I resolve to blog daily?

31 12 2009

TO BLOG DAILY would be the worst of new year resolutions I could come up with now. But you never know that it would turn out to be a great one, instead. It is also next to impossible but let’s have a go, shall we? πŸ˜‰

Right, at the stroke of midnight on 01/01/’10 the whole world (depending on time zones on Planet Earth) celebrated merrily and millions of dollars got burned up in smoky but colorful myriads of fireworks! πŸ™‚

I simply wished my two teen-aged kids Happy New Year time and time again if only to annoy them and to hug them many times over. By 1.00 AM, I was already in ‘slumberland’ dreaming nothing but giving out snores, maybe. I slept like a log for a good four hours or so. I couldn’t be bothered to wait up for the Lunar Eclipse which could only be visible in other parts of the world, anyways. By 5.00 AM, an early bird catches the worm… LOL πŸ˜€

In all honesty, there was a glorious New Year’s Day morning sun but where I woke up, the water supply dried up earlier this morning! 😦 It was kind of a pretty bad start to the year 2010. I went to the Masjid (mosque) for prayers and I dropped my new handphone in the washroom which got soaked in water, rendering it useless. Even the SIM card doesn’t seem to be working in my old cellphone set that I’m using now! Guess, I’d be incommunicado for the coming days into the new year… that’s the lows.

At least one high was when I met up with old friends and new ones from a neighbouring country this afternoon. It somewhat rekindled the old spirit of camaraderie and renewed the fighting spirit of eternal struggle for peace or the Arabic word for it “As-SALAM”. So that one upside made up for all the downsides of my New Year’s Day and it made me all the happier, still.

Learning point of the day for me whatever unexpected things which happened just had to happen for reasons beyond our grasp.

For example, no water — should we blame it on the Water section of the Public Works Department or JKR? Partly, maybe…

Damaged handphone — my carelessness wholly to blame, maybe…

These couple of examples are merely small tests on my Faith in the ‘systemic divinity’ (Almighty). Good thing I always believe that there’s got to be blessings in disguise. Personally, I suppose 2010 is the dawn of a new era of peace, love and kindness. Have a great new year! πŸ™‚

PLK

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I make a difference…

31 12 2009

CHANGE IS INEVITABLE. How I want to change is irrelevant. The point is I have to change for the better. I can only change the world when I have made changes to my own life. Without change, my world is static.

Yeah, words are so damn easy to write. To put words into action is a different thing altogether. The thing is life offers us no other choice but to change from being the worst to worse to bad to good to better to ultimately become the best. Being the BEST in this context could only mean in both form and substance, both spiritually and worldly. Vague words, still?

Okay, let’s try to be more specific by saying I MAKE A DIFFERENCE… I can, I will and I shall make a difference! πŸ˜‰ I’m not merely talking about New Year resolutions but I’m referring more to the harsh realities of life… that without trying our best to change, we’ll get nowhere. As a wise saying goes, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there…” Much wiser words of wisdom: “God will not change the people unless the people make the effort to change themselves”.

So where does that leave me? It’s up to me and me alone to figure it all out to make that change! 😦

Change for the sake of change is also meaningless without any sense of purpose at all in making the change. Therefore, not only do I need to change but I need to have goals in life, too. Short term or long term doesn’t really matter as long as such goals are do-able and achievable but not impossible. Everything in life is possible once we put our hearts and minds into it totally — 100 percent. πŸ™‚

In whatever we do, we simply have to think positive about the five W’s i.e. what, where, when, why and who (and how to go about it all). This is pretty basic stuff which we could fully utilize to our advantage.

As soon as you set your mind to doing something and you just have to focus on accomplishing the mission, you can do it, trust me. And in so doing, in God we must trust, too. This firm belief in the Most Powerful is the key to successfully achieving what you have initially set your mind to doing, in the first place. Why so?

