Friday, 27 June 2008

caution if you do not like controversies stop here!! reader's discretion is advised.

whoa.....hey ian, nice to finally have something that i can blog about again in here since once upon a time ago..hehe.. hope u wont mind some controversy in ur blog thoh now that im using it for some personal if u havent yet open the news paper since like yesterday, the latest news in penang is that the dreaded porr (penang otter ring road) and the monorail system is gonna be paused or stopped or wtv it might be, its not going as well...and im glad of it.

not to be totally political in here, but its not really fair isit that "they" wud just impose anything on this group of ppl and expect them to like it even thoh it is not well tot certain ca-ching going into some f***** lucky fella's pocket...sorry ian, if u think im touching any sensitive issues here, just go ahead and delete this post.

but, a penang kia is a penang kia....feeling damn proud of being penangite now, but then again when was i the sense that ppl are active in their own surroundings and taking change of their own destiny makes me feel that its our responsibility as archis to be more sensitive.

just look at the post below the name itself will spore tall majestic buildings in your mind, their "concrete and glass gardener" seem to have a brand spanking new garden to grow anything they like there, and its ok...because dubai was a waste land b4 the turn of the century like some 50years history, no culture reference. but this island city of about 1.5mil population half way around the globe has a history and culture dated since the 17th century...totally different story right..... but no the "they" still dont get it and when will "they" learn that the value of true power lies with the people...they dont even live here for crying out loud, so how would they know that its da best...again sorry if im too political..

so it goes, pouring in one "disaster" after the other, first the iconic towers, and now usm is claiming its name over some business park called science@usm....spending not only hard earn tax payers money but also sacrificing the little greens left on the island. and this kind of phenomena is not happening only here, its happening all over the northern states, but one can only be aware of so many, so if its possible go have ur own research done cuz i dont know if i can say so much here with all the touchy touchy issues, but if u do...pls do educate and inform the people around u about all these things.

and ian, if u find this too offensive im sorry and u can delete this. but still i thank u for giving this platform out for me to deliver without ur consent.

Thursday, 26 June 2008


Surely a different perspective on life... (View from the tallest bld in the be finished end-2008) That's the YouTube link for the DYNAMIC TOWER

Tuesday, 17 June 2008


Received from A Toong with thanks. Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2008 22:32:05

Then again, you can pursue the story slowly, line by line, word by word, pausing so often to reflect on what you have just read. You can even write down your own comments on the page margin, and this exercise is like having an exciting dialogue with the author. ...Read on for more...

Food for the soul
Sim Kwang Yang Jun 14, 08 12:57pm

“I remember distinctly the suddenness with which a key turned in a lock and I found I could read…” So wrote Graham Greene in his essay entitled MCPX The Lost Childhood.

We are all shaped by our childhood experience, though in our adult years we tend to lose our innocence, and can recall those important moments only through the hazy cobweb of our memory.

My moment of enlightenment came when I was about four years old. In those impoverished days just after the war in Kuching, my family lived in a rented room in a house with earthen floor. My father used to squat on the floor and, scratching the characters on the floor with a stick, taught me my first Chinese words: cow, goat, grass, and flower.

In those days when most Chinese adults in the neighbourhood were illiterate, my father stood out as a learned person, for he had worked as a teacher back in his kampong in the old country. He spent many hours narrating to me the stories of On the Waterfront, the exploits of the 72 heroes who were driven to become bandits in the mountains by the unjust imperial court of China. He would then write out and teach me the colourful nicknames of the 72 warriors.

With a suddenness with which a key turned in a lock, I remember reading the unabridged version of On the Waterfront for the first time in its entirety in one go. The experience had shaped my reading habit since then. I would skip meals and sleep, just to get to the end of the story, swallowing the entire book without much digestion, going back to it many times in the ensuing years. That was exactly the way I swallowed all the major works of Dostoyevsky when I discovered him in my college days in the frozen landscape of Manitoba, Canada.

Chinese literature

For those of you who are remotely familiar with the Chinese culture, On the waterfront is one of the four greatest classics of Chinese literature, the other three being The Journey West (featuring the great monkey god warrior), The Tale of the Three Kingdom, and The Dream of the Red Chamber. Any modern-day Chinese who does not know an episode or two from these great works of art would not be considered culturally literate. Such a Chinese would not know what he misses in life!

