MALAYSIA-MAL__c978759_1439_857

MH 17


Malaysia is in shock and is grieving.  We are reeling from the blows that have pummeled us this year.  The Prime Minister correctly reflected our thoughts when he said, “This is a tragic day, in what has already been a tragic year, for Malaysia.”

The news are filled with images of the wrecked plane and the details  or speculation of what happened.   There is no need for more of that in this blog.

Instead, I would just like to remember those whose lives were lost in this tragedy.  My prayer is for the loved ones and families that they may find solace and comfort in their time of grief and for Malaysia, that as a nation we will weather this storm united in our grief and in our love and support to those in pain.

Here is the face  of one of those 298, to remind us that these were all loved by parents, siblings, children and friends.  Stewardess Angeline Premila, 30, was the youngest of the flight crew aboard the plane.

Photo from  A Fly Guy's Cabin Crew Lounge
Photo from A Fly Guy’s Cabin Crew Lounge

May God bless them all.

(photo from A Fly Guy’s Cabin Crew Lounge)

korea bridge

Moon River


I took a bit of liberty with the title of this post. It isn’t about the Andy Williams’ song by that name. Sorry if I misled you.

This post is actually about a photograph I took of a bridge in South Korea. I had previously posted about going to Hahoe Village which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The village lies within a loop of the Nakdong River.  Nearby is the town of Andong and it is there that we find Woryeong-gyo or the “reflection of the Moon on the river” bridge.  

The Woryeong-gyo, with a length of 387 m, crosses the Nakdong River and is the longest wooden pedestrian bridge in South Korea.

There is a legend associated with the bridge.  It is said that the construction style of the bridge resembles that of the mituri which is a type of traditional straw shoes made of paper, mulberry, bush clover, hemp, and rice straws. The legend speaks of a grieving wife who expressed her love for her deceased husband and her deep sorrow by making a pair of mituri sandals using her own hair.  The bridge, so they say, commemorates her act of devotional love.

So in short, the bridge is about romance.

Mituri sandals
Mituri sandals

I got there on a cold winter night and I did indeed get to see the reflection of the moon on the river.  It was indeed a beautiful and romantic spot.  I might have enjoyed it more if I was not busy shivering and bracing myself against the chilly blasts of wind coming off the water.  It took me many cups of ht tea later to feel warm again and to regain sensation in my fingers and exposed ears.

Still, despite the shivering, I managed to take this hand-held and long exposure photo of a pavilion located near the middle of the bridge.  Sure, it ain’t perfect but I am still rather pleased with how it came out.

Ladies and gents……….(drum roll)………… the spirit of ethereal love as seen at the pavilion of the “reflection of the Moon on the river” bridge  on the Nakdong River.

korea bridge
Pavilion on the Reflection of the Moon on the River Bridge. (Photo by LGS)
Find-Your-Happy-Place-002

Happy Place


After sharing with you, dear readers, some of the upsetting things going on in my neck of the woods, a few of you wondered how I could remain positive.   Well, I guess I go to my happy place.

Do you have a happy place to go to when things are bad, the cold wind is blowing and the wolves are at the door?  What is your happy place, I wonder.

When I was a child, my happy place was an isolated cove on a beach where I could play amongst the waves, the sand and the rock pools – far away from other people.  This was a real place but one that I would also visit in my mind when I needed some sunshine in my soul.

That sufficed for me until I was a University student in UK.  Now as all astute readers will know, there isn’t a whole lot of sun and sand in the UK.  Instead, there was a great abundance of cold, damp and wet weather.  Somehow, it suited my melancholic phase and during this, my “blue” period, my happy place was a little fir tree covered lookout point in the Lake District with a wonderful view of the valley and lake below.

When I started work back in Malaysia in nature conservation, my happy place where I could escape the pressures of working life was a very special spot by a pristine river deep in the rainforest.

All these places allowed me to rest in the presence of God the creator and enjoy the wonders of His creation.   They were all my happy places cause I was having one-on-one time with God.

Psalm 33: 8 “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”

On a related note, a posted once  about “My Dream Home”.  I thought I would share that post with you again here,

MY DREAM HOME

I do not think that I am fussy nor demanding. In fact, I am fairly content and easily satisfied. I am not one of those who desires the fastest or most luxurious cars. Where some may pant after a Lamborghini or perhaps a Rolls-Royce, my dream car is nothing more exalted than the Volkswagen Golf Convertible and I am absolutely content with the Honda City that I do drive.

