Thursday, August 31, 2006

Review: SonyEricsson K800i Cybershot

Like I mentioned in an earlier blog, I bought a new phone a couple of weeks ago. It's the SonyEricsson K800i. For a full list of specs, go to

It's your everyday 3G phone (video calls), plays MP3s, MP4s, FM radio, Java applications and games, about 68MB of free phone memory (out of the box), a Sony Micro M2 memory card slot and a full featured personal assistant. Nothing special about the phone specs.


It's got a big screen with very, very high resolution. At least as good as the later N series phones or PDAs, if not better.

The 3.2 megapixel autofocus camera is excellent. Lots of people have been raving about the Cybershot branding and my feeling is that it's not undeserving of the praise. It has the best flash for a cameraphone yet. A real xenon flash, same as those used in regular cameras instead of the usual LED flash.

The 1st picture is of my 2 previous phones, taken at 1 megapixel resolution using the K800i - in a darkened room with flash. The next picture is the K800i, taken at 1 megapixel resolution using the Samsung D500C - in the same room with flash. Huge difference in quality.

The big superb screen, xenon flash and autofocus camera does have its drawbacks. Firstly it's a porker at 115gms. My Nokia 8210 and Samsung D500C are about 80gms each. Makes a huge noticeable difference sliding around in your shirt pocket.

Secondly, the life of the 900mA battery is horrendous. With heavy use, be prepared to recharge daily. Used like a normal phone with occasional photoes, mp3, games etc, you'll be doing well if you squeeze ~2-3 days from it. If you're thinking about using a 2nd battery, forget about it. The battery cover is so tight that I've not managed to remove it since I bought the damn phone (the sales chick put my simcard in for me).

But the smart charging (controlled by the phone's software) is good. It charges very rapidly initially (confirmed by a travel charger that becomes hot to the touch) and only takes about 15 minutes to reach 50%. Then it cools off (literally), taking another 1.5-2 hours to fully charge.

Then you have the proprietry Sony Micro M2 memory card. It's brand new in the market, and like all new stuff and being Sony, it's expensive as hell. About USD 100 for 512MB and the 1GB card is not even available yet.

Lastly, the phone doesn't seem as robust (in a touchy feely sense) as my other phones. In just 2 weeks of usage, I've managed to scratch the screen (no friggin idea how that happened, but I've now pasted a plastic screen protector on it) and my thumbnail somehow managed to delaminate the top layer on one of the soft keys (#5) during an intense game of Java tennis. Now the key has sort of a 'blister' on it. And although the build quality is excellent, you'd really don't want to drop it on the floor. I just don't think it'll survive, but I might be wrong since this is my first SonyEricsson.


I still love the phone. The camera is priceless, especially for someone like me who flatly refuses to pocket both a phone and a camera. I've been taking fuzzy pictures or none at all for years due to my stubbornness. No more, with the K800i's excellent camera.

A plus point is that there's very little delay between pressing the button and the shutter activation. Almost as fast as a normal digital camera and wayyyyy, wayyyyyy faster than the D500C and any N series I've tested. You also get the Bestpic functionality (which takes 9 photos in rapid succession) and sport mode for taking quick pictures. Auto focus and one button adjustment for landscapes, portraits, night shots, documents etc make it really user friendly.

If you can't make up your mind, here's a review comparing the K800i with other 3.2 or above megapixel phones, N73, Samsung D900, LG KG920 plus the newest N93 which is marketed as a Videocam-phone.

Also, here's an interesting comparison between a 3.2mp K800i with 2 "regular" cameras with typical huge megapixels - a 8mp and a 12mp Canon.

Finally here's a pic of the chickadee who sold me the phone at Carrefour Hypermarket. Taken with a K800i held by sweaty hands, at 3 megapixel resolution, with donno what settings right out of the box.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Challenging times for the towkays

Recently, Chinese businessmen met Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi about the economy. Foremost on their minds were, of course, the NEP and the targets set for bumiputra participation in the economy.

In my opinion, the NEP obssesses too much on the objectives (for eg. 30% of equity belonging to bumis, 1 bumi businessman for every 1.5 Chinese ones etc), but pay scant attention on how to meet those objectives.

