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Pil Seung

Location: Penang, Malaysia

February 15, 2008

Big news: Intel is leaving Penang

The Malaysian Chinese newspapers founded by Dr. Sun Yat Sen on Dec 20, 1910, the Kwong Wah Yit Poh (光华日报) reported that Intel is on its way of leaving Penang Island. Here is the link, http://www.kwongwah.com.my/news/2008/02/15/133.html. Personally, I am skeptical on such report, most likely a political propaganda for the upcoming General Election. On the other hand, Penang, and Malaysia in general is losing its advantages compare to China, Vietnam, India, Brazil, and Eastern Europe.

英特尔裁员已获证实 不久或撤资槟州

二零零八年二月十五日 晚上七时二十八分










If you can't read Chinese, you can try Google translation here but don't expect it to be very accurate. Anyway, here is my translation:

Intel confirmed layoff or even withdrawing investment from Penang

February 15, 2008, 7:28 PM

(Penang, on the 15th) - Intel massive layoffs has been confirmed, the day of withdrawing from Penang is not far... sigh!

The Democratic Action Party newcomer, Jeff Ooi, disclosed to the media on Friday that on February 14th, it was reported by News Straits Times, in page 32 of the Business Times that Intel is getting ready to move to Kulim Hi-Tech Park. By then, 5000 employees will be affected, thus affecting the economy of Penang. On this mattter, he specifically sought confirmation from other media, and he got the same answer. Therefore, he urged Koh Tsu Koon to provide an explanation to the people of Penang before he takes up a position at the federal government level.

He said, not long ago, Intel closed the research and development center in Cyberjaya and 250 employees were affected. Recently, Intel closed its office inside the Penang Equatorial Hotel. All these indications show that the day when Intel is leaving Penang is near.

"Over the past few years, there had been many foreign investments withdrawal from Penang, causing the state economy to shrink. He mentioned publicly before that Intel will leave Penang and move to Kulim. However, on January 30th, State Assemblyman, Goh Kheng Sneah told reporters that I was talking nonsense. Intel will not leave Penang. Anyway, facts speak louder than words, Intel will leave soon. The way Penang state government handling this matter is a concern to us."

Jeff Ooi said, the economy of Penang is dropping from the top to the lowest. We lost to Singapore before, and we are losing to Kedah now. We are losing our competitiveness. He urged Penang people to ponder on such change.

He mentioned that the state government told the people that Penang economy is transforming from labour-intensive industries to high-tech industries, but is this the reality?

"I knew that Intel will open a factory in Dalian, China to manufacture the 65 nanometer chip. This is one of the most advanced technology at this moment. Penang is currently producing 300 milimeter chip. This technology is 10 years behind. Looking at the current situation, foreign investment is not transforming to high-tech, but is exiting this Garden of the Orient."

"If they want voters to cast a vote for the National Front, can Koh Tsu Koon guarantee that there will be no withdrawal of foreign investment in 5 years? At the same time, can the National Front government guarantee that the industrial development in Penang is not benefiting foreign labours only, but is actually benefiting local knowledge-based workers?"

Jeff Ooi thinks that the National Front is running out of idea, the people needs to know the truth, and should not simply let Penang to be governed by "anyone". Otherwise, Penang future will be bleak, as she can't compete both within the country and internationally.

February 14, 2008

Pronunciation of the language of love

I found that many people are having hard time with French pronunciation. Here is a page that I used to browse, learning some simple French... hehe.

In conjunction with St.Valentine's Day today, here is a short guide on a few important phrases:

Je t'aime - Joot tam
Je t'adore - Joot tar door
Veux-tu m'épouser - Ver too may poo say

Enjoy yourself and good luck!!!

February 08, 2008

1st class price, 2nd class product, 3rd class service

To my Vietnamese friends who is also celebrating Tết Nguyên Đán, wishing you guys Chúc Mừng Năm Mới. One Vietnamese friend who visited me in Penang last time jokingly asked me, "Beside food, what else do Malaysian sell?" At every corner of the street, you will see food courts, hawker centers, restaurants, etc. here. Favorite past time for Malaysians is of course, eating!!!

