Pingat Hang Tuah

Today I saw the New Straits Times featured the nominees of the Pingat Hang Tuah on its front page. Pingat Hang Tuah is an accolade bestowed upon a kid that has displayed an act of sheer bravery. Hang Tuah features prominently in the Malay legend as the most unselfish warrior of Malacca of the past — too unselfish for my taste, in fact, but that would be a different story. I did not realize that Pingat Hang Tuah has only now been revived after it was cancelled for some 20 odd years. No wonder the last time I could recall hearing about this Pingat was during my childhood days. While Hang Tuah was my hero then, I did not harbour the desire of ever getting it, let alone becoming one of the nominees, because I was not really a brave kid.

I think it is about time the kids of our time being taken seriously. However, if you were to read what these 8 kids have done to be nominated, you could not help but notice that all of their stories involved kids and water. Invariably, they involved a kid trying to save their friends or siblings from drowning. In fact, three of the nominees drowned trying to save someone. I have no problem saluting these kids for their bravery. But as a parent of two lovely kids, I could not help but think that we have not done enough to teach our kids the danger of water and, more importantly in my view, the need for self-preservation. What is worse, I, as a parent, do not even know how to swim. I was the product of the same culture like these kids and, in this respect, we have not improved much after all this time.
Another question that I have in my mind is whether I would want my children to become heroes when the situation demands it. I would prefer self-preservation because being heroes is risky business. But then, would I want a hero to be around when my kid’s life is in danger? I think everybody knows the answer to that question.

Later today, I learned that the Pingat went to Muhammad Firdaus Haris from Gombak who saved a 4 year old unknown to him who had slipped from the kiddy pool into the adult pool. I believe he really deserved it for that unselfish act. But the rest of the nominated kids are no less a hero in my eyes.

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V for Vendetta

My wife and I went to the cinema yesterday to watch V for Vendetta. I didn't know much about the movie excepts Natalie Portman was in it. So far, in my view, she has not played in any movie that totally sucked, so I agreed to my wife's suggestion to watch it. Beside, it was a good excuse to get away from the kids on a Sunday afternoon. To my pleasant surprise, Natalie was the only American actress (that I could identify) in the movie. It seemed like everyone else was English. And Natalie tried hard to act like one. I believe this movie is a British production?

I like the movie. It is a story of what could happen to the world left to despots to rule, be it for religious or ideological sake. It shows how terrors are mere perspective that are interpreted through the eyes of the beholder. On the one hand, the ruling party has used terrors to gain control and used constant disinformation and fear to stay in control. On the other, V, the masked man (or was it a masked woman?), used terrors to show that the people have power and to instigate them into rebellion.

We didn't realise until today that yesterday was a day of commemoration of the 3rd anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. The movie seems to fit this event quite nicely. I bet it would become a cult movie. I would hope that the man behind the mask would become the cult figure but I think Natalie would steal that honor.

Internet Access with User Name/Password Tracking

My company has just started to require all employees to enter their user names and passwords to use the World Wide Web. And it claims to be a premier IT research company. What’s the big deal? The IT people could trace all access to the outside world. I think they want to positively identify “illegal” browsing to specific individual. Must be some recommendation from overzealous corporate lawyers. This is unprecedented, isn’t it? This would be my last post during office hours because blogging during this time could be made illegal by my company…

GMail allows attachment with virus to get through!

Today I got tons of e-mail messages in my GMail account purported to have come from none other than my wife from, well, none other than her gmail account. Initially I thought they came from somebody else’s machine which had been infected with some virus. Unfortunately, the arrival of these virulent messages coincided with her notebook being online. The strangest thing is she has got Trend Micro OfficeScan running on her notebook. The same virus scanner would quickly identify the payload of the messages to contain the WORM_NYXEM.E worm when I used the ‘Show Original’ button on GMail.

Another thing I don’t understand is GMail is supposed to scan attachments on incoming messages for virus. I suppose the virus scanner GMail uses doesn’t know about this virus yet? Impossible!

Also, GMail should be able to easily identify that the messages’ sender identity has been spoofed. GMail seems to be supporting SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and it should be able to identify the originating addresses of the messages as not coming from its machines.

Petrol Price Increase, Again

Petrol price in Malaysia has increased to a few sens below RM2.00. So, for a 50 liter fill-up, it will cost about RM100. With 4 petrol fill-ups a month, that comes out to be RM400 per month, RM4800 a year! That is a large amount of cash. I think I need to look for a car with more efficient engine or that using alternative fuel. Unfortunately, except for natural gas (and diesel), the government is not very serious in promoting cars with alternative fuel. There should be incentives given for people to use these cars.