For almost 40 years, the govt seemed to think that if you threw enough money at the bumis, they will learn, learn to uplift themselves and learn to succeed. But what has that thinking left us? Tun Mahathir was the first to despair that the bumis had largely failed to reap the benefits the affirmative policies had intended.

Here's my thinking why the policies and a trillion ringgit over 40 years have failed to bear fruit.

Simple... it's a mistaken link that at a communal level, OPPORTUNITY and RESOURCES equals PROGRESS. What's painfully missing is the element of LEARNING, or more specifically the MOTIVATION and INCENTIVE to learn.

It's like fishing. Give the man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.

What we've been doing for the past 40 years, is throwing fish at someone in the hopes that they somehow learn to fish. What we've ended up with are people addicted to fish, but with no fishing rod.

So, how do you make him learn? How do you incentivise and motivate him to learn to fish?

Instead of giving him a fish, give him a piece of bamboo instead and point out where the nearest pond is. And most importantly, make sure he starves if he doesn't turn the bamboo into a rod and catch some fish. And after he learns to fish, show him how to grow bamboo and give him directions to the ocean.

Below are some excerpts from the relevant article. The complete article is here

Opinion: Challenging times for the towkays
20 Aug 2006 Chow Kum Hor

But this time, Heng says, domestic policies also add to the disquiet among Chinese businessmen. One is a numerical target contained in the 9MP. Unlike previous plans, the current five-year national economic blueprint has set out to reduce the income disparity ratio between Bumiputera and Chinese as well as between Bumiputera and Indians.

The Government wants to reduce the Bumiputera-Chinese ratio from 1:1.64 in 2004 to 1:1.5 by the end of the Plan period in 2010.

Heng calls this "NEP-Plus" — an added target to the two-pronged NEP goal of poverty eradication and economic restructuring.

Although the 9MP does not spell out how this will be done, she believes one way is through the "Guidelines on Foreign Participation in the Distributive Trade Services".

Under the 2004 guidelines, all wholesalers, retailers and specialty stores with a foreign stake must have at least 30 per cent Bumiputera equity. These businesses must also raise their paid-up capital to RM1 million and ensure that their staff reflects the country’s racial composition.

"If implemented strictly, it will kill a lot of start-ups," says Dr Jeffery Goh, the Cheras MCA service centre director. "Many companies in the retail industry form alliances with foreign partners to acquire technology and rights. "These guidelines will be counter-productive in a globalised economy."

He estimates that 90 per cent of retail businesses are owned by non-Bumiputeras.

Fong says the Cabinet is also reviewing the controversial Distributive Trade Services Guidelines. "It’s not the Prime Minister’s intention to rob Peter to pay Paul.

"You can ask the developer of a condominium project to allocate 30 per cent of the units to Bumiputera buyers. "But it is not fair to build a bungalow and say that 30 per cent of the rooms should be occupied by Bumiputeras."

All in all, Fong says, Chinese businessmen in the country have shown resilience in overcoming economic difficulties over the years. This time, too, it should not be any different.

Let’s all pray together, says Aziz.

Let’s all pray together, says Aziz

JOHOR BARU: Muslims and non-Muslims should pray together at the beginning of public functions.

“The person leading the Muslim prayers should ask the non-Muslims to pray according to their respective religions,” said Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin.

“Christians, Buddhists and Hindus have their own prayers. When we (Muslims) are praying, they can pray, too. Let us all pray together for the good of the country. All prayers are good. We do not want anybody to feel left out during prayers,” he said.
For the rest of the article, go here

Now that's an idea. I always wondered what to do with my hands, should I close my eyes, or look at the ground, or look at the sky? - when doa(s) were being recited during "official" gatherings etc.

But won't allowing "kafir" religions into official functions "undermine" the status of Islam as the country's official religion?

And won't simply acknowledging the existence of "other" religions somehow, however inperceptibly, damage someone's akidah, as Islamist are wont to claim?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

What's become of Malaysian universities?

I just bought a new hand phone last evening after work. And it was EXPENSIVE! RM1700 to be exact. A new Sony Ericsson K800i Cybershot. Cool 3G phone with a 3.2 megapixel Sony Cybershot camera that was launched not more than a month ago.

It's downright expensive and practically wiped out my savings for last few months. And I already have a phone. More than a few, actually. But hey, I'm young, work damn hard to earn a commensurate salary and I need to enjoy life, don't I? I've got corporate life and medical insurance, some investments and a little bit saved up for rainy days... what else can I do with my money?