For small companies, nowadays big Chinese Malaysian companies as well, there will be a dinner at the restaurant to mark the last working day before Chinese New Year. This is known as "sau gong jau" in Cantonese. The reunion dinner should be eaten at home. Then, from the second day of CNY onwards, people will usually go out and eat "big" again at the restaurant with family members. This is not something new, but is a trend that has become a norm since about 20 years ago. Restaurants are getting more and more, and when is the best time to earn big bucks, if not CNY?

To me, my grandmother is the best cook. I am not a fan of going to restaurant during CNY. While many restaurants are not open, and many people are not working, those left open will try their best to maximize their profits from the ever-forgiving gullible public. To be fair, not many people have such a wonderful grandmother who doubles as a great cook.

In the United States, the price for candies will drop to a significant low before Thanksgiving to encourage people to buy a plenty. Here in Malaysia, people will raise the prices of almost everything, including haircut, before CNY.

Eating out at the restaurant is still affordable. However, I am against this idea. The reason is that I don’t feel like enriching other people by paying first class price. Due to demand for seafood is high and many fishermen are also celebrating CNY themselves, these restaurants will stock up frozen seafood much earlier before CNY. Thus, you will get second hand products.

Then, not all the chefs are working, so those work come to work will be paid triple or more. Waiters will be lesser too. Typical restaurants could not cope up with the number of customers during this time. So, food sometimes will be cooked to a less than satisfactory level. Service will be extremely bad and that's what I call 3rd class service.

In addition to this 1st-2nd-3rd, then you have 4th class people around. In the past, beer is always a favorite during such "eat-big" feast. In recent years, those uneducated Chinese people are also trying to "upgrade" themselves. Citing health as a reason, these Ah Beng nowadays "lim ang jiu" (is drinking red wine) instead of beer.

Anyone from a country with wine culture will shake their head looking at how these Ah Bengs misuse and abuse wine. You can be sure that they have no idea what wine tasting is all about. No idea what kind of grapes, no idea on the aroma, knows nothing except that they know the alcohol level is higher than beer. Some even mix Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Adding some ice cubes and whiskey to the wine are other possibilities… But so far, I have not seen any Ah Bengs eating fried noodle with Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, etc.

February 07, 2008

恭喜发财! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Happy New Year! 新年快乐! Xin Nian Kuai Le!

It's the first day of Chinese New Year today and needless to say, last night was the grand reunion dinner. Depending who you are talking to, there are many ways to explain what CNY is all about. In general, people from different cultures are usually curious about other's cultures. I have many American friends who ask me to "describe" and "explain" CNY in detail. However, the answer you get depends on who you are talking to.

The first way to talk about CNY is to tell about how it is being celebrated. Just talking about those southern Chinese, the Cantonese, the Teochews, and the Hokkiens will each tell a different version. Usually, the Cantonese will have a feast. Chicken, pork, fish, and prawns should (not must) be there on the table. Teochew people, especially those in Penang will have "steamboat", while Hokkien people will only do it big on the 8th day of CNY. This is because they only celebrate it big on the 9th day in conjunction with the birthday of the God of the Heaven.

Cantonese dialect is the most spoken Chinese language outside of China. This tells you that the Chinese diasporas are mainly from the Guangdong province. So, most often, people around the world will hear the Cantonese version of CNY. Thanks also to the help of Hong Kong movie industry. However, this is changing fast as the mainland Chinese, especially the northerners are also "everywhere" these days.

The second way to share about CNY is to tell the legend (maybe, fable) of the "nian" monster. Almost all the Chinese know this and is kept being told from generation to generation. However, those lacking of critical thinking might just take it literally and can't figure out that this story is all about surviving the harsh winter. CNY is actually the celebration of the beginning of spring. All the traditional CNY food is meant to be eaten during the winter. Just one example, Chinese sausage is a way to preserve pork. When spring comes, these surpluses will be used up for the feast.

To ease people's understanding, some people would draw a parallel to Christmas and Thanksgiving. One thing in common is the "rush home" for reunion dinner, everybody is travelling and everybody is having dinner with family members. Then, the differences. One example, they are both in red though, Santa Claus gives gifts, while the Chinese God of Wealth gives real money!!!