The same applies to houses. Sure, it would be nice to own a mansion or even just a large house but that really isn’t important. Home is where you make it and a small studio apartment can be as happy a home as a big mansion. I do like water though. It would be nice if the house would be near water. I would sit on the porch and just watch the seasons change.

Nevertheless, if any of you kind folk can find a way for me to live at any of these places, I’d be much obliged. Thank you.

A riot of color somewhere in the Laurentians
A riot of color somewhere in the Laurentians, Canada

 

Splendid isolation with the sound of howling winds and lashing rain on an island off Iceland.
Splendid isolation with the sound of howling winds and lashing rain on an island off Iceland.

 

Or tranquility and silence on a Norwegian Fiord
Or tranquility and silence on a Norwegian Fiord

 

Sinkhole-in-Malaysia-near-Jalan-Pudu-KL-photoshop-memes-Malaysia-20140703-05-620x315

Top 10 Reasons for a Sinking Feeling


Last week, two very large sinkholes opened up along a very busy stretch of road in the centre of Kuala Lumpur.   Construction work for a road tunnel had accidentally caused a burst water pipe and the escaping water led to the formation of the sinkholes.

Sinkhole-in-Malaysia-near-Jalan-Pudu-KL-photoshop-memes-Malaysia-20140703-05-620x315

Sadly, there’s been a lot of that sinking feeling here in Malaysia this year as we seem to be reeling from tragedy; political, racial and religious extremism; and many cases of “foot in mouth disease” by our leaders.  In fact,  if possible, we seem to be having a lot of “shooting oneself in the foot that also happens to be in the mouth” disease.

Here in no particular order is the TOP 10 Recent Reasons for  Malaysians to have a Sinking Feeling.

  1. MH 370 – the missing Malaysian Airlines plane had the world’s attention on Malaysia for much of the beginning of the year and it is considered  one of the greatest  aviation mysteries.  Where is the plane and what happened?  Apart from the tragedy of lives lost, Malaysian officials came across as arrogant, insensitive, incompetent and contradictory.  The handling of the matter and the treatment of the relatives of the victims has been terrible.
  2. Grabbing kids – in the last year, Islamic authorities have been involved in cases in which children, brides and even bodies have been snatched.   In a number of cases,  Muslim converts who had lost child custody cases in court went on to abduct their children from their Hindu mothers and despite the court ruling have been able to keep the children up to now.
  3. Grabbing brides – A Hindu wedding was raided by religious authorities and the bride was taken away in front of the groom and the 400 guests.  Although born and raised as a Hindu, the authorities consider her a Muslim because her father, who had abandoned the family in 1990,  had become a convert.
  4. Grabbing bodies-  Last month, a family was grieving and holding a traditional Chinese funeral for their loved one.  About twenty minutes into the ceremony, religious authorities interrupted the proceedings and took away the body claiming that the deceased had converted to Islam some 17 years earlier.  As you can imagine, this came as a terrible surprise to all her family members.
  5. Groping bodies – A Malaysian diplomat and military officer, Muhammad Rizalman Ismail, claimed diplomatic immunity when charged in New Zealand for burglary and sexual assault with intent to commit rape.  He had followed a 21 year old woman to her home from her bus stop, broken in, undressed and tried to assault her.  She fought back and with the help of neighbors alerted by her screams, forced him to flee.  Once again, the manner in which the authorities have handled the matter has been disgraceful.  They flew him back to Malaysia and denied that they were protecting him until certain communications with the New Zealand government were leaked to the press.  They also said that he would not be extradited but would be tried in Malaysia.  Then, under pressure, they agreed to return him to New Zealand to face the charges.  But now, the authorities claim that he is unwell and medically unfit for travel.  Although, so far the only thing that has been said about his medical condition is that he “was not looking good”, withdrawn and depressed.
  6. “Break bone Fever” – The mosquito borne viral disease, dengue fever, is characterised by severe joint pains (hence “break bone”) and in severe cases, internal hemorrhaging.  The number of cases and deaths have increased by about 250% from the previous year with about 40,000 cases and at least 80 deaths this year till now.  I personally, know of 5 people who have been ill and a friend has attended two funerals.  So apart, from dust from extensive construction going on in Kuala Lumpur and the suffocating haze from forest fires, I now am also unable to open my windwows for fear of the mosquitoes coming in.
  7. Dry taps -  This year also saw the largest urban area in the country, with 2.5 million people, facing water rationing for over three months.  Dry taps in a country with some of the highest rainfall in the world. Something is wrong with this picture.
  8. The K9 problem” -  The chairman of the commission on public transport had said in an interview that there would be no problem for guide dogs assisting the blind to be allowed on public transport.  Apparently, he was wrong.  The Deputy Minister for Transport said that city by-laws insist that dogs should be under the control of a capable owner (thereby implying that the blind are not capable) and went on to say that dogs would only be an inconvenience to the blind.  Religious authorities than chipped in to say that guide dogs were inappropriate for a Muslim majority country as dogs are considered unclean in the religion.  This seems like a strange statement considering that no such issue has been raised about the use of police dogs or security dogs.
  9. “Hell’s Kitchen” – This last couple of weeks has seen the authorities declare war on soup kitchens and the homeless.  Apparently, they are the great evil that is damaging our society.  The
    Women, Family and Community Development Minister