It was easy to plunge headlong into the wonderful world of story books in those days. There was no television, no computer game, and no shopping mall to distract you. As a child, you played games with friends from the neighbourhood, went with them to catch a few small muddy fish from the nearest drain, and you read whatever you could lay your hands on.

By the time I was in primary six in a Chinese school, I discovered the very mature writing of Lu Xin, arguably the most influential Chinese writer in the 20th century. He made some reference to Nietzsche, whom I was to study with a vengeance two decades later. Looking back with a suddenness with which a key turned in a lock, I now realise Lu Xin had jolted me into a primordial form of political discontent even at that tender young age. It was a sobering way of growing up.

In that Canadian university where I studied molecular biology, the liberal arts tradition there also allowed me to take a minor in English literature. It was a training exercise in speed reading. The professor would give us a list of 50 books or so covering all the major authors in the entire history of English literature, and we were supposed to have nodding acquaintance with these greatest creative geniuses in the world within the span of three months.

I could never finish Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and my battle with Middle English was lost
forever. James Joyce proved to be another tough nut, and I wondered why they hailed him as arguably the most profound English writer in the 20th century.

Nevertheless, one did pick up the various techniques of literary criticism. These techniques do not make reading more enjoyable, but allows one to derive greater understanding if a book is to be read seriously and slowly.

Of course, you can read at any pace you like. You can devour the content ravenously, for some books are like that. A week later, you would not even remember what you have read. Pulp fiction tends to do that to you.

Notes on what your read

Then again, you can pursue the story slowly, line by line, word by word, pausing so often to reflect on what you have just read. You can even write down your own comments on the page margin, and this exercise is like having an exciting dialogue with the author.

I like to make notes as I read. For a great writer like Graham Greene, his prose is so concise. So stylish, and so fluid, and his observation of the human condition is so astute, that it is worth the effort to copy down long passages in your note book. After many years, the reading notes also stack up to a huge pile, and it is another pleasurable trip down memory lane to revisit those notes; they reflect your level of maturity and the state of your heart and mind at a particular stage in your life.

Indeed, there are different books that appeal to different stages of your life. In my teens, I found Tolstoy too wordy for comfort. I picked him up many decades later, and could not finish reading his Ana Karina in its entirety; it was too painful to continue the tragic progression of Ana’s self-destruction in the name of passion and love.

As one gets older, and the end of one’s lifespan is in sight, one begins to become very selective about one’s reading material. Pulp fiction and plain entertainment stuff that makes up the bulk of our best selling lists are out. They are a useless drain on the eyes and the grey matter. Instead, I keep going back to the great classics that have withstood the test of time.

Naturally, I congratulate myself for having this compulsive addiction to books. Every pensioner knows that the endless hours in those endless days of retirement would seem impossible to fill. But, in the company of shelves and shelves of books, the days and nights turn into long pleasurable stroll down the imagined lane lined with great minds.

Unlike the television or the computer, books give you that freedom of choice and the space for your mind to explore, reflect, and pause once in a while. There is no sound and fury emitting from the television screen or the computer monitor to assault your senses. You go at your own pace, with the freedom to choose your fare.

These books in your personal library are indeed old friends, whom you have met and cherished through those long years. They sit there quietly, on the shelves, never imposing, but always ready to inform, entertain, and educate.

Unlike the television and the computer, books can be brought anywhere you go. They make great companions when you go for a long trip, making those long hours of waiting at airports, train and bus stations boredom-free.

Read for enjoyment

Books can be read anytime, anywhere, under all weather conditions, in all kind of lights. When good friends meet, they ask one another about the latest books that they have read. They discuss books and their authors. They loan one another books, an unwise practice since I cannot remember how many good books I have lost from loaning them to friends.

When I have a little money, I buy books. Then, if there is any money left, I buy beer. As you flip through the fresh pages of a virgin book, the fragrance of the ink soothes you like the fragrance of flowers.

Many people wax lyrical about the profit of the reading habit, gaining knowledge, getting information, improving English proficiency, and furthering one’s career and so on. In my sunset years, I read for the enjoyment of it. Books give me food for my soul. It is so bad that if I stop reading for a few days, my face staring out from the mirror looks positively repulsive!

These are disturbing and stressful times in Malaysia. The spectre of inflation stares at us at the near horizon. Judges are coming out finally with revelations of how top politicians tried to screw up our judiciary and succeeded. The transport system is still an ungodly mess. Unhappy days are here again.