Since I don't gamble, drink or fool around (plump little chinamen tend to get less pussy, for some reason ;p), I buy stuff. Since I started working, I've buying stuff non-stop. Cars and car parts to modify it, laptop computers, handphones, game consoles, games, DVDs, VCDs, CDs, gadgets and other nifty electronic doohickies.

So, if you ask, where's my savings? Well, I don't have any. I've spent it all already.

And what does my lack of savings have to do with the state of Malaysian universities? This brings us neatly into today's topic.

Lots of Malaysian Chinese and Indian parents saved religiously so that they could afford to send their kids to universities overseas, or at least, to private tertiary institutes. Why?... we all know about the quota system and unavailability of certain "strategic" courses to non-bumis... so, I won't rehash all that. Bottom line, is that most non-Malay parents had to save up every penny to send their kids to school.

Well, I didn't save up. And I'm still not saving up. Not because I don't have any kids yet (that's just a technicality because someday, a woman sympathetic or gullible enough to bear the fruit of my loins will walk into my life. But that's another story). No, it was because I thought things would change.

Growing up in the roaring optimism of the 1980s and 1990s, and tempered into adulthood by foolish idealism, I just assumed that non-bumi Malaysians would share the same privileges to local universities like our bumi brothers and sisters by the time I had kids of university-going age. I had dreamt that black children, brown children and yellow children would, over the years, learn to truly share the blessed bounty of our country, and gang up on white children to give them a hard time.

Since Pak Lah came into power, meritocracy has been introduced and thankfully, the govt has not backed down from this commitment, despite the reintroduction of the NEP. Sporadic incidents of un-meritocratic nature have cropped up, but they are being addressed - albeit reluctantly by the bureaucratic dinosaurs from the pre-Badawi era.

However, something else in our universities has elbowed itself into the equation. And that's STANDARDS. The standards of our local universities have dropped so much (or have progressed so little - depending on your viewpoint) that it might NOT be the wisest move to send my future kids there, even if they get into the courses they want.

Kit Siang: Shame, not a single M'sian university is of world standard
Husna Yusop

PETALING JAYA, Friday 18 August, 2006: Malaysia was omitted for the fourth consecutive year in the Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Top 500 Universities.

Parliamentary opposition leader Lim Kit Siang said this shows the quest for academic excellence and university quality in the country has again drawn a blank.

"Not a single Malaysian university was listed in this year's ranking although five more universities from the Asia-Pacific region made into the list compared to last year (2005).

Lim said the 92 universities in the Asia-Pacific included in the list come from Japan (32), Australia (16), China (9), South Korea (9), Israel (7), New Zealand (5), China - Taiwan (5), China - Hongkong (5), India (2) and Singapore (2).

UPM ruckus: Students let off with an "advice"
Pauline Puah

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 18, 2006: The students who caused a ruckus in the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) canteen on July 17 (2006) will be let off with an "advice".

After a three-week probe into the incident, UPM vice-chancellor Prof Dr Nik Mustafa R. Abdullah said the students would only be adviced not to repeat their behaviour.

"We will call the students and advice them that we have to respect each other. This is the university's responsibility to educate them rather than punishing them," he told a packed press conference in the university today.

seantang's note: See! I told you it'd be no more than a slap on the wrist. This type of 'discipline' is a farce!

High degree of sexual promiscuity and ignorance on campus
Shamini Darshni

KUALA LUMPUR, 18 August 2006: They either have no fear or are ignorant. Either way, Malaysia’s best and brightest are flirting with AIDS and death every day, suggests a survey of private colleges and public universities.

One in two young adults are having sex. Unnerving? Try this. Eighty per cent of them do not use contraceptives. Latest figures show that sexually-active university and college students, between the ages of 18 and 25, do not even think about condoms when they hop into the sack.

These are some of the findings.

• One-third (34 per cent) thought condoms cannot help prevent the spread of HIV

• One-fourth said a person could be infected with HIV through a bite from a mosquito, flea or bed bug

• Sixty per cent thought that a man would be able to tell when a woman has STD

• More than half (53 per cent) said a person with STD would show symptoms.

