. 

Especially when dealing with the immigration department officials and the paperwork requirement. Despite being married for two years now, whenever I have to make a trip to the immigration to renew Calla's visa, my mood instantly turns sour and I just rage mentally. The repetitive paperwork submissions and the waiting time is absolutely ridiculous and if you're unlucky, you'll be greeted with a "Nombor sudah habis" (Out of queuing numbers) just as you arrive at the immigration which pretty much means, screw you - try your luck again tomorrow! And I shit you not, in order to secure a queue number in the morning, one have to start queuing in line by 6 am at the very least while those working at the immigration department is probably still sound asleep at home before their shift starts at 7.30 am.

For mine and Calla's case, before our official wedding in Michigan, we decided on doing a registry of civil marriages (aka court signing) earlier just to ensure a smoother process when applying for her permanent residency here. In order for her to be eligible to apply for permanent residency (Red I/C as commonly known here), we will need to be married for at least two years before we can apply for that. But before we get into the court signing part, first requirement by authorities in Brunei is to 'seek their permission'. Yes, for some reason you will need to have a letter from the Immigration Department saying something along the lines of 'We have no issue to let this foreigner marry this Bruneian.' And to get that crucial letter, it requires a one month waiting period after you have submitted the required documentations. So...I would highly recommend you to plan way ahead of time. We started our process as early as June when we decided on doing the court signing for December. But it ended up being in January to do non-availability of dates.

Anyway, here's a practical guide for all you foreigners out there who wants to know what are the main paperwork requirements should you decide to marry a local Bruneian.

Checklist of documentations required by the Immigration Department.
For those unfamiliar with Malay, here's a simplified English checklist of documents required for a local Brunei citizen & permanent resident that wish to marry a foreigner. 

A. For Wife To Be
- A letter of application from wife to be - 2 copies (sample provided below)
- An authorisation letter to marry (from parents or guardian of wife to be) - 2 copies. *note - it does not matter if your spouse to be is 20 years old or 40 years old, as per their required documentations, you will still need a letter by someone from her side of the family to say 'Yes, I allow this person to be married'. Major wtf, i know!
- Identification card and/or passport - 2 copies
- Passport sized photo - 2 copies
- A letter from your village head to confirm your spouse is single (another wtf) or a statutory of declaration by court - 2 copies. 

B. For Husband To Be.
- Same as the above.

Note: If both the applicants have already been legally married (elsewhere or previously); you will also need to provide the following

- Marriage certificate - 2 copies
- Divorce certificate - 2 copies
- Death certificate (assuming if your previous spouse died) - 2 copies
- Death certificates of parents - 2 copies
- Authorisation of letter from wife & identification card - 2 copies (this I assume for Muslims since they're allowed to marry up to three wives)
- Conversion of faith letter (for those who embraced Islam) - 2 copies. 

Disclaimer: The process of this application will take a month or more. You are reminded NOT to set any wedding dates prior to receiving any official notification from the Immigration Department. This is to avoid any inconveniences.

Sample letter provided by the Immigration on how to write your letter of application to marry the person. I just copy word for word and changed the names and country respectively.
Sample letter of authorisation from parents/guardian provided by the immigration. If either of your spouse is from a western country, then you can just do a simple authorisation letter in English as long as the required details (name, passport & ic number and country of citizenship) is stated. 
Now, for locals and permanent residents, the wtf part of the above mandatory requirement is a letter from your 'ketua kampong' i.e village head. This part I have no idea why it's required but fortunately for my case, my mom knew where our village head lived and the process to get it is pretty simple. Just give him a copy of your I/C and he'll issue you a letter like this. 

Still no idea why there's a need for a random village head to verify that I'm single. I mean really, that's all the letter says. He can vouch that I'm single. I don't even know that guy!