Fortunately, I still have my books. At the moment, I am reading The Adventure of English – The Biography of a Language by Melvyn Bragg. I think I shall go to the Border Bookstore at Time Square this weekend and see what I can pick up for my next banquet of stories and ideas.

How about you? What good books have you read lately?

Sunday, 15 June 2008



(INASREKA TEAM: Ian Ng, Yong Hui Jing, Yong Hui Ying, Cheng Mao Yang, Bryan Sia)

At the start, 1 June 2008

Progress, 19 June 2008

Aluminium strip inserts for terrazzo.

26 June ... still messy... but we'll get there..
laying insitu terrazzo...

2 July 2008... another day of grinding, and installation of the glass panels will commence...

...some of the frames for the glass panels already up..

and next 3 pics taken Sat 5 Jul, after Datum.
...testing the perforated roller shutters
....will be 100% done by Monday... Promise.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

BELATED ON As...with pics..haha

A thousand apologies for being one month late, but this does deserve a comment.

Tx, All, for the rather frank revelations. They're eye openers to me as I was never in the same league as some of you. We could never dream of anything more than 8 As in our days. 8 was the max no. of subjects we were allowed to take. (I would have been happier if it were 6..haha.)

And needless to say, my score came nowhere near that..haha. 5 As, not bad, but not good enough to boast about, just bearable enough not to be ashamed of.

But the main thing was...i dun remember being too affected by it all at all. I just happily brushed it aside and dropped into Form 6. I guess taking part in all those sports and photo competitions and fellowships distracted me somewhat. (Later, they would distract me much too much..haha.)

Those were the days when we lived charmed lives, without tuition and without peer comparisons. Education then was a little more holistic, i guess.

And having gone thru it all the thing i guess i could have done with most was...Guidance. There wasn't enough of it.

Had i known what architecture (or architectural education) was all about I wouldn't have been so silly as to plum for double maths in Form Six. Hated it. I would have been happier doing Eng. Literature, Economics, Physics and Art, or Logic or Speech and Drama (if they were available--Drat the Educ system!). Of course i loved the General Paper.

And I might have made a better choice in a school of architecture. Not that Leeds Metro was bad, i hasten to add--it was a good school. But I might have chosen a warmer and more scenic city to spend 6 years in, since i had access to almost any of the 50 schools in the UK. Like, 'all i want is a room somewhere, far away from the cold night air.' Haha!

It was freezing in my basement flat in Leeds..hahaha. We had 2 of the coldest winters in the last 50 years, or something crazy like that. (Icicles hung over my front door, and we went toboganning in the white park.) Somewhere around London would have been perfect. (You get huge discount for theatre tickets with your student card.. Haha)

As you can see, i've drifted far far away from the subject of how many As did u get...haha. That's precisely it. It's not how many As that matters in the end.
So what does matter then?
Well, if i had to put it down to something, i'd say it comes down to making sure that you steer yourself always to the place of the pulse of life, to a place where it's as happening as you can take, where the frequency of the action is at a level you can manage comfortably, where there's enough challenge for you to change into what you want to become.

Friends you can make, wherever you go, new ones, though the presence of old ones helps. I guess we've all got to be open to the new as far as this goes--it comes with the exploration of new ideas, it's a given.

But, hey, we mustn't be so dismissive of what you DID achieve in your numerous As, even if the echoes of the hooha have long faded from memory. If you worked hard for it, then be forever pleased with it. No room for false modesty here. Just see it for what, as Weiyang said, it was--an outcome of discipline. As long as you see that as a mere subset of the greater education (re: my posting COUNTER CULTURE, today) i reckon you'll all do just fine.

Saturday, 7 June 2008


Not what the World is telling you...but well worth declaring with a louder volume. Not that i think you're kids or soon-to-be parents, or that it spells my teaching manifesto. But heck, if any...this comes close to it. How is it going to fit into your already crammed and brilliant minds? I'll leave that to you.

Six Values For Raising Outstanding Children
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach - Friday, 9 May, 2008

In this election year it bears repeating that the major changes all of us seek will not come from politicians so much as parents, not from senators so much as teachers. Politicians change big things. But in America it's the little things - our marriages, raising children, finding individual purpose - where we most fail.