Many respondents had a basic knowledge about sexual and reproductive health but "this did not translate into the right behaviour".
70% of grads from public institutions jobless
B.Suresh Ram

KUALA LUMPUR, July 3, 2006: Some 70% of public universities and institutes of higher learning graduates in the country are unemployed.

This is in contrast with 26% for private institutions of higher learning and 34% for foreign graduates.

Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Bakar said 20,217 graduates registered with the ministry's Job Clearing System were still unemployed as at June 12.

The breakdown showed UiTM as having the highest number of unemployed graduates with 3,278 (16.2%) followed by UUM 1,532 (7.6%), private institutions of higher learning 1,217 (6%), UTM 1,147(5.7%), UKM 971 (4.8%), UPM 919 (4.5%), other public institutions of higher learning 840 (4.2%), UM 531 (2.6%), USM 505 (2.5%), UMS 371 (1.8%), UIA 358 (1.8%), foreign graduates 342 (1.7%), Unimas 174 (0.9%), UPSI 39 (0.2%) and others 7,993 (39.5%).

He said the ministry had taken several steps, including the establishment of the graduates' retraining training scheme as well as providing feedback to the Higher Education and the Education Ministries, to ensure courses are in line with those required by the job market.
Therefore, kids going to local universities:
- will study in institutions not even classified within the top 500, when 92 other Asian universities got in,
- will encounter bullies whom the faculty are unwilling to discipline (and I'm not even going racial on this point),
- have a 50% chance of being sexually active, where 80% of that activity is unprotected - exposing them to HIV, STDs and pregnancy,
- and at the end of all that (assuming they graduate), have a 70% chance of being jobless!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Malaysia braces for ruling on Islam conversion

Malaysia braces for ruling on Islam conversion

By Jalil Hamid and Liau Y-Sing

(Reuters) - Malaysia is expecting a court ruling any day now that could shake society to its foundations: does a Muslim have the right to convert to another faith?

A Muslim by birth, Lina Joy decided to become a Christian, marry and raise a family. But in Malaysia, where Islam is the official religion, this is an affair of state, not conscience.

The 42-year-old has asked the Federal Court, the country's highest civil judicial authority, to acknowledge her decision to convert to Christianity and is now awaiting a verdict.

Whatever the outcome, the decision could pose a headache for a government that is trying to meet the demands of the majority Muslim population and the sizeable minority of non-Muslims.

For the rest of this article, please go here

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Malaysia PM Abdullah's imperfect plan

Friday, August 11, 2006

Malaysia PM Abdullah's imperfect plan

By Colum Murphy
Far Eastern Economic Review

The recent mudslinging by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has enthralled Malaysia almost as much as the 2006 World Cup. Not since he dumped his former protege, Anwar Ibrahim, has Mr. Mahathir's vitriol been so potent.

Mr. Mahathir has accused Mr. Abdullah of incompetence and "stabbing him in the back" by halting some of the large projects begun when he was leader, including the plan to replace the causeway linking Malaysia to Singapore.

At stake is more than hurt feelings. Mr. Mahathir and his cronies are not happy with Mr. Abdullah's approach to overhauling the Malaysian economy. In March, Mr. Abdullah announced the first installment of his blueprint -- the $60 billion Ninth Malaysia Plan, or 9MP, which covers the five-year period 2006-10 -- aimed at keeping Malaysia on track to achieve its much touted goal of becoming a developed country by the year 2020. While the goal is consistent with the "Vision 2020" slogan coined by Mr. Mahathir, there are some notable differences in Mr. Abdullah's approach.

For the rest of the article, please go here.

Tone it down, Malaysia.

The guide to performing in Malaysia:

- No jumping and shouting or throwing objects on stage or at audience - No jumping? What constitutes jumping? When both feet leave the ground? What about skipping, running or hopping? What's wrong with jumping anyway?

Shouting? Rock concerts are by definition, shouting. Does that mean that all those local rock groups will need to start singing at a "conversational" tone?

- No hugging or kissing the audience or fellow artistes - Fair enough if they are swapping bodily fluids or groping one another, but I sure hope it doesn't include a peck on the cheek or a friendly hug which usually happens when artistes greet each other on stage.

- No unnecessary baring of skin. Female artistes need to cover from the top of her chest to her knees - Now... what's constitutes unnecessary? If we follow the words of the guideline, a catsuit or leotard will be compliant. Further guidelines forthcoming on body-hugging or close-fitting clothes?