For as long as you have good sincere intention deep within your heart, the Lord Almighty will put everything in place (almost to the point of perfection) to see to it that you will get whatever you want to get done in no time at all. The sheer satisfaction of getting things coming together like an orchestra at play can really overwhelm you! It amazes you no end how God works in mysterious ways, or so they say… πŸ˜‰

However, one must know what it is that we really want out of life. In order to gain such knowledge, we have to look at the big picture. We ought to have a helicopter view of things. Always weigh the pros and cons of to do or not to do — that is the question to ask, rightly or wrongly. We never jump to conclusions, for one thing, and we can’t be too presumptious, for another. Look who’s talking, eh? Hehehhe πŸ˜€

Year in, year out — we keep saying how time flies! πŸ˜› Yet, more often than not, we seem to fail to see our own reflections in the mirror. It’s as if we’re in a state of denial that we’re not getting any younger. Looks aside, what about the fact that we haven’t even helped a single needy soul on earth… what more mankind as a whole. We can’t even help ourselves, for God’s sake! Sounds pathetic, doesn’t it?

How do we even start to help ourselves, you might ask? Well, how about starting to pray to the Almighty, to start with (if we haven’t done so already, that is). The magic of prayers is simply indescribable, I tell you.

What I’m really getting at is just to remind myself on the relevance of prayers as a life-long endeavour. To pray in every waking hour should be the main priority, prerogative and major obligation of all individuals. Please don’t get me wrong… I’m not preaching but only reminding myself on how vitally important it is for me as a mortal human being to pray to my Creator, the Lord of the Universe.

PLK

P.S. On a much more different perspective of life, coming from a diva, I’d like to share American singer/songwriter/composer Alicia Keys’ personal points of view under the heading, “Let’s Raise a Glass!”:

Let’s Raise a Glass!
12.30.2009 (December 30th, 2009)

The usual image most of us have when we envision the beginning of a New Year is a festive occasion with friends and family raising their glasses, making a toast to a healthy and prosperous future. I too have raised a glass to welcome a new year, but when doing it, I’m reminded of that half full, half empty proverb. This New Year, I want to start with a totally empty glass that waits to be filled with all of the experiences and adventures life will pour into it. Now some of you may think that this vision I have is kind of impossible, However, what you might not see or notice is the reality of how each of our β€œglasses” are continuously emptied and replenished with the precious liquid of life and all that it contains. So, we are all blessed to continuously refill the glass. As most of you already know, I’m not very good at waiting around, expecting a large pitcher of water to just appear and begin pouring β€œlife goodies” into my glass. I’m very driven so I’m the kind that finds the Well, throws the bucket down, pulls it back up and pour. I know that requires more work and effort but when you anticipate the kind of year that I see ahead, not only will that sixteen ounce glass not do the job, but I’m gonna need a bigger bucket as well. LOL πŸ˜‰

For 2010, I intend to refill my glass with an eagerly anticipated journey to South Africa, a long awaited Summer Rhythm Stride of discovering new, exciting and perhaps hidden, quiet places where some of the best β€œlife surprises” can occur. I’ll make the time to enjoy my friends, family, loved ones and experience the possibilities of making new, long lasting friendships. I make this analogy simply to point out the potential we all have to fill our own glasses if we work hard enough and continue to seek the largest glass to fill our hopes and dreams. Once those glasses are filled, not only will we enjoy the drink, but we can share all of the blessings that overflow from our efforts to make the year ahead the best tasting year ever.

Happy New Year! Make this year the best one yet! Nothing’s impossible!

With love,
AK

P.P.S. HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010, PEOPLE! PEACE, LOVE, KINDNESS TO THE WORLD AS BEST WE COULD GIVE! πŸ™‚





Ode to Umar Farouk, the alleged Al-Qaeda ‘wannabe’?

28 12 2009

SPIRITUALITY AMIDST THE ANGST

Spirits of the Free
Flow like calm waters
They fly like free birds
Tides, winds, weather season ’em

Elements of nature they fear not
Only Mother Nature could tame ’em
Or bend ’em into temptations of the soul
A free-spirited soul then emerges

The emergence of the unexpected
The unpredictability of the mind-game
The end-goals of a greater meaningful life
The destruction of a soulless spirit tested

Tests, trials and tribulations in life
Start when all else succeed to fail
Failure is not an option but a position
That must be taken by a spiritual soul

A free-spirited soul tempted by angst
Succumbs to the success of failures
In life, worldly freedom wins…
In death, divine eternity rules!