    Women, Family and Community Development Minister had implied that people are choosing to be homeless because they can get free food.  She also said that tourists are also taking advantage of the soup kitchens and therefore not spending tourist dollar on meals.  The Minister of the Federal Territories then proved that he was a man of action by banning all soup kitchens within 2 km of the city centre.    He suggested that the homeless were lazy and giving “his” city a bad image.  He also implied that building shelters for the homeless would make them complacent.  He also said that if they were hungry, they could always travel out of the city centre to soup kitchens further out.    Some soup kitchens plan to defy the ban and will face stiff fines for their defiance.

  10. The sky is falling! The ground is sinking!   - the latest round of construction activity all around Kuala Lumpur for the Mass Rapid Transport or MRT train line has been causing all manners of problems but of greatest concern is the safety of the public.  Large concrete and metal beams have now fallen on passing cars on at least two occasions.  The cars were wrecked but miraculously, the occupants although requiring hospitalisation, escaped with their lives.

Two-hurt-by-falling-metal-beam-(1)

And of course, there was the big sinkholes that I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

So how do Malaysians deal with all this gloom? ……..with a sense of humor.  LGS proudly presents for your viewing pleasure a few examples of Malaysian netizen’s take on the sinkholes and WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?

The "why the chicken crossed the road with the Hippo" theory
The “why the chicken crossed the road with the Hippo” theory

 

The "Pandamonium" Theory
The “Pandamonium” Theory

 

Surely it was Godzilla!
Surely it was Godzilla!
Daffy_3

A Queer Duck


I know I seem to be mixing my metaphorical species but this squirrel is, as the English used to say, a “queer duck“.

Inspired by some of the sharing in the comments from the last post, (thanks everyone for sharing but especially eccentric were the habits of ksbeth and Mago), I decided to share with you one of my greatest eccentricities.

This queer duck of squirrel doesn’t eat anything  that has feathers.  I don’t eat chicken, duck, turkey or the Frankensteinish “Turducken“.

cutting-a-turducken
The creepy and monster-ish Turducken (a boneless chicken stuffed into a boneless duck stuffed into a boneless turkey).

I also don’t eat pigeon, dove, quail, pheasant, etc.  Are you getting the picture?

How long have I had this peculiarity? Since I was about 5 years old.

Why don’t I eat my feathered friends?  Here’s where I have to lie down on the couch and tell you about my early childhood.  Here is  the sad story…………

One day, when I was about 5 years old, I happened upon an old woman who was slaughtering a chicken.  She had just used a knife to cut the chicken’s throat.  Then she squatted down, bent the neck of the chicken backwards and holding it above a bowl, let the blood drained out.  I watched stunned as the blood drain out, dripping and splattering into the bowl.

I asked the old woman why she was collecting the blood.  She turned her wrinkled face towards me and gave a toothless grin (at that age, she sure looked like a wicked witch to me!) and said in a creepy voice, “Why, I’m going to make it into a jelly for you to eat!”

I ran away screaming from the blood eating vampire witch!

After that, I refused to eat anything feathered.  This became a point of contention and contest of will between my mother and me.  As I grew older, she kept trying to get me to eat chicken.

There was a time when she would mince the chicken and mix it with mince pork to make one of my favorite dishes.  I would eat the dish and I could not consciously taste the chicken and yet I would still sense it unconsciously and throw up every time.  She eventually gave up.  The power of the mind truly is surprising.

And so this went on until my twenties when work and studies put me in situations where there was often nothing other than chicken to eat.  With the memory of the blood eating vampire witch beginning to fade, I finally was able to eat some chicken out of sheer necessity.