- Clothes should not have obscene or drug related messages - Can't be bothered about this one.

In other words, no stage acts with "Western" influences.

The Clampdown that Wasn't.

This appeared in the Singapore's Today newspaper. Fairly balanced writeup about the internet state of affairs in Malaysia.

On a side note, the renewed government effort to police the internet has already produced results. Not from the government but from the editor of a local English publication who made a police report against local blogger, Jeff Ooi, for comment that appeared in the comments section in his blog.

To me, it's ironic that an editor of an English language publication has such a poor command of the language. How he could have possibly interpreted a common phrase (usually used to express one's exasperation against the actions of prolific idiots) - as a serious threat against his life - is completely beyond me. Unless of course that misinterpretation is intentional... to cause certain mischief.

But that's only my individual and personal perception of the events. And in no way, is it a statement of fact. Of course lah, I don't want a Jeff Ooi done on me, right?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Miss Japan - Universe 2006. Best National Costume EVER!

Talk about a spectacular costume. Miss Japan, Kurara Chibana's Sexy Samurai in High Heels costume must be the most refreshing and original ever. It was very creative, very sexy and simply stands out beyond anyone else, no doubt about it. We have Japan's thriving COSPLAY (Costume Play) soft porn industry to thank for this.

In contrast, have a look below at some of the other costumes. I'm not sure, but I think you have to tattoo "BORING!!!" on each of their pretty asses before these costumes will fit properly. Miss China had an outstanding costume too, but for all the wrong reasons. How do you say "No F*cking Sex Appeal!" in Mandarin?

The 2006 pageant is not without it's issues. The main one is the fact that Asians were again mainly sidelined except for first runner up Miss Japan. In fact, many including the live audience on the night were expecting Ms Japan to win. Some pointed out that there were no Asian judges as well as an overabundance of Latin American and US judges - which might explain how Puerto Rico got their 5th Miss Universe.,4139,110862,00.htmltfriendly/0,4139,110862,00.html
LINK TO MISS UNIVERSE SITE to get photos of all the contestants:


Singapore National Day 2006

The events are in full swing in preparation for the 2006 Singapore National Day celebration on the coming Wednesday 9th August. Channel News Asia has constant coverage of the lead up to it

I can't help but compare the 2006 Singapore national day celebrations to what we've been doing here in Malaysia for almost 50 years.

Before I go on about what's different, let me tell you what's the same. The climax of the celebration will be the National Day Parade. There'll be fireworks, lots of presentations, dances and cultural showcases. The march past is the central component of the parade, as is the air force's fly past. Uniformed units and various government agencies will have prominent contingents. There's a national day theme, official national day song and of course the obligatory lead up events like road shows, TV presentations, flying the national flag on buildings and vehicles and the decoration of major thoroughfares with banners and flags.

So, it all seems very similar. But what are the differences? What is Singapore doing that we're not?

In a sentence,... they're looking forward. We're looking back.

Malaysia's concept of nationhood is still very much based on what happened in the 1950s and 1960s. And the national celebrations, I feel, are to celebrate events that occurred way before most Malaysian were born. It does not celebrate our future and what we'll be doing to make that future bright and sunny.

I always felt that the national celebrations were old fashioned. The same old concepts are rinsed and repeated every year. Even the TV trailers and theme songs feel like they were composed by career soldiers with a vocabulary limited to 'patriotic' words and writing mission reports. And the overall feel of the promotional activities is very 70's, very retro. It almost appears like RTM and the Information Ministry (who are responsible for the songs, feel-good TV trailers etc) do not possess any modern film equipment. The grain, resolution and colour of the TV trailers look like they were filmed using the same equipment that Hong Kong filmmakers used in the 1970s. Even the hairstyles of the actors are 40 years old. The official song usually sounds distinctly military, like a dirge, always about saluting correctly and the glory of losing your life in defense of the country.

In contrast, Singapore's 2006 theme talks about how their home is now a global city and how all Singaporeans adapt to being successful global citizens. The official song is about how global Singaporeans, no matter if they're at home or trotting the globe, Singapore will always be home. Young people plan the national day celebrations. Young project managers (some only 20-30 years old, from what I can see on TV) plan the events, design and implement the concepts. Everything feels vibrant and optimistic.

