Saturday, August 29, 2009

Liverpool off to a bad start

Liverpool’s new season hasn’t been off to a good start. I wouldn’t use the word crisis yet. After all, we are only three games into the season.

But, to put things into perspective, Benitez's side have lost as many league games in a fortnight as they did all last season.

And of all people, it is our talismanic captain who has to shoulder most of the blame.

Now, before Liverpool fans out there bombard me with hateful comments, let me be clear that I didn’t say it. Benitez did.

But we all trust Benitez enough to know what needs to be done. So I guess this was it. A kick in the backside for our Gerrard to wake him up.

I hope it does the trick – sooner, rather than later.

No doubt we have three key players to return – Aurelio, Agger and Aquilani. And I bet you that they could make a whole lot of difference. But my only fear is that it would be a case of a bit too late.

If Liverpool misses the title again this year – and that’s a big IF – then I hope Chelsea or Arsenal would win it. Heck, I wouldn’t even mind if Burnley goes all the way.

Anyone, except Man United.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What's your Ramadhan KPI?

Ramadhan is here with us again.

Alhamdulillah. Praise be to Allah for we have been chosen to meet this holy month once again.

I have blogged about Ramadhan a couple of times before (see here and here). The message – intended for myself especially – is this: reap the most out of this one month which has been bestowed the most of barakah by the Almighty.

In this day and age when we are crazy and besotted with KPIs, NKRA and what have you, I’d be inclined to ask: what is our KPI for this Ramadhan?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My claim to fame

It is not very often that one gets to meet a top leader. Unless one works at his office – or happens to be a member of his family – it is quite a rare event.

But it is much rarer still to be able to meet two top leaders from opposing political persuassions on the same day!

Well, my claim to fame is to have met Tuan Guru Dato' Haji Nik Abdul Aziz bin Nik Mat and Dato' Seri Mohd. Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak within the space of sixty minutes.

This happened two weeks ago on the day of the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office Complex.

It all started when I got a call from our President with the announcement,

“Zi, I’ve got a special assignment for you today!”

You see, Tuan Guru Nik Aziz being the Kelantan Menteri Besar, is a member of the ECERDC. Prior to the Council meeting (upon his request) he was taken on a tour of the Prime Minister’s Office Complex by a Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

As part of the tour, a briefing was to be given to the Tuan Guru on the development of Putrajaya, which was where I came in.

As the ECERDC meeting drew closer, he was led to the meeting room and left in the company of other Menteris Besar and members of the Council.

I, on the other hand, was led to wait outside the Prime Minister’s office to be introduced to the PM as the officer from Putrajaya who gave the briefing to Tuan Guru.

So there you have it….my very own little claim to fame.
Next claim, Hollywood!?

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Durian dah berbunga!

Some of you would remember the Perak-born comedian, Os singing,

"Oh kome, deghoyan dah berbunga...".

Well, durian dah berbunga indeed at Kampong Kepayang Fair Park, my kampong.

For those of you who haven't seen the flower of a durian tree take a good look at the pic above taken this morning in front of my mum's house. Beautiful, aren't they?

There are three durian trees at Mak's house. Looking at their flower blooms, there's a good chance that this Hari Raya we'll be having durian for breakfast, pulut durian for lunch, and bubur durian for dinner.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Malaysia Airlines System, 1973-1987

Commemorative stamps on the occasion of the establishment of Malaysia Airlines System

Did you know that our flag carrier, MAS, had its beginnings as the Malayan Airways which was founded in 1937?

With the formation of Malaysia in 1963, the airline was renamed Malaysian Airways. It was soon renamed again in 1965 as Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA).

But when Singapore separated (some say “kicked out?”) from Malaysia, and what with both countries having differing aspirations, eager to develop and project their own distinctive identity, it was only matter of time that MSA would be disbanded.

This finally happened in 1973, giving birth to two different airlines. The Malaysian national carrier was from now on called Malaysia Airlines System (MAS).

MAS McDonnell Douglas DC10-30

Those early days saw MAS branding itself more of a regional carrier, connecting a myriad of remote destinations in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. But soon enough it expanded adding, among others, the lucrative KL-London route.

And it was just in time too, I might add. For when I flew to London on 9th September of 1979 to further my studies, it was in a beautiful, gleaming MAS McDonnell Douglas DC10-30 aircraft.

It was just awesome!

The economic boom in Malaysia during the 1980s further spurred the growth of MAS. By the end of the decade, it was flying to 47 overseas destinations. By this time it had also changed its name to the current Malaysia Airlines.

Today MAS serves over 90 international destinations in six continents and boasts a fleet of aircraft that is as good as any other international airlines you may get. This comprises the following:

Current MAS Fleet (Major Aircrafts)

Boeing B747-400SP: 13 crafts
Boeing B777-200: 17 crafts
Airbus A330-300: 11 crafts
Airbus A330-200: 3 crafts
Boeing B737-400: 37 crafts
Airbus A380-841: 6 crafts ordered (year 2011 entry into service)

A MAS Boeing 707

MAS Boeing 747

Saturday, August 01, 2009

I wanted to be a pilot

During my primary school days, if any one of my Apak's friends were to ask me the proverbial question "when you grow up, what would you like to be, son?" I was sure to shoot back "a pilot!".

Yup, there would've been no doubt what so ever in that answer.

For I love aeroplanes.

I think I began to develop this love looking at airline advertisements featured in old magazines and in the newspapers. One such magazine was the Asia Magazine which was distributed free of charge with the New Sunday Times newspaper, Apak's newspaper of choice. Another one was the Readers' Digest.

Old ads especially by BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation), the Malaysia Singapore Airline (MSA) and, much later, MAS (Malaysian Airline Systems) fed to my interest.

An ad for BOAC VickersVC10 aircraft

At first, it was the mind-boggling thought of long distance travelling - flying into the sunset - and being able to go to nice places that I'd seen many times in our encyclopedia set, that first got me hooked.

But later, it was also the sight of beautiful, elegant aircrafts with their graceful wings that further intrigued me.

As my interest grew, I got to the point where I could recognize and memorize the names of all the aircrafts in the papers and magazines. And if there was a picture of an aeroplane or an airline advertisement in any magazine or newspaper (I seldom miss them), you can bet that there'd be a hole in them by the end of the day. I would cut the pictures up and stick them in my scrap book.

MSA ad and timetable

The formation of our very own national airline, MAS, in 1973 further fueled my interest.

I still remember looking on proudly at the very first printed advertisement for MAS in the newspaper. It featured a picture of MAS's first ever fleet, seven spanking new Boeing737s, lined side by side on the runway in dignified fashion.

Oh, how it took my breath away.

They came in a new, bright red colorscheme. The logo on the tail unmistakeably showed the kelantan wau. How, nice, I thought. Befitting Malaysia's very own national carrier.

When I went to boarding school, and later entered university, the intensity of love for aeroplanes waned a bit as I got engrossed in (distracted by) other mundane things like study and assignments. Nevertheless it never faded away.

During one of the summer breaks in UK, I managed to get a part time job selling Red Arrows official magazines at airshows and festivals in which the Red Arrows team were featured.

I had a whale of a time not only selling those magazines, but also looking up the aircrafts on show, as well as, taking pictures (my new hobby then).

Airmen atop a Hercules C3. Pic taken at one of the airshows in UK