PLK

N.B. Background story of the alleged terrorist from Nigeria below:

“Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (allegedly) tries to blow up a plane

* Dec 26th 2009, 16:04 by The Economist | WASHINGTON DC

IN WHAT American officials are calling “an attempted act of terrorism,” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian man who claims ties to al-Qaeda, allegedly tried to bring down a plane on Friday using an improvised explosive device strapped to his leg. Northwest Airlines flight 253 was headed from Amsterdam to Detroit, and Mr Abdulmutallab apparently tried to detonate the device as the plane began to land.

Delta spokeswoman Susan Elliott, who has had a rough couple of days, told ABC News that Mr Abdulmutallab was “subdued immediately.” (Northwest is a subsidiary of Delta.)

The Detroit Free Press has what is probably the best collection of passenger accounts of the attack, but details are still pretty hazy. (They’re so hazy, in fact, that different media outlets rendered the alleged bomber’s name in different ways. I’ve gone with the New York Times’ version from their latest article.*) Although there is lots of information going around about Mr Abdulmutallab’s claims of ties to al-Qaeda, it’s still unclear whether his claims will hold up under scrutiny. The attacker could have been “inspired but not specifically trained or ordered by terror groups,” law enforcement officials told the Associated Press. (Update, late Saturday: He’s been charged. The Times has the story.)

Passengers told the Free Press that they saw a man filming the incident, so we’ll at least know more about exactly what happened on the plane if and when that amateur video is released to the media.

At least one Republican was quick to hint that the attempted bombing might speak to President Barack Obama’s failures on the national security front. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican, spoke to the Free Press before he had even been briefed on the incident. “People have got to start connecting the dots here and maybe this is the thing that will connect the dots for the Obama administration,” Hoekstra said. On twitter, he criticized the administration for calling the incident an “attempted” attack.

Democrats also moved to address the incident. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chair of the House homeland security committee, promised an oversight hearing on the subject in January, as did Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), the chair of the Senate commerce committee.

While elected Democrats’ statements on the incident were generally cautious, on the blogs, the fight over how to interpret the attack has already begun. Criticizing Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) for saying the attack “could have been devastating,” Matt Yglesias argues that the incident “shows to me is how little punch our dread terrorist adversaries really pack”:

Ultimately, it does no favors to anyone to blow this sort of thing out of proportion. The United States could not, of course, be “devastated” by anything resembling this scheme. We ought to be clear on that fact. We want to send the message around the world that this sort of vile attempt to slaughter innocent people is not, at the end of the day, anything resembling a serious challenge to American power. It’s attempted murder, it’s wrong, we should try to stop it, but it’s really not much more than that.

Mr Yglesias makes a controversial point. Is it a valid one? What do you think?

A few more links: Another blogger, Spencer Ackerman, echoes Mr Yglesias’ argument and asks “What does this say about al-Qaeda?” The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder has a good roundup of what the Obama administration might be thinking right now. The New York Times offers a detailed followup to Friday evening’s stories, with more details about the airlines’ reactions and the steps the government is taking. The Times also has a Q&A about how new security restrictions might affect your travel plans. CNN notes that the attempted attack fell eight yearsβ€”almost to the dayβ€”after “shoe bomber” Richard Reid tried to blow up a plane using explosives in his sneakers. And the Free Press has a roundup of the latest updates from wire services.”





Talking GREEN!

24 12 2009

ON PAGE THREE of Friday’s edition of the Borneo Bulletin (December 25, 2009), the Chinese Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam, Miss Tong Xiaoling, sounded out to be an unofficial spokesperson for Brunei Darussalam’s contingent to the recently-concluded United Nations’ Summit on Climate Change which was held in Copenhagen last week.

According to the friendly and transparent Chinese Ambassador, Brunei Darussalam has discovered that “as an important and responsible member of the international community, Brunei has tried its utmost in addressing climate change”.

The Bandar Seri Begawan-based Chinese diplomat, Miss Tong, added that: “It was further learnt that Brunei’s proactive efforts to advance the Heart of Borneo (HOB) project and the Coral Triangle Initiative, as well as its resolve to develop renewable energy and achieving sustainable development were met with high appreciation amongst the participants, including China”.

Hhmmn… talk about transparency and openness on the part of the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the country’s leading newspaper had to gather facts on the national stand on Climate Change from a woman diplomat representing a foreign nation?

