Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Interpret my dream? Please?

Hello. Its been a while since an angsty post.

I woke up this morning from a disturbing ex-boyfriend dream thanks to Facebook.
Facebook is a funny little old social networking phenomenon that we could do without. But we won't for some deep, dark, ugly reason. (Not something I find as practical as Twitter.)

The facebook facts: I know that this ex, a baby faced older man (no, not the divorced one) is now quite a success. His businesses are now set up in a few countries- two in Southeast Asia and one here in Australia. Thanks to curiousity and the internet, I read a few articles written about him. Looks like he moved here in the last few years and set up an office here and has a good project pipeline.

Why does he have to come here? AND WHY did I have to dream that I met up with him again? And where was my husband and baby in that dream?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

You can't have Dora

I read a good article in the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Weekend while having my Saturday morning tea. Mia Freedman asks the question what we mothers teach our young daughters when we buy tea sets, fairy outfits, mini kitchens, baby dolls complete with nappies, strollers etc. OR WORSE, Barbie dolls!!! (emphasis mine) How do we teach them to be strong, independent women? Any parent who has a daughter, like myself, finds themselves in this predicament at some point.

The article ends with thank god for Dora the Explorer- "she's short, squat" with "a no-nonsense haircut". Yep, Dora is currently a hero to millions of young girls, mainly pre schoolers. She dresses in a plain t-shirt and shorts, carries a utilitarian backpack with a map in it as she explores with her sidekick monkey friend.

A new Dora The Explorer doll was unveiled a few days ago. Apparently this new doll is supposed to appeal to the "tween" market (often the domain of those slutty Bratz dolls).

If my daughter was a tween, she would of course prefer an age-appropriate doll- and I would rather she had a tween Dora than a Bratz doll any day.
Check out these Bratz dolls!

A US federal judge had the good sense to ban toymaker MGA from making any more of the pouty-lipped, provocatively dressed dolls.
One point for womankind, zero to the marketing fatcats at toy companies.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Real estate hunt. part 2

We are true blue real estate opportunists. Thanks to the economic downturn, the price of real estate has plummeted somewhat and we're on the hunt for property in Mosman again. Buyers are staying away from the AUD$ 1.5-2 million price range and yes, beautifully designed and renovated water-view bargains are to be found in this area. Check out Mosman's listings on domain.com.au

Cue vintage Duran Duran please.
"In touch with the ground,
I'm on the hunt, I'm after you
Scent and a sound, I'm lost and I'm found
And I'm hungry like the wolf"

We won't be able to afford waterfront property where you can park a boat (if we had one, we'd buy a place to park it!) for another 10 years, so we are settling for water views instead.
WHY is Mosman our suburb of choice?

View Larger Map
W-ELLL.... it's near Balmoral beach, Manly beach, it's near Taronga Zoo, it's leafy and quiet.

In the afternoon, we spend some time on Balmoral Beach.

I love cool sand between my toes. I could get used to living here. My little girl loves the beach.

Even later on in the afternoon, we ended up in Haberfield, the Italian suburb that still considers itself authentic, after Leichardt became all commercialised as THE Little Italy of Sydney. We have coffee and sweets at famous Pasticceria Sulfaro on Ramsay Street. It's a family business that has been there for more than 50 years.

I'm no foodie like Helen of GrabYourFork, BUT I had to take a picture because I thought the china was so kitsch and the Southern Italian sweets were too pretty for words. The food was heavenly. Our baby was content to sit on my lap gurgling and playing. Yes. Carry a bag full of little toys that keep little people busy.

At the end of the day we did find a few bargains- we registered our interest in those properties, will view them again, get the finances in order etc. Very excited and anxiously keeping tabs on domain.com.au.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The juidicial system in Malaysia through a theoretical framework. And some free consulting.

Quickie blog:

And now folks, let's look at justice (and its decay) in Malaysia through Kohlberg's (1958) Stages of Moral Reasoning. Laurence Kohlberg was a psychologist who charted stages of the development of moral reasoning from childhood to adulthood. There are six stages in all, each two stages belong in 3 levels.
Aw, why not? It's hella *FUN*FUN*FUN*. Not that I'm hoping to make a difference at all by writing this- I have neither the grandiose ego nor the audacity of hope nor the illusion that real life=cyberspace.