Once you have submitted all of those, you will be given a date to come in for an interview with an immigration official. If I'm not mistaken, you are also required to bring one witness which for my case I brought my mom along as a 'guarantor'. The interview is really just for the officer to formally go through all the documentations in front of you and to explain on certain immigration rules of the country. Technically, it's also for them to verify and judge if your relationship is legit or not. Once the officer is satisfied, you are instructed to come back in about a month time to collect your letter that states the Brunei Immigration have no issues with you marrying your spouse. My advise is -  mark down the date of your interview somewhere and set a reminder to when you need to go collect your letter. Do not rely on them calling you to collect cause that will not happen. For my case, they messed up our letter with typo on my name but thankfully I did not have to wait another month for them to re-do. And it is while waiting for them to re-issue the letter, I saw why it takes a month. The person handling these letters can't type to save their life. From what I could see, everything is already laid out in a template but I guess the struggle is real for the officers to type up different names. 

Once you have receive an official letter of authorisation to marry your spouse from the Immigration Department, laminate that shit immediately. The last thing you want to happen is to have it smeared and/or torn only to have to go through the ENTIRE process again. And trust me, you will need to provide endless copy of this letter for any other immigration related applications in the future. But congratulations on reaching this far! We have only just begun. For the next step, court signing! Here's the checklist from their brochure which you can retrieve from the Registry of Civil Marriages section at the AGC Building. 

Front page
Back page

Dealing with the court is much less complicated since most of them can speak English and the checklist & instructions are pretty straight forward. The only hiccup I had was with providing an official Certified of No Impediment to Marry issued by the Marriage Registry of the applicant's Country of Origin or an Affidavit or Statutory Declaration sworn by the applicant's parents. I initially thought it would make sense to have Calla provide an 'Affidavit of Statutory Declaration' herself done at the U.S Embassy but apparently the court does not recognises that. So we had to get her mom to do it officially in Michigan and Fedex the affidavit back here urgently to secure the date we wanted to do our Registration of Marriage. Once you have provided all of these to the court, then you can officially choose a date to legally be husband and wife in Brunei! 

Us after exchanging our 'legal' vows in 2014. 
Hope the above information is of great use to any of you out there. The next step after this is applying for your spouse to legally stay here which is another shitty lengthy process but I shall not go there because that requires a lot of mental strength and patience. Just thinking about doing a post on that entire process is making me annoyed. My suggestion if you prefer to skip the entire above process? Don't marry a Bruneian. If you really have to, then don't get married in Brunei. It's only necessary if you are planning on settling in Brunei for a bit or permanently. If both you and your spouse have no plans, then do it at whichever country you're living (if it's any easier than the Bruneian process). I wish you the very best of luck and may the odds be ever in your favour. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

A little over two years later...

...and I decide to post something up. What's been happening over the last two years? Oh, nothing much. Got married and stuff. No biggie really.




No idea what made me decide to visit my blog which then led to the thought that I should really post something up. In all honesty, I was planning to delete the entire blog but as soon as I start looking back at my old posts, I realised how much time I've spent on here just typing away. And it's pretty surreal to re-read my thoughts and life from a decade ago.

So here I am, at 29 years old, sitting alone in the room (no, not separated - the missus is back home visiting family on a holiday) sipping away on my coffee cup while my phone is on my side playing on it's own (note: stay the hell away from this game called Summoners War) and updating away on my 16 years old blog. Hilarious.

And for the record, no stones have been thrown, no limbs have been amputated yet in Brunei just in case anyone is wondering. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Boycotting Brunei is the new in thing...

This was probably something that no one saw it coming earlier, but when Brunei went ahead with the implementation of the Syariah law earlier this month, we've been getting a lot of international coverage. And it started off with LBGT supporters calling for the boycotting of the Beverly Hills Hotel in LA. From there onwards, it pretty much snowballed to a bunch of rich and famous people jumping in the boycotting bandwagon of assets owned by the Brunei Investment Agency around the world, particularly hotels under the Dorchester Collection.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

Source: Pink News
Source: Fashion Times

Perhaps the video that surprised me the most was this video of Japanese protesters outside the Ambassador's Residence of Brunei in Tokyo, Japan. 