And one very, very important thing you notice is the absence of overwhelming racial, cultural and religious influences dedicated to any single race or denomination - on any theme, concept or event. And this is the one, single factor that unifies all Singaporeans unreservedly in the celebration.

Like I mentioned in the blog about England's unofficial world cup theme song, Malaysia can do much better with our national day theme song. Something more upbeat, cosmopolitan... YOUNG, VIBRANT, that makes us feel good, positive and glad to be Malaysian. With the relative abundance of musical talent in Malaysia (I say this confidently after comparing 2 seasons of Malaysian and Singaporean Idol, and the outstanding talent in Malaysia's "One in a Million"), this should not be hard to do. Give a good songwriter a simple concept, like Unity or the Future, and then give him a free hand. Don't try to do too much... no need to have everything from Tunku's negotiation with the British, the communist insurgency, the NEP, Proton, the Constitution, Rukun Negara and the kitchen sink all in a 3-minute song.

Gosh... I hate having to say Singapore has another one up on us, but they do. Have a listen to the excellent 2006 Theme by Kaira Gong, called "My Island Home". I'm not even Singaporean, but I feel good everytime I hear it on TV.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Why I Might Not Blog About Malaysia Either

If you've read my earlier blog about my reluctance to blog about Singapore, it had a lot to do with the attitudes of the authorities towards unsanctioned publishing on the internet.

Malaysia seems to have taken a page from Singapore's book. When Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi took over the reins of Prime Ministership from Tun Dr Mahathir, there was a definite liberalisation of the press and well as unbridled freedom of expression on the internet.

However since Tun M came out of retirement to basically lambast Pak Lah's government over alleged mishandling of various matters, the internet has exploded with alternative news and blogging activity. And then there were the recent fiascos ranging from nude squat incident and Royal Commissions investigating the police force, to quarrels surrounding conversion and apostasy that dragged the Constitution and the status of Islam into debate, as well as the student disputes at local universities which had some racial undertones.

Each incident was like a super-cute 36D Japanese porn actress begging to do unimaginably naughty things on a blogger's keyboard. Even I was not immune to the sly charms of busty, slutty babes. Oishi desu ne. As the tens of my blog postings attributed to the Mahathir vs Abdullah Badawi saga below show.

Now the Malaysian government seems to want to crack down on internet discourse on politics, religion and the economy. The Minister of Information, Zainuddin Maidin has stated that monitoring and regulation for information disseminated over the internet is necessary in order to increase the credibility of information on Malaysia found on the internet. The Deputy Minister for Internal Security, Foo Ah Kiow has said that some websites were already being investigated. The Minister of Primary Trade, Lim Keng Yaik however, said that the internet will not be censored, as the government agreed to refrain from doing that in order to promote the Multimedia Super Corridor. But at end of the day, the axe drops. Pak Lah himself put the proverbial nail into the coffin of Malaysian bloggers everywhere. He said that bloggers will be DETAINED! if the information found on their websites were found to be untrue, or found to be detrimental to the country's racial and religious harmony or found to erode support for the government's economic policies.

So, what are bloggers to do? Should every blog be sent to the Information Ministry for vetting and approval first? Should blogging be stopped all together and you head to the coffeeshops for your daily fix of armchair politics?

Are statements of opinion judged in the same manner as statements of fact? By definition, opinions are non-facts which are derived from the analysis of facts. And by the PM's definition, that's exactly what will get a blogger detained.

Should the Kamunting Detention center deter bloggers? My cousin gave his quirky description of what he thought inmates at Kamunting go through. He thinks that they make you wear baggy trousers with drawstrings and striped shirts made from canvas. You get woken up every night just as you're about to get some sleep and your meals are eaten out of steel cans squatting next to a drain. And everyday's a bad hair day.

Sounds like a regular day at girl scout camp to me, but what I'm really afraid of is being put in a cell with a big dude named Tongkat,... Tongkat Ali who has a 9 inch cure for constipation. And he's feeling real lonely. And horny. Well, until I came along anyway.

And here's where I draw the line. I'm for freedom of expression, power to the people, kumbaya, zippedeedoodaa and all that, but my round white bum with dimpled cheeks is really not made for a that kind of experience.

So, I'll be laying off the political, religious and racial issues for the time being. Just until it's a bit more definite how the wind is blowing, and whether it brings a whiff of Tongkat Ali with it.