Small matter, I guess… what matters most is that Brunei Darussalam is not as guilty as China in terms of carbon emissions as per statistics published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2006: China was ranked No. 1 with 6,103,493 Annual CO2 emissions (in thousands of metric tons) which is equivalent to 21.5 percent of the global total percentage whilst Brunei Darussalam stood at 110th position in world rankings at 5,911 metric tons or less than 0.1 percent.

However, the relevant agencies in this Abode of Peace could step up their concerted efforts to prove to the world that Brunei Darussalam can be made as a Role Model in the much-hyped about Climate Change issue. The Ministry of Energy under the Prime Minister’s Office, the Department of Environment under the Ministry of Development, the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources as well as Government-owned national oil company, the Petroleum Brunei and key industry players like Brunei Shell, TOTAL, etc should collaborate further and pulled resources to come up with new initiatives and plans of action to achieve national goals and aspirations as far as environmental problems are concerned.

One very simple means to do it is to launch an all-out ‘Clean Energy’ campaign by introducing Natural Gas Vehicles (NGV) on Brunei roads, to start with. Gradually, Bruneian motorists should also embrace hydrogen fuel as an alternative renewable energy source at a much later stage.

Both are do-able and NGV is definitely executable and implementable given the fact that Brunei LNG is one of the world’s leading exporters of this most environmentally-friendly ‘cleanest fuel’! πŸ˜‰ Let the whole world GO GREEN with envy! πŸ™‚

PLK





What? Health care reform — big deal!

23 12 2009

NOTHING TO LEARN really from the lengthy and confusing legislative process of approving a Presidential Health Care Bill in the United States, which is currently being passed through the US Senate. I can’t help sympathizing with most Americans on the ‘medical complications’ and ‘exorbitant insurance coverages’ they have to endure…

In comparison, Allah Subhannahu Wataala (God Almighty) is Most Gracious to all Bruneians since the Brunei Government for so many decades have provided FREE HEALTH CARE to all its citizens until today. My late father passed away on the hospital bed at the age of 74 and if I were to calculate a rough estimate on how much my dearly departed old man had to fork out for all his medical bills since birth, I’d say hundreds of thousands of dollars! 😦 Imagine how many billions of dollars the government has been spending its annual budget on health care for almost a century to provide for the well-being of its people! πŸ˜‰

Thanks to the wisdom of the late father of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, Almarhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien, his most sincere “Niat” or wishful intention was for his subjects not to be burdened with unnecessary financial difficulties in life including health care. And today, the 29th ruler of this blessed nation, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Muizzadin Waddaulah, is continuing to sustain such a sincere and honest-to-goodness policy for as long as God wills His Majesty to continue providing for free benefits to all the Bruneian people numbering almost 400,000 now, Insya Allah.

In my honest opinion, such great kindness on the part of the ‘father-son’ Sultanate could only be rewarded and blessed by the Almighty with more and more prosperity and much greater fortunes upon this country. It’s not only on health care alone but also covers other aspects of life, particularly free education, free housing or land, etc. What more can Bruneians ask for? In fact, His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam has been purposely snubbed by the western powers-that-be when not even the United Nations or the Nobel Peace Prize committee for that matter has given my beloved ruler and king an international recognition of sorts for all the good deeds he has done which have much greater impacts than most of the Nobel laureates! πŸ˜›

The best news in terms of health care that Bruneians just received most recently is His Majesty’s consent to give each Bruneian as well as foreign residents in Brunei a FREE dosage of the AH1N1 or Swine Flu vaccine on a voluntary basis. The Brunei Health Ministry has placed an order of some 400,000 doses of that vaccine — enough for the whole population! Alhamdullillah (all thanks and praises to God) πŸ™‚

What else do we need from our generous government, people? We certainly do not need to be bothered by all the political back-stabbings and bickerings as what’s been happening in western democracies like America or wherever… When the Brunei Government subscribed to the World Health Organization (WHO) policy of ‘Health Care For All’, it means business and not just talk only! πŸ˜‰ Next, Climate Change, anyone?

PLK





Poetic bodyworks of art

22 12 2009

Aargghh! Me shoulders stiffen
Muscles ache inside out
My deep-throated coughs suck
Whole body hardens so hard
I’m sick to my stomach
As sorely sick as I am
Breathlessness sucks the worst
Phlegmy, greenish, squirmy liquid
Throws up out orally forcibly
Back-neck bouts of spasm
Kick in and out of nervous system
Tummy achey feelings inside
Need to get ’em all out of my system!
I dread long waits in the hospital… but
I need to see a doctor as soon as possible!

