30 July 2010

Great things about growing up

28 July 2010

I like to age, and to grow old. The media and society scare you into thinking that aging is terrible, that your legs will weaken, you skin will sag, your eyesight will worsen, and your brainpower will slow down to the level of a domestic bunny. Those are scary, but I am not talking about getting THAT OLD, I’m talking about going on to 40 or so.

I’d love to be 40, and can’t wait for another 12 years for it to happen (kalau umur panjang, Insya Allah). People my age complain all the time about growing up, because you have more responsibilities and have to conform to what society expects you to be. To be frank, I think it all stems from insecurity, and insecure people long for the carefree days of youth.

I think youth sucks. Youth doesn’t know. Young people are stupid, although they do not realize it. Young people throw caution to the wind, and call it freedom or independence and write bad songs about it. Young people conform to EVERYTHING their peers like them to be, and still think they are all unique snowflakes. Young people talk in a tone and language that’s grating to my ears. Young people lack experience and almost every skill you need to survive in this world. What maybe a few young people are good at are: 1) following and obeying orders, 2) memorizing a bunch of useless facts and regurgitate them, in order to be worthy of the title “academically successful”.

(Despite all I said above, I am also quite young, and I suffer all the said shortcomings — I think I am very inexperienced in life, and sometimes can be quite stupid too. That said, old people sucks in their own way, but they have done so much more and have suffered so much more I give them a pass this time).

Being 40 is the pinnacle of life. Most men are married at this age, with fairly grown children, and most have settled into a stable income and future. I don’t know about you guys, but 40-years-old men around me are some of the best looking guys out there, wayyy better looking than 20-somethings and the hideous teenagers (for women, it’s the other way round. Sorry but that’s the way the world works). Men at this age thinks nothing about taking their family for vacation, splurging for the occasional luxury, and doing good in the world with their money, energy, knowledge, and influence. The same cannot be said for the snotty youngsters. Why people prefer being 20 to 40 I cannot understand.

OK, I am perhaps biased in my assessment of age groups. Of course there are 20-something billionaires (can you name anyone other than Zuckerberg?). Of course there are miserable 40-year-olds. Of course there are exceptions. But look around you, and tell me that young people lead a more stable and independent life (without parental support) compared to older people in their 40s. Bet you can’t.

The best thing about being 40s (I think so, I don’t know how it is like yet) is the wisdom you get, and the energy you still have to realize your dream or aspiration or whatever. In their 50s and 60s, people might be Gandalf-like in wisdom, but they are also Gandalf-like in energy (thanks, arthritis!). Young people in their 20s and 30s have the energy and the long list of “things to do in life”, but seldom have the means to achieve them. 40 is the right age.

Go to a golf course (in an exclusive golf club, not a public driving range) and see that 40 is the new 20. People in their 40s can afford golf club memberships, and so they are the “young” guys on the driving range. Old Dato’ and Tan Sris on the golf clubs actually envy the younger guys who, despite having less money and less titles, can hit the ball harder and can get further in life thanks to energy and charm. These decrepit old men then drown their collective envy by drinking hard and macking on young girls who wouldn’t give them a second look if not for their bulging wallets. This is called “tak sedar diri”.

Talking about charm, sorry fellow young guys, but older people have charm. Young people might be handsome and muscular and virile, but older men have that special something (let’s call it charm, for lack of a better word), that really makes people around them comfortable (I’m not gonna make the sweeping generalization about how women prefer older men, I am not a woman and I don’t have a clue how they think). I have known males my age, and none of them qualifies to be called “charming” although many belong to that another extreme of human social spectrum, called “being a douche”. On the contrary, I have met many older men who can make you feel at ease just by smiling and greeting you. Now that’s my friend, is called charm.

So, 40 is not the new 20. 40 is simply better than 20. I’ve been 20, and it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. So I am looking forward to be 40. The day I see my first gray hair in the mirror is the first day I’m going to feel like a real man.


27 July 2010

I’m going to Kuala Terengganu tonight for a business meeting tomorrow at Wisma Darul Iman. If I can finish the meeting early then I will go jalang jalang around KT. Hopefully everything will be done by afternoon, so I can get out of KT soonest possible and will be back in KL tomorrow evening.

KT is a fine town, but I’ve many bad memories with dishonest and sleazy people around here so I don’t intend to stay for long.

The Nine Billion Names of God

26 July 2010

If you like The Last Question I posted yesterday, you’ll like this short story by Arthur C. Clarke (he of the 2001: A Space Odyssey fame). For those of you with aversion to sci-fi, don’t worry, it’s a really easy read. The story is set in the 1950s, not in some imaginary epoch a billion years into the future. None of these Isaac Asimov cosmic nonsense. Also, the story is quite short.


The Nine Billion Names of God

by Arthur C. Clarke

“This is a slightly unusual request,” said Dr. Wagner, with what he hoped was commendable restraint. “As far as I know, it’s the first time anyone’s been asked to supply a Tibetan monastery with an automatic sequence computer. I don’t wish to be inquisitive, but I should hardly thought that your –ah– establishment had much use for such a machine. Could you explain just what you intend to do with it?”

“Gladly,” replied the lama, readjusting his silk robe and carefully putting away the slide rule he had been using for currency conversions. “Your Mark V computer can carry out any routine mathematical operation involving up to ten digits. However, for our work we are interested in letters, not numbers. As we wish you to modify the output circuits, the machine will be printing words, not columns of figures.”

(Read the rest of the story HERE.)

The Last Question

26 July 2010

This is the best science fiction short story ever written (you might disagree, that’s ok, I never claim to be an expert in sci-fi). A linear storyline, with a patient buildup spanning trillions of years…and then BAM! before you realize it the ending jumps on you hard like a hyena on wildebeest.

Those of you (like me) who do not read science fiction, don’t get turned off by the futuristic mumbo jumbo. The storyline is quite simple, you don’t need a nuclear physics background or a nerdy disposition to “get” the story.

Asimov, possibly the best science fiction writer ever, and certainly the most prolific, said that The Last Question is the finest story he had ever written.


The Last Question

by Isaac Asimov

The last question was asked for the first time, half in jest, on May 21, 2061, at a time when humanity first stepped into the light. The question came about as a result of a five dollar bet over highballs, and it happened this way:

Alexander Adell and Bertram Lupov were two of the faithful attendants of Multivac. As well as any human beings could, they knew what lay behind the cold, clicking, flashing face — miles and miles of face — of that giant computer. They had at least a vague notion of the general plan of relays and circuits that had long since grown past the point where any single human could possibly have a firm grasp of the whole.

(Read the rest of the story HERE.)

Joanne and The Unofficial Food Guide

25 July 2010

My friend Joanne has started a food blog at Joanne is currently based in New York, working as research engineer at a Fortune 500 company.

Joanne and a bowl of disgusting grub

I knew Joanne when we were students at INTEC. We did not see each other during our undergrad years (I was in Boston and she in Illinois). After graduation, she stayed back to finish her grad studies and work in the States. I met her two years ago when she came back to KL for a holiday, and we went to watch The Simpsons Movie, or some equally unmemorable summer blockbuster, at KLCC.

From her about page:

The Unofficial Food Guide website was commenced from my deep passion and quest for knowledge of good and healthy food. Food should be enjoyed by many. And enjoyed moderately but passionately. Food should be understood as it can nourish our mind, body and soul. I am by no means an expert in food science, but simply a self-proclaimed food connoisseur and student.

Hopefully one day she will share with us the recipe for her favorite dish, sambal petai…hahahahahaha (oops, did I just divulge a secret? sorry, Joanne ;P)

Best Public Service Ad

25 July 2010

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