Since then I have eaten chicken and turkey to be polite on social occasions but still generally avoid them if I have a choice.  My friends now know to have a non-poultry option when they have me over for a meal.

The final twist in this craziness is that all through this time, there was one chicken dish that I have always eaten…….chicken satay.  Somehow, my mind decided that satay is too delicious to be chicken!

Satay is "NOT" chicken.
Satay is “NOT” chicken.

 

I guess if you have gotten to the end of this post, you may have come to the conclusion that LGS is  NUTS.  But I hope we can still be friends and if you do invite me over for dinner, remember, no birds but lots of nuts please.

Two Facts About Me


I recently watched some short filler on one of the TV channels which was entitled  something like “Things that you didn’t know about Matthew McConaughey.”  One of the things I learned was that he has three bedrooms in his house and he sleeps in each of them in turn.  Now I didn’t know this.  How interesting.   This sort of information may help me with life’s problems one day!

Being a celebrity squirrel, the adoring groupies and paparazzi are always trying to find out more about me.   So I thought I should also let my fans in on a couple of interesting LGS trivia.

1.  I am not very athletic

fitness protection

2.  My Handyman Strategy in a Nutshell

engineering flowchart

Care to share an interesting piece of trivia about yourself?

brazil-dvd1

Another Not Another World Cup Soccer Post


Be warned, this will be a long and wandering post as I am delirious from squirrel pox fever.  But I think you will like it if you make it to the end.  If you are short of time, just watch the videos.

Four years ago, the World Cup was in South Africa and in the midst of the frenzy of postings about the soccer matches on blogs, Facebook and Twitter , I, the Lone Grey Squirrel, boldly stood firm against the tide and posted about rugby in “Not Another World Cup Soccer Post“.

And so, this year, I have decided to do “Another Not Another World Cup Soccer Post”.   And so starts a great new tradition.

So what will this post be about?  Well, not rugby cause I did it the last time but suffice to say that England lost again to the New Zealand All Blacks; losing three out of three games.    So it’s not just soccer that England sucks at.

England sport lose

No, this time, the World Cup is in Brazil and though I have never been to the Land of Samba and Carnival, Brazil is very special to this squirrel.

One of the reasons is  “Brazil – where the nuts come from“.  That phrase which is music to a squirrel’s ears is actually a line from the farce, Charley’s Aunt which was written by Brandon Thomas and first performed in 1892. Some consider it one of the best farces ever written and it is built round the concept of an aristocratic English nobleman being persuaded by one of his University friends  to play the role of a rich aunt of that friend.  It is in that capacity that he identifies himself as Charley’s aunt from Brazil – where the nuts come from.

Jack Benny once played the strange looking aunt.
Jack Benny once played the strange looking aunt.

 

And these are the nuts that come from Brazil. Really.  Brazil nuts. Yum Yum.
And these are the nuts that come from Brazil. Really. Brazil nuts. Yum Yum.

 

Another reason I love Brazil is because of the movie of the same name by Terry Gilliam from 1985.  This dystopian satire rails against bureaucracy gone mad and made all powerful.    The movie is wonderfully crazy, romantic and tragic.  I recommend it.

In the scene I have included in the video below, the Government has issued a warrant for the arrest of one Mr. Archibald Tuttle for committing acts of terrorism against building plumbing and air ducts.  Unfortunately, while the arrest warrant was being printed, a fly falls into the printer and causes it to misprint the name as Archibald Buttle.    The video now takes you to the home of Archibald Buttle just before Christmas………

Haha.  I love it when the wife is asked to sign a receipt for her husband!  Wonderfully bureaucratic.

And did you hear that tune at the beginning of the video? That’s another reason I love Brazil…. the wonderful song called Aquarela de Brasil or Watercolours of Brazil which was written by Ary Barroso in 1939.  i love the infectious rhythm.

The  English lyrics are as follows:

Brazil
The Brazil that I knew
Where I wandered with you
Lives in my imagination.

Where the songs are passionate,
And a smile has flash in it,
And a kiss has art in it,
For you put your heart in it,
And so I dream of old Brazil

Where hearts were entertaining June,
We stood beneath an amber moon
And softly murmured “someday soon”
We kissed and clung together,
Then tomorrow was another day
The morning found me miles away
With still a million things to say

Now when twilight dims the sky above,
Recalling thrills of our love,
There’s one thing I’m certain of;
Return I will
To old Brazil.

Enjoy the song which was also the theme song for the movie, Brazil.

Viewing the World Through the Observation of Squirrels

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