Having born and raised in Brunei, any form of protests in this country is considered very illegal. Mainly also due to the fact that we are still under a Martial Law since 1962. So to actually see people silent protesting outside an official Brunei premise, albeit it being in a foreign soil, is still pretty mind blowing in a way. 
In a way, all these protests and boycotting about this new law is pretty debatable. I can understand why the western world is outraged about this law because overseas, other countries are working together to give the LGBT community equal rights in society. And here we are, announcing that if you're gay, you'll be subject to punishment if you're caught doing any indecencies in this country. A law that specifically discriminates against the LGBT community just because it is part of their religion. The other point to why people overseas are protesting against this law is also due to the inhumane punishment that awaits if one if caught violating it. Amputations, flogging and the ultimate "jackpot" of being stoned to death awaits them. Hence, the whole subject of violating human rights and what not.
Why I say this is debatable is because, Brunei is neither the first nor the only country that implemented the Syariah law. We're probably the latest country to implement it which is why we're getting all the sudden attention. So, one can easily argue that it is rather biased that Brunei owned assets overseas are currently the only one being boycotted. Why aren't they boycotting assets owned by UAE or other countries that also has the Syariah law? 
Despite all the media attention we're getting internationally, back here in Brunei, people are "uniting" to ward off all the negative attention the country and our ruler is receiving. 
One of the many pro-Syariah posts circulating and shared among Bruneian on Facebook.
While some chose to express their thoughts and feelings through simple statements, others decide to go to the extreme of creating their own Facebook page calling Bruneians to unite and boycott the companies that are boycotting against them, which I think it's slightly amusing considering we're only a population of 400,000+ people. 
The "Boycott Branson's Virgin over his boycott of Sultan of Brunei" page. 
The Pro-Syarah Hudud Law page.
As much as I want to applaud our fellow Bruneians who are trying to show the world they're embracing this new law into their lives, unfortunately it seems like a lot of them have expressed themselves in a manner that contradicts what their peaceful religion teaches them. And it's a shame really. Arguments between the pro-Syariah law and the anti-Syariah law people escalating into personal attacks and threats against others.

Source: Boycott Brunei Page

It's only been 11 days into this new law and things are looking pretty chaotic in the online world while in reality, the talk of this new law among one another seems taboo. People discuss and voice their opinion quietly and discreetly. The latest sermon at the local mosques instructs Bruneians to "remain steadfast and united in the face of criticism" and emphasises that those who are anti-Syariah law are ignorant and not well informed about the law. While that is a rather good emphasis made, I personally think it's a little premature to start preaching on it because just days ago, the Sultan himself had to make a royal speech calling to end confusion on the Syariah law.

And it seems that's what the situation is still like. Confusion. A lot of people are still misinformed or confused about this new law. Some are saying the law is only applicable to Muslims only but in reality, it is actually applicable to non-Muslims too according to the Syariah Penal Code Order 2013.

From the Syariah Penal Code Order 2013. 
Those who have had a browse at this code would agree with me when I say that there is definitely a lot of work that still needs to be done in terms of clarifying the Syariah law. The English level used in this penal code is just wayyyy too deep for an ordinary person to understand. I'm not sure if it's because I'm not a qualified lawyer to understand the lingos/jargons used or my English is terrible or simply because the person who wrote up this penal code has terrible English. Here's an example.


Either way, I still think the media is definitely over-hyping this law for now considering we've only just recently implemented it. And people both locally and abroad are over-reacting because one side claims to be helping us from a human rights perspective, while the other side is refusing help. And all these dramas are unfolding when there's not even any cases yet. Perhaps the wisest move for all is to educate yourself from both perspectives. See as to why there are people who are against this law and why there are some who are for this law.

Think logically for yourself and decide for yourself.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Today you, tomorrow me.

Read something that I thought was totally worth sharing. Someone posted the question "Have you ever picked up a hitch-hiker?" on Reddit and this guy shared a profound experience he had.

