Karyanet website is back

When I couldn’t access Karyanet website last weekend and, from my Google searches, I found Karyanet “Sistem ini ditutup” (System brought down), I hastily concluded that the whole Karyanet website has been brought down until mid-April for maintenance based on the Google cached result. Apparently I have misunderstood the whole thing. It seems like only the services for Karyanet registered members are down. Oopps! Whatever it is, I have found alternative services I need from Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) website itself. I don’t think I would need Karyanet anymore.

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Kamus Dewan moved!

I wrote a little less than a year ago about the Kamus Dewan could already be used online. It was hosted at the Karyanet web site. Unfortunately Karyanet is down until middle of April this year for “maintenance”. Could you imagine if WordPress went down that long for maintenance?

But despair not! The online Kamus Dewan has been brought back to where it should have been in the first place — to Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) web site. It bewildered me the first time I learned about the online Kamus Dewan not being hosted at DBP. Kamus Dewan will and should forever be associated with DBP. The two monikers are simply inseparable.

You could now search words in Kamus Dewan and other DBP great resources like Tesaurus Bahasa Melayu Dewan (thesaurus), Kamus Inggeris-Melayu Dewan (English-Malay dictionary), Kamus Pelajar (learner’s dictionary), Kamus Istimewa Peribahasa Melayu (Malay idioms dictionary) and Kamus Komputer (computer dictionary), among other things, all at the same time at Carian Kata DBP. The usability could still be improved (the page reloading and window resizing problems are driving me nuts) but I would say this is the ultimate tool for Bahasa Melayu users. Just make sure you pick one search category (‘Kategori‘). The All (‘Semua‘) category is pretty useless because it would only return the number of matches from each category.

One neat thing also is, from the same place, you could search Malay pantuns (rhymes). I know Valentine’s Day has passed already, but you could search pantuns on ‘cinta‘ (love) or ‘merana‘ (agony), for example.

I reckon Carian Kata is the coolest thing DBP has ever created for us Malay language users. What more do we want?

(See also Karyanet ditutup sementara! (Karyanet closed temporarily) where I initially found Rujukan Kamus Terbitan DBP which seemed to be an incomplete half-baked version of Carian Kata DBP.)

Hydrophobicity

I apologize for the title. Water is the only part that is common between the word above and water intoxication. Both terms are new to me but I thought ‘hydrophobicity‘ as a title is more catchy.

I never thought we can get fatally intoxicated from drinking water. Apparently we could. This was exactly what happened to a woman who participated in a radio contest recently. The sad thing was that some listener had already called to warn about the danger of water intoxication which could include death (but the participants did not seem to hear it). What is even more sad is the fact that she and the other contestants had signed the “release” forms. According to the sheriff probing the incident, there would be little chance charges would be filed against the radio station. This does not feel right. She might not have been sufficiently warned of the danger of saturating her body with water.

I will still try to stick with the advice to drink at least 5 to 8 glasses of enough water every day. Also, as parents, my wife and I are always reminding our kids to drink their water. Maybe I should try to avoid drinking water too much in a short duration of time when I try to sooth my sore throat when I am having my flu? (I know, I know, maybe I should talk to my doctor.)

Welcome to Sekolah Kebangsaan

Our elder daughter started her primary school today at a nearby public school. We were hoping for a memorable day. A day where the new Year 1 students would feel welcomed and the parents were assured that this was the school for their children. Was that so much to ask? Apparently, it was. The school was a bit disorganized, to put it lightly. There was nobody from the school to greet us when we reached school just after 7am. Nobody to tell us where to go and what to do with our kid. The school day was supposed to start at about 7:30am.

The parents and their kids ended up gathering around the school courtyard and, as our number grew, blocking the movement of some students, presumably, from Year 2 and above who seemed to know what to do as they lined up neatly in a number of rows in the courtyard. Finally, at about 7:30am, we were told to line our kids behind any of the existing rows of students. The school assembly would then start. The welcoming speeches were, well, not particularly welcoming but I don’t think the students paid much attention to them.

My wife and I were flabbergasted to see the haphazard organization of the school. This was the 1st day of school for crying out loud! A school is more than just for delivering lessons to kids. It is also about building a community. The poor management of the first day of school reflects badly not only on the the school staff but also the coordination among them, the existing students and their parents. Through the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), parents, teachers and students could have worked together to make the day unforgettable.