February 05, 2008

JPA scholarship

One thing that keeps pissing me off about blogging is that, when you have the time to sit down and blog, you ideas run away. I was just being reminded of this and I decided to blog it immediately. Just last month, an idiot sent a letter to brother Lim and got posted on blog.limkitsiang.com at http://blog.limkitsiang.com/2008/01/25/a-frustrated-goverment-scholar-blogger/. Really a soar-high (in Cantonese).

Someone just talked to me about JPA scholarship recently. My friend was complaining to me about the fact that only 10% on non-Bumiputera are selected for this. OK, what the hell is this fucking JPA scholarship? For those not familiar with Malaysia, the Public Service Department or Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam offers scholarships to those who scored "good grades" in their SPM examination. This is a scholarship where the government will send students to overseas for tertiary studies. Every eligible Malaysians will try their "luck" to apply. The chance of Langitputera is always slim.

Sending students to study overseas started as an initiatives to expose Malays to the world. The belief is that Chinese Malaysians are very rich and they can send their kids to overseas easily. These Malays should come back and serve the country once they have graduated. Local universities are believed to be not able to provide this kind of opportunity. In the past, if I recalled correctly, they offered mainly English speaking countries like United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, etc. I remember that Germany and Japan are there. Today, the list is expanded multiple times that includes countries such as Korea, Russia, and even Finland.

To me, this JPA scholarship is a waste of money and counterproductive. It defeats the original purpose or building a group of elites for the country. It really fucks up these days.

Sending students to overseas are not something new. During the Qing dynasty, in the year 11 of the Tongzhi period, the Chinese Imperial court sent students to study various fields in the United States. How many of them decided not to return to China? How many of them came back and were NOT allowed to contribute to the country? What is the return of investment?

The JPA selection criteria is based on kulification, not qualification. Malays always have lower requirements. So, these people are not cream of the crops. Well, this is actually not my point because even if we fix this selection criteria, sending students to overseas should be stopped be the government totally.

First of all, JPA screwed up big time. They have never set any pressure for them to excel. So, most, if not all of the Malays students are at the bottom of the list of academic achievement. I am talking based on normal distribution. Please don’t quote me exceptional cases. Students can continue to drag on their studies to even up to 7 years to get just a basic bachelor degree. Damn it! Such idiots can then apply to continue their master degree. What a joke?

Second, we have a group of interesting Malay ladies who will just come back to Malaysia and get married once they completed their studies. They are not working anymore after that. What a waste? You might ask me, what about their contract?

JPA has too much money. Transparency and accountability is not required in government departments. When these students returned, they were told there is no job in the government sector. They were just released off their contract. Wow! In reality, the government is always short of people. Those currently in the government has only completed Form Five, and of course, the are damn "afraid" of people with a degree. Same problem happened during the Qing dynasty.

Only those with some connections will be absorbed into the government. For example, the son of a Datuk or Tan Sri. Someone influential in the government can actually afford to send their sons and daughters overseas. They are depriving others who need such funds for education.

Another point to talk about is objective. By spending so much money to send people to overseas, what is JPA expectation on these people? From my point of view, I don’t see that there is a real objective. So, after returning to Malaysia, these people who studied in a "rare language" country such as Japan and Korea end up in call center. Some becomes translators. They acquire the proficiency in a foreign language but how does that benefit the country in long run? Some are doing some business on their own too.

Our local universities are at a very pathetic state. They keep denying that they are deteriorating. Keeping too many idiots and not practicing real meritocracy make it worse than before. Well, they said our universities are of first class. Hahaha… what a joke? They keep contradicting themselves. If our universities are so good, abolish this stupid JPA scholarship and get everyone to study locally.

Why do I care? Of course I care! I pay taxes and these bloody fuckers are wasting my money!!!

February 03, 2008

Welcome to India!

Swagat! Today is the end of my business trip in India and I will be taking a flight tonight back home. The title of this entry doesn’t look right. To some people, visiting India could be a nightmare but I think I am starting to get used to the life in India. For first timer, you might just hate it but after some time, you will start to think deeper, and then you associate things here to back home. Things works towards certain goals but the methods and approaches are different.

Again, welcome to India!!! Culture shock happens to almost everyone. One thing that many people can't tolerate is the traffic condition. As in my previous entry, I mentioned that the traffic here follows no rules except that they stop at red lights. People is driving very near to each other and psychologically, it invades your personal space and you feel that it is dangerous. True to certain extend, but your driver seems doesn’t bother much. You have to live with it.