By u/rhoner:
Just about every time I see someone I stop. I kind of got out of the habit in the last couple of years, moved to a big city and all that, my girlfriend wasn't too stoked on the practice. Then some shit happened to me that changed me and I am back to offering rides habitually. If you would indulge me, it is long story and has almost nothing to do with hitch hiking other than happening on a road.

This past year I have had 3 instances of car trouble. A blow out on a freeway, a bunch of blown fuses and an out of gas situation. All of them were while driving other people's cars which, for some reason, makes it worse on an emotional level. It makes it worse on a practical level as well, what with the fact that I carry things like a jack and extra fuses in my car, and know enough not to park, facing downhill, on a steep incline with less than a gallon of fuel.

Anyway, each of these times this shit happened I was DISGUSTED with how people would not bother to help me. I spent hours on the side of the freeway waiting, watching roadside assistance vehicles blow past me, for AAA to show. The 4 gas stations I asked for a gas can at told me that they couldn't loan them out "for my safety" but I could buy a really shitty 1-gallon one with no cap for $15. It was enough, each time, to make you say shit like "this country is going to hell in a handbasket."

But you know who came to my rescue all three times? Immigrants. Mexican immigrants. None of them spoke a lick of the language. But one of those dudes had a profound affect on me.

He was the guy that stopped to help me with a blow out with his whole family of 6 in tow. I was on the side of the road for close to 4 hours. Big jeep, blown rear tire, had a spare but no jack. I had signs in the windows of the car, big signs that said NEED A JACK and offered money. No dice. Right as I am about to give up and just hitch out there a van pulls over and dude bounds out. He sizes the situation up and calls for his youngest daughter who speaks english. He conveys through her that he has a jack but it is too small for the Jeep so we will need to brace it. He produces a saw from the van and cuts a log out of a downed tree on the side of the road. We rolled it over, put his jack on top, and bam, in business. I start taking the wheel off and, if you can believe it, I broke his tire iron. It was one of those collapsible ones and I wasn't careful and I snapped the head I needed clean off. Fuck.

No worries, he runs to the van, gives it to his wife and she is gone in a flash, down the road to buy a tire iron. She is back in 15 minutes, we finish the job with a little sweat and cussing (stupid log was starting to give), and I am a very happy man. We are both filthy and sweaty. The wife produces a large water jug for us to wash our hands in. I tried to put a 20 in the man's hand but he wouldn't take it so I instead gave it to his wife as quietly as I could. I thanked them up one side and down the other. I asked the little girl where they lived, thinking maybe I could send them a gift for being so awesome. She says they live in Mexico. They are here so mommy and daddy can pick peaches for the next few weeks. After that they are going to pick cherries then go back home. She asks if I have had lunch and when I told her no she gave me a tamale from their cooler, the best fucking tamale I have ever had.

So, to clarify, a family that is undoubtedly poorer than you, me, and just about everyone else on that stretch of road, working on a seasonal basis where time is money, took an hour or two out of their day to help some strange dude on the side of the road when people in tow trucks were just passing me by. Wow... But we aren't done yet. I thank them again and walk back to my car and open the foil on the tamale cause I am starving at this point and what do I find inside? My fucking $20 bill! I whirl around and run up to the van and the guy rolls his window down. He sees the $20 in my hand and just shaking his head no like he won't take it. All I can think to say is "Por Favor, Por Favor, Por Favor" with my hands out. Dude just smiles, shakes his head and, with what looked like great concentration, tried his hardest to speak to me in English:

"Today you.... tomorrow me."

Rolled up his window, drove away, his daughter waving to me in the rear view. I sat in my car eating the best fucking tamale of all time and I just cried. Like a little girl. It has been a rough year and nothing has broke my way. This was so out of left field I just couldn't deal.

In the 5 months since I have changed a couple of tires, given a few rides to gas stations and, once, went 50 miles out of my way to get a girl to an airport. I won't accept money. Every time I tell them the same thing when we are through:

"Today you.... tomorrow me."