Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Happy Birthday Bee! Friday is Najah's 28th birthday. Happy Birthday Bee!

Saturday, April 26, 2003

Out of gas. Najah and her colleague Noreen went to MidValley for a saloon appointment at 1pm today. Half an hour later she called me and asked me to come and help them. Apparently, Noreen's car ran out of gas just as soon as they were about to park. Not that I want to make fun of you Noreen *snigger* but it is quite funny, luckily she did not block any traffic.

The same thing happened to me once. I was running around in my old car (now to be sadly disposed of *sigh*) and I simply forgot to refuel it. It ran out of gas somewhere near our house as we were about to park to have some dinner at Syed's. It was embarassing as I told passerbys that it suddenly went dead. Luckily, Najah's ex-housemate still lived nearby and she came to our rescue. With two mineral bottles of petrol, we were off again.

Always remember to fill up!

Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf has been a celebrity in his own right. I think he makes a better TV person than Saddam. The irony is that some Americans love him too! But not because they like the person but more of his outta-this-world statements. was shut down temporarily due to its sudden popularity. Since its recent restoration, you can find the best of Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf there.

Friday, April 25, 2003

For those who drive to work in KL everyday, don't you just feel that there are just too many cars on the road?

I used to send Najah to work everyday but after a while I felt too tired when I finally get to work. But a favourite exercise that we used to do while we were stuck in traffic was to count how many cars had more than just 1 driver in the car. It was so easy we could even count them as we move! More importantly I think there are jus too many cars out there and something else must be done to ease traffic.

The Government has already one thing right by moving out most (if not all) government departments to Putrajaya. But it would seem to me that traffic has remained the same. What is still wrong?

Many people would say that it's because
1. people are not using the public transport
2. people prefer to drive because it is more reliable and plus they can do shopping n go elsewhere after work
3. they just want to drive

But I forsee that the underlying problem revolves around parking. And my partner agrees with me. In the middle of KL, parking can be as ridiculously low as RM2.50 a day. Compare that to RM2.00 for parking at the LRT station (unless you are parking somewhere illegally!), and a return fare of let's say on average RM5.00, what would you do? Ride or Drive?

Yes you could argue that there is an opportunity cost to all that time wasted in traffic, while the ramblings go on, the average "mat joe" would rather be penny wise and tell you that he prefers to stay within the comfort of his car rather than standing up in a sardine-liked packed train, for 45 minutes for that matter.

So should we force ourselves to use public transportation? The buses are unreliable. Take Puchong for example. It would take me on a normal day roughly 15 minutes to get to work from my house. If I was to take a bus, I would have to go to KL and get a connecting bus. It would not be so bad fexcept or the fact that I live in PJ.

What about trains? Unless your office is not within a 10 minute walk from a LRT station you should really have no excuse. But then again you would complain about lack of realible feeder buses, lack of parking spaces and cramp amenities (especially the Putra LRT). But LRT companies will be quick to say that there is still not enough people taking the trains in order for them to recoup invesments faster and invest in more trains. Thus begins the never ending debate of what comes first, the demand or the infrastructure?

According to my partner, it's the planning. He gives the infamous example of Mid-Valley Megamall. Why on earth would you want to put a megamall by the Federal Carpark? (To others that's what we call the Federal Highway) It is hard enough trying to get there in the first place, then you'll have all these wonderful shops, cinemas and yes even cheap grocery shopping all supposedly "5-15 minutes away" which really takes you an hour till you can actually find parking. Then there is that tussle fighting for your lane on the way back as the Federal Highway splits to SPRINT. According to him what we should have done was to move all the shopping away from busy highways, away from the city. He gives the suggestion of having it by the KESAS highway. It's easy to get to and not terribly busy.

He goes on by giving examples how things are planned in the UK. Where the shopping are really properly zoned.

And there are also the highways; only in Malaysia you will have U-turns coming off and on the fast lane, thus forcing every driver on the slow lane to fight with other faster moving cars who have no intention of giving you way into the U-turn. The fight for lanes continues.

No matter how much I agree with him, we have to put poor planning aside and concentrate on quick fixes. Quick but long term; proper planning can come after the fixes. We agreed that we need to get the commuting vehicles out of the capital. Especially cars with just the drivers.

Fastest way about it this to increase the daily parking rates. In London the daily rates can come up to 20 pounds a day. It is about that in KLCC from morning will evening, unless you have season parking.

But not too tough to chase away your business people who drives to meetings, so we'll need to settle for an appropriate hourly rate with a maximum time limit before the penalty rates kick in, say around 2-3 hours?

I can just imagine the kiasuness of the new Malaysians going out of office every 2-3 hours to capitalise on the loophole. But perhaps Malaysians are not as bad I as I think they are. And if they aren't then this program may work.

People will be forced to use more of the public transport and these companies will have no more excuses not to improve themselves.

It is a cruel fix but I think we need the efficient public transportation system and no earn back those ringgits lost in traffic. By hook or by crook.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Thanks to, for the movable type enthusiasts there is now a new company that will host blogs based on movable type. The company has not been formalised yet but you can still check out TypePad and register for further annoucements.

I have and I can't wait.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Madonna on being Anti-War and on Democracy. It's funny that we're fighting for Democracy in Iraq, Democracy is being questioned here (in the US). People who seem are anti-war or against Bush are punished. That's not democracy..."
CNN 0258hrs 23th April 2003

This was her comment on why she pulled out her latest music video for "American Life" where she was accused being anti-war and she took it off "out or respect for the American troops". She has subsequently changed the music videos appearing in a pseudo military uniform dancing with the flags of the world as the background.

Perhaps we need to "free" the American people from this suppression. If I recall correctly, the Americans also have weapons of mass destruction. Anyone for unilateral action here?

The Campaign for Monogamy For those who have been reading Najah's blog about this, this is the "infamous" News Straits Times article conveniently archived/cached by Google!

Friday, April 11, 2003

It sure has been a while since I last blogged. The truth is I did write something last week and when I wanted to post it, it suddenly disappeared! Bleacchkkhh. And that put me off blogging for a while.

Anyway I am back, well mostly. I have been quite drained by the fact that I still have managed to sort out any of our cars that were involved in those two dreaded accidents. Claiming insurance on the car has been a very tricky and arduous. So far still unsucessful.