So, the famous saying here is, "To survive driving in India, you need 3 things, good honk, good brake, and good luck!"

Then, you have different kind of food that you are not used to. Is it tasty? It depends on who you pose this question to. I love Indian food very much but, after eating for some time, my appetite has changed. I love greens, and I love meat.

Here in India, greens still mean it is fully cooked. You may find limited salad in the hotel, but it will be hard for you to hunt for salad outside. Again, there is exception. At certain tourist spots, people are selling freshly peeled cucumber sprinkled with a mixture of salt and chili powder. Succulent is the word I would say, and pretty cheap too.

In my opinion, there are 3 main reasons for human to cook food. First, we cook because we need to kill bacteria and viruses. For example, meat from poultry is full of germ. You need to cook it for you to avoid from falling ill. The second reason is to preserved food. Ham and cheese are examples of preserving meat and milk. Finally, the third reason is to help digestion. Cooking breaks down cellulose and make certain vegetables easily digested by the human body. Therefore, you don’t need to waste energy unnecessary.

Most of the Chinese dishes are cooked but they are mainly cooked for the first and second reason. Chinese New Year rice cake and Chinese sausage are ways to preserved food to survive the winter. Here in India, everything is cooked until it is like Chinese porridge or congee. Most of the food varieties here are made up of simple carbohydrate. Indian food is also cooked with a lot of oil. People on mission - beware!

Poor Chinese people eat rice porridge because that can't afford to eat rice. Making porridge will break down all the rice grains into something very easy to digest. So, people don’t need much energy to get energy from porridge. Hope you get the idea. So, here in India, overcooking of simple carbohydrate has become a culture itself. By the way, desserts are damn sweet that you feel you can dilute everything 10 times and still taste as sweet as sugar cane juice.

Next is use of milk in cooking. Paneer, the cottage cheese looks like a substitute for tofu. This stuff is tastier than tofu, I love it. In Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, curries are "enhanced" with coconut milk. On the other hand, looks like all the Indian curries have milk added. For those with lactose intolerance, you will get diarrhea easily. Since you are not aware of the amount of milk you took, you might blame that to unhygienic food. Well, certain restaurants unhygienic though.

I have a feeling that Indian people in general think they are the poorest in the world. All foreigner are damn fucking rich. When you go to visit any tourist spot, the big sign board tells you that you are paying a few thousand percent more. For example, locals pay 10 rupees which is equivalent to RM 0.90 or USD 0.26. Foreigners have to fork out either 250 rupees or USD 5.00. OK, they think foreigners earn 25 time their salary, what a fucking rip off. Well, I don’t think these smart Indians want US dollars these days as USD 5 worth 190 rupees only.

Beggars on the street beg from foreigners only. I have not given a cent to beggars. These people can go to work, OK. Back in the street in New York, they are damn fucking many homeless people. I read one report that the use of soup kitchen is increasing as well.
However, fucking westerners are encouraging these lazy Indians to beg. Maybe there is some kind of conspiracy going on, I don’t know. Another reason could be the white people thought that they are "superior". Don’t be fooled by beggar holding young babies as young as a few months, the babies might not belong to them. Shit! What kind of fucking society?! My taxi driver told me, some beggars can buy lands, while he can't buy any even after driving for 15 years. Well, he said, the only things that these people don’t have is dignity. Long story…

Everyone is thinking of ripping off foreigners. People come to India because certain things are cheaper. For example, medical treatment, IT related job outsourcing, etc. One thing they don’t realize is - many things outside of India are damn fucking cheap. Fruits, vegetables, clothes, electrical appliances, electronics gadgets, and computer parts are much cheaper in Malaysia. But these idiots thought we are coming to shop for cheap stuffs and charge a premium as well. It adds up to be exorbitantly high price.

When they keep do that, sooner or later, Europeans with their strong Euro will not be able to withstand it. Furthermore, their products are not of first class quality though. The only exception is the near first class service, coupled with excellent lips service. Maybe, angmo loves it when people call them "Sir" day in and day out. To me, I would rather carry my own luggage. Fuck, don't tell me that you can carry it for 2 miles at the airport during transit but you can't take it from the hotel lobby to your room. I don't need to be pampered.