With so many social ills afflicting our culture, it is time that we made fundamental changes to our values. Here is a list to revamp the values with which we raise our children:

1. Stop asking children what they want to do, and start asking them who they want to be.

The first question speaks to occupation. The second speaks to character.
Our children see right through our hypocrisy. We pretend to be interested in the kind of people they will become, but seem upset only when they don't get into Harvard. But whether your children become garbage collectors or president of the United States is subordinate to whether or not they are ethical people.

Let's stop giving them mixed messages by always prodding them about the careers they will choose as opposed to the goodness they will live. The moral question always comes first. Dale Carnegie demonstrated definitively in How To Win Friends and Influence People that what people most wish is to be good. Our responsibility is to attune our kids to their inner voice of conscience.

2. Focus children on a calling rather a career.

Once we parents deliver the message to our kids that we want them to be good even more than we want them to be "successful, " our educational system can follow suit by guiding our children toward a calling over a career.

Career focuses on self-aggrandizement and accumulation. It encourages narcissism and fosters insecurity. The child is encouraged into a life of self-absorption as he measures his success by how far along he is in comparison to his peers. He is trained to be outward-oriented, determining his self-worth by his position on the career ladder and viewing his companions as competitors.
By contrast, a calling teaches the child to fixate on his unique gift, the special contribution with which he is endowed to enrich the world, thereby developing his individuality. A child with a calling encourages the success of others, but a child with a career always feels threatened by another's success.

3. Value intellectual curiosity as opposed to grades.

Here is a paradox for you to ponder. How is that 60 percent of Americans have a college degree, but an equal number can't find Iraq on a map? Americans are more educated and more ignorant than ever. Here's why. They are trained to perform rather than to know, to ace exams rather than love knowledge, to specialize in particular subjects rather to be curious about life as a whole.

As a result, their existence bores them. After four years of higher education, they settle down to a life of Access Hollywood and People magazine. Kids who are attentive in class come home and sit with jaws agape as they watch the same mind-numbing videos over and over again. They don't read books unless they are required to by school.

I would rather have a child who goes to a community college and is a sponge for information than a child who goes to Harvard but has no passion for history, ideas or current events.
Business success stories bear this out. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison all dropped out of school. They were successful because of their limitless curiosity, not their earth-shattering SAT score.

Our grades fixation is undermining our children and turning them into circus monkeys designed to perform. We have to start telling our kids that grades are only one barometer of a far more important issue: their curiosity about life. As I tell my kids repeatedly, "All I want to know is that you want to know."

4. Stress purpose as opposed to happiness.

Mothers and fathers telling their children "I just want you to be happy" is one of the silliest parenting mantras ever. What if being a lazy beachcomber makes the kid happy? What if womanizing does it for him, or drugs?

This is aside from the fact that the only thing that brings real happiness is a sense of purpose, as Viktor Frankl compellingly argues in his 20th-century masterpiece Man's Search for Meaning. A child must be taught that his life has to be directional, other-oriented and purposeful. If he devotes his life to a worthy cause, then personal fulfillment and happiness will naturally follow. But if he squanders his potential, his life will be filled with misery.

The pursuit of happiness makes a child a burden to himself. The pursuit of purpose, however, liberates our talents and brings joy.
5. Put family before friends.

Placing friends before family is yet another destructive modern value. Friends love you for your virtue, your sense of loyalty, your sense of humor. But family loves you for just being you. A child's formative years requires the unconditional love that only family can offer, rather than the more tentative love that friendship affords.

This is not to say that friendship is not important, rather that the ratio of family-time to friendship-time in after-school hours must be at least five to one.

6. Seek love as opposed to attention.

Everyone today wants to be famous, especially our kids. I am convinced that the lust for attention is a result of the death of love. Hollywood celebrities have the adoration of the cameras. But they can't seem to stay married or keep themselves or their kids out of rehab.

That's because the love of the masses is fickle and dependent on your ascendant or waning fortunes. It exploits human insecurity and leaves you feeling used.

Our children need to know that attention is a cheap forgery of love, a flimsy imitation of the real thing. They must learn to love people without expecting anything in return. To be the hero without the spotlight. To do right because it's right, when no one is looking, and where no recognition will follow from their virtuous act. Lending dignity to others is the surest way to acquire it yourself. :)
(All scenes from Inner Mongolia)