Are we are complaining too much? Perhaps. Let see how we as new parents in the PTA would deal with the first day of school next year. Actually, my kid was quite happy with the school. After all, she has got one of her best friends from preschool in the class. Maybe, kids deal with it better than us, parents. Maybe, we need to lighten up?

Visit Malaysia Year 2007

Next year, which is about 2 weeks away, will be the Visit Malaysia Year 2007 (VMY 2007). Initially, I thought VMY had been coordinated with the rest of the Asean countries. You know, I thought, maybe, there were VSY 2008 for Singapore, VTY 2009 for Thailand, and so on. (But the acronyms would need some fixing because what would you abbreviate ‘Visit Myanmar Year’. Maybe using ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country codes would be in order?)

Apparently, however, VMY is a self-proclaimed year-long event that does not require any negotiation with neighboring countries. VMY 2007 is the third of such events after VMY 1990 and VMY 1994. It is to coincide with 50-th Merdeka celebration. A lot of events have been lined up next year by the various states in Malaysia.

Not keen on being left out, Kelantan has some unique plan to attract people to visit the state during VMY 2007. The state will now relax its grip on entertainment a bit by allowing public dancing in the state. However, only same sex dancing will be allowed. And girls will be segregated from boys just like at the supermarket counters. Yeah, sure this move will increase tourists flocking Kelantan. But I think they won’t be from the group of people the state is willing to accept.

All jokes aside, I think Kelantan should focus more on its unique delicacies like Nasi Dagang and Nasi Ulam to attract people to the state. And since it is a poster child of religious conservatism, it should take advantage of this by promoting some sort of Islamic Tourism similar to Medical Tourism promoted by some other states and other countries.

Durian and wind problem

I don’t know whether eating durians would cause a major wind problem but the death toll in Philippines from today’s super-typhoon, Typhoon Durian, is no laughing matter. But I’m not going to talk about the typhoon directly. What I find interesting is the typhoon has been given a name that is familiar to us in Malaysia. You see, durian, a pungent fruit encased in spiky cover, is a favorite pastime here.

Typhoon durian has got me interested in finding out how typhoons are named. Apparently, there were 14 countries involved in the naming. Collectively, they contributed more than a hundred names. Interestingly, though, ‘Durian’ moniker was not contributed by Malaysia but its neighbor, Thailand. Malaysia offered ‘Jelawat’, ‘Sepat’, ‘Rusa’, ‘Melor’ and ‘Merbok’ from the names of animals, and ‘Rumbia’, ‘Tapah’, ‘Nangka’, ‘Meranti’ and ‘Mawar’ from the names of plants.

At the rate typhoons are coming around this time of year we should be reaching Typhoon Sepat, the name of a freshwater fish, soon. We have got ten more typhoons to go if I have understood the sequence correctly.

Live fast, die young, old and everything in between

Every time there is a major holiday festival in Malaysia, road accidents and fatalities will shoot up dramatically. The government is at wit’s end trying to solve this problem year after year but the number of accidents keeps on growing unabated. The latest interesting move this year Deepavali and Idil Fitri double celebration is the reduction of speed limit on federal roads from 90km/h to 80km/h. The government asserted that speed limit reduction in Australia and the US has significantly reduced the number of fatalities during major holidays. But can we really believe that our drivers are comparable to those in Australia and the US? I had the pleasure of driving in Sydney, the “worst” place to drive in Australia, during peak hours on one of my holidays there and you just cannot compare that with how people drive in Malaysia anywhere at any time of the day.

In one of my humanity courses I took at my college long time ago, the class studied a book that argued that hardcore poverty cannot be eradicated. We had to accept it as a fact of live and deal with it, the book argued. I am incline to take this “fatalistic” (pragmatic?) view on the way Malaysians drive. You just can’t change it. Of course, we could teach our children how to be good future drivers. But these mad men on the road have kids too and they will become future mad men on the road. There is simply no way to break this vicious cycle.

I believe the 10km/h reduction in speed will do little in bringing down road accidents and fatalities. Because Deepavali and Idil Fitri are separated by three days this time around, let us hope that there won’t be massive influx of people on the road compressed in a short period of time. Hopefully, people would plan to distribute their journey back to their home towns within these three days which, in turn, would reduce congestion and thus road accidents and fatalities. Of course, sensible driving would help too.

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