PLK





WHERE DOES BRUNEI TOURISM GO WRONG?!

22 12 2009

THE ANSWER MY friends at the Tourism Development Department, Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, is not blowing in the wind… BUT there is no 360 degree turnaround! πŸ˜›

By turnaround, I mean what was the deal to bring in one million visitors in a year many eons ago? How much can a couple of over-the-hill English footballers-turned-golfers in-betweens (neither amateur nor pro) rake in tourist dollars to entice sports tourists to this Abode of Peace? I doubt it if the Empire Hotel and Country Club would even be filled up to 100 percent booking capacity come March 2010. πŸ˜›

If the footballers were to play the game of soccer which they’re good at against the local DPMM FC team, say, I can safely assume that 30,000 Bruneian football supporters and foreign spectators from neighbouring ASEAN countries would come to watch at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium! πŸ™‚

A totally different story altogether if The Stapleford Forum were to go all-out to get troubled world champion golfer, Tiger Woods, to come to Brunei Darussalam at least to ‘rehabilitate’ himself, if not to play during the 2nd Aberdeen Brunei Senior Masters from March 5 – 7 next year! πŸ˜‰

No, really, our Tourism guys need to reach out to the masses and get grassroot-level support from the Bruneian population and more importantly from relevant Government agencies and the Private Sector to get the ‘right dose of medicinal concoction to cure our ailing national tourism industry’, in a manner of speaking. It’s not that critical yet to put it in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) but the growth of Brunei tourism industry is not that healthy… and that’s a fact. It’s in leaps and bounds in recent years but more could be done to boost its confidence level.

At the top level, our Harvard-educated Minister of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) is already there as the right man for the Best Actor role and his best supporting actor, good old Deputy Minister of IPR has the knack of Public Relations (PR) to get things moving in the right direction. Now they need the Tourism ‘top-honcho’ as the Director to help the Producer (as in the Permanent Secretary at the MIPR) make the Production crew and cast to come up with a Billion dollar sales target of the box-office movie called “Brunei Wonderland” achievable! (Please for god’s sake get rid of the boring and stale Brunei The Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures tagline already!!) πŸ˜€ I mean to copycat James Cameron 101, the award-winning director simply called his great classic movie “Titanic” and his latest box-office movie “Avatar” — KISS principle, man, KEEP IT SWEET & SIMPLE! πŸ˜›

I think the analogy of directing and producing a highly-successful Hollywood and Bollywood movie would be an approriate approach to make things happen in our local tourism industry. Talking about movies, has the word Brunei ever been mentioned in any of the blockbuster Hollywood movies?

Well, to find out let’s go through this You Tube compilation of how Hollywood Teaches Geography to its global audience (no disputing the fact that the mention of a country’s name or her capital city in a box-office movie is in itself a billion-dollar sale already!):

Hey, just look around us in this Tropical Virgin Rainforest Paradise of Brunei Darussalam and so-called Heart of Borneo (HOB) uniqueness, any Hollywood or Bollywood or whatever Woody movie directors would love to shoot their films on-location in this Abode of Peace, man. So why not ‘sell our country’ to these professional ‘Dream Makers’ and let them make their fantasy movies as one great way to make our national dream to become a No. 1 tourist attraction and destination a reality! πŸ˜‰

I can ramble on and on no end on this burning issue of tourism being dead and dry in my beloved nation, Negara Brunei Darussalam. In a nutshell, let’s all put our thinking hats together to greatly improve our national image as a top-notch tourism spot on the world map! πŸ™‚

I am no smart-alec but I’ve been there, done that… way back in 1983 when tourism was pretty much in its infancy in this country, I moonlighted as a part-time tour guide for almost 10 years. And I tell you, the potential for Brunei to break the barrier in the global tourism industry was already enormous then. What more now when internet-driven globalization is ripe for our national economy to reap its benefits and a big fortune out of what’s been sown since then.

The time has come for Brunei to arrive at its destination as the country of choice for world travellers! πŸ™‚ SELAMAT DATANG! πŸ˜‰

PLK