Level 1 (Pre-Conventional behaviours exhibited by children and some adults)
1. Crime and punishment (cause and effect)- Malaysian police sure puts the fear of God in you. When you were a kid, didn't your nanny always threaten you with "Nanti polis tangkap, baru tau!" Every day smart young Malaysian boys and gals in the workforce keep their heads down and try not to do anything that would upset Big Brother. Be naughty and you get spanked.
2. Selfishness (what's in it for me?)- "Eat this spinach and mommy will give you a big ice cream!" Money(bribery) can do anything in Malaysia. Even make independent politicians jump ship to Barisan National. Think of a spectrum: Indonesia on one end and Singapore on the other. Is Malaysia nearer to Indonesia?

Level 2 (Conventional behaviours exhibited by teens and some adults)

3. Interpersonal accord and conformity (Peer pressure)- Keeping up with the Joneses. OH BOY Malaysia Boleh is all about this, no? The INTERNATIONALLY(not. Oh wait I forgot- the international anything is inconsequential, right?) successful Proton Saga, getting the 1st Malaysian in space and blah blah blah ad nauseam.
4. Authority and social-order maintaining (Morality, religion)- When you were a teenager in KL, were you not afraid of those Imams on motorbikes catching you in the act? Who the fuck made them the police? The juidicial system in Malaysia really is split between the good guys and the bad guys (See Lingam tapes), huh? Oh and another thing: I will go to hell, but I say keep the Syariah law out of Malaysia.

Level 3 (Post-Conventional- Adults)

5. Social contract-(Laws are there to serve society and in turn, society is shapes those laws through a democratic process.) When the laws no longer serve the people, they should be changed. IT'S VERY SIMPLE, REALLY. Look. People speak. Government listen (they should, anyway). BUT Malaysia is still fucking married to the ISA and the NEP. Jean Jacques Rosseau himself preferred direct democracy and not representative democracy.
6. Universal ethical principles (Principled conscience)- Lots of Malaysians have this innate sense of right and wrong. Just take a look at blogs, which are basically written thoughts, not actions. BUT it is surpressed by fear of crime and punishment and by rewards, both Level 1 pre-conventional stages of morality that children have.
Conclusion: The government treats the Malaysian people like children. It is a supreme insult to your intelligence. Wanna live a lie? Go on and pretend to be kids, then complain secretly.

Malaysia fixed its own problems during the Asian Financial Crisis in the late 90's when they took control of UEM ( then the parent company of PLUS, now known as the UEM Group) who, in their infinite wisdom, had become buried in debt. So there were no toll hikes to cover their arses. Big Brother played the hero and absorbed the cost, saving the rakyat. Waaaah. My heeerrrooo. Pre-Conventional Morality wins the voters. That was smart voting, eh? Sell your soul for the cost of a few hundred dollars a year.

When an MP is on the campaign trail in their constituencies, we all know that their promises and their values alter themselves to appeal to those whose votes they are after (eg. they may change when addressing religious leaders in a mosque and the chinese chamber of commerce). It's either "dumbed down" OR one that is incites the fires of righteousness (think "Ketuanan Melayu").

This is all very well IF you know who your friends and enemies are. Know the people who vote for you. Malaysia allows voter profiling- eg. how many malay/chinese/ indian/ iban etc. voted for whom and where they come from. Oh bravo good show old chap, how very liberal of you. Well done and all that. pat yourself on the back etc. etc.

Recommendation: Now how about including more socio-economic data such as income level, profession, age group. It is outdated to assume people vote by the categories of race.

Recommendation: In certain constituencies where only 60% of registered voters bother to vote for you, think of the 40% who do not turn up. Who are they? How do you reach them? Think Blue Ocean Strategy and new markets. (
merci pour le lavage de cerveau, INSEAD... heh) Visit venues and support causes which you have never supported before, find other marketing channels - "pull" systems such as a web page with a diary or portal for your services as an MP. This is NOT new, but old MPs must restrategize and re-think their rules of engagement.

Recommendation: Anyone who has voted in Malaysia before knows that registering to vote is a pain in the arse. All the red tape is a hassle, too. So how about looking at streamlining the voting process? While we're at it, how about making voting compulsory and slapping those people who don't vote with a big fat fine?

Any consultant worth their salt *AHEM* will hit you (usually a company whose P&L/ balance sheet sucks or employee turnover is high) with a six figure bill after making those recommendations. But here you go it's FREE- the kind Malaysians like.