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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

earth hour my ass

The only thing worse than a tree hugger is a tree hugger wannabe.

The tree hugger, as idiotic as he is at least is not a hypocrite (well, most of the time anyway). The tree hugger wannabe, however, tries to get you to do stupid things for ridiculous reasons.

Like switching off your lights for a whole hour. ONE WHOLE HOUR YOH! Think of all the whales and polar bears you are going to save!

Now, a core part of my job as a rocket scientist (which is the glamorous name for a Gas Turbine engineer) is to reduce the fuel gas consumption of gas turbines (gas turbines are things that generate electricity for you people out there). This means that in one day, I would have done more for the environment than a thousand tree huggers who cycle to work. So this gives me the right to criticize idiots when it comes to the environment.

I was supposed to write this last night where I was going to tell you people what a farce and what a load of hypocritical crap Earth Hour is, but I woke up this morning and it seems like a lot of people have already done that. So, I decided to do my part and educate you on what you could and should actually do.

Okay, truth be told, I am actually not that annoyed about Earth Hour itself. I think its good for other countries where there exists people who really don't care about the environment and hence this is a good publicity tool to raise awareness, and I think there is nothing wrong with that.

However, when done in Malaysia, it makes no fucking sense. If you didn't already know, how it normally works in other countries, like the US or UK - the national power authority (equivalent to TNB) will forecast the amount of power they require at any given point in time for the following day, and tell the power plants how much they would need to generate at that particular time.

In Malaysia, however, because of the Independent Power Producers - IPPs (which you can blame on the old man and the frog king) the power plants tell TNB how much they are willing to generate and TNB is obligated to buy all that power, whether or not TNB and the consumers require it.

This means that, come 28th March, even if everybody and every household shuts down all the switches in their house, the power plants would still be generating electricity at full blast to maximise their sales to TNB. Hence, you shutting off your power consuming devices is irrelevant towards the amount of fossil fuel burnt by the IPPs.

Therefore, I think WWF is being a moron here. Instead of spending all that money on publicity for a worthless cause, all that time and effort could be channeled into helping TNB force the IPPs to renegotiate their contracts. TNB (and to a certain extent, the current government) has been trying to do that for years now, but the IPPs have refused to budge. What I am saying is, if you people want to do something worthwhile, then do your research on the biggest crooks around. I will not name them, but it is easy for the average Joe to find out who the biggest IPPs are, what companies run them, and boycott their other products. As a consumer, it is very easy to put pressure on the services and goods provided by the same companies that operate the IPPs.

Ironically, some of those large IPPs have an extensive CSR program on environmental protection, and the public laps it all up, not knowing that these guys are burning unnecessary fossil fuel to produce electricity that we do not require.

The intention is good, but intentions count for nothing if you do not have the results to show for it. Focus your time and effort on the right thing, otherwise you look nothing more than a fool.


On the other hand, as an engineer, I would be very interested actually to see what happens if every household in the country shuts off ALL their electrical appliances for that one hour. Theoretically, if at the end of that one hour, when everybody flicks ON the switch within a minute of each other, it will cause a surge in the national grid and we could experience a catastrophic nationwide black out. This is purely theoretical and of course has never been proven because never before has so many people flicked on their switches simultaneously.

For that reason, and that reason alone, I would encourage as many idiots as possible to participate in this Earth Hour nonsense.

All in the name of science.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

tool

From The Star:

No one masterminding movement against use of English

KUALA LUMPUR: The movement against the use of English in the teaching and learning of Mathematics and Science (GMP) on Monday denied it was being masterminded by certain groups including the opposition parties.

GMP chairman Datuk Dr Hassan Ahmad said based on what transpired at the gathering on Saturday to protest against the use of English in the teaching of the two subjects was outside the power of the GMP, and "the GMP considered their presence as an expression of their support."

...

"We want Pak Lah to resolve the PPSMI (teaching and learning of mathematics and science in English) issue immediately before it becomes more serious, we have good intentions in championing the principle of reverting to the old policy which had no problem in the national education system.

...

Yes, clearly there was NO PROBLEM and is no problem with our education system. Which explains why our universities are the pinnacle of excellence revered upon by students all over the world and why our fresh graduates are so well sought after that large MNCs need to bend over for them. Clearly, what was done before was top, top drawer.

Moron.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

same?

I have a friend who wants to travel the world with the intention of talking to people and learning their culture. She wants to prove that religion does more harm than good. Like her, I too have always wanted to travel the world and talk to people. Unlike her, I already have my answer on religion. My motives are much simpler. I want to learn what each and every nationality thinks about their history and their future.

I have always wanted to ask the Japanese and Germans about the war - I wanted to hear both sides of the story. I want to know what the Russians think about their fall from grace (as the Americans would have you believe) or whether they think they are still a world superpower. I want to ask an Iraqi about Saddam and a Cuban about Castro. I need to know what the Indians and Pakistanis think about their love-hate relationship of each other.

Over the years, I have had the privilege of indulging some of those questions and satisfying my curiosity. I had a fruitful chat with an old German man and seperately, two young Germans, and it was amazing how their opinions were as different as night and day. I have not had the chance to discuss the same matter with the older generation Japanese, although I suspect their response would not be much different from the Germans.

Tonight, I had the pleasure of dining with 3 Iraqis. While Saddam was still a touchy subject, and one I felt inappropriate to ask business contacts at a first meeting, we still managed a chat about our respective cultures and political ideologies. On a sidenote, I am told that Saddam once owned a Proton (albeit a small one, a Wira I guess). On another sidenote, it is refreshing to talk about political ideologies with a foreigner because these days it is sickening to discuss politics with the average Malaysian.

Our conversation somehow diverged on me being a Chinese, but not being able to speak fluent Mandarin. I explained our schooling system and the different type of schools and the languages that we learn in school. I then asked whether English was taught in addition to Arabic and one thing led to another....

"Here in Malaysia, we are now teaching Mathematics and Science in English but a lot of people are arguing about that. What do you think? In Iraq, do you think they should teach this in English or Arabic?"

Immediately, the younger guy, an engineer, spoke up: "Yes! For sure English! We are not developed, we must learn from other people. All our manuals are in English but our people cannot read it, so what is the use? We cannot develop like that."

The older bloke, an official with the Oil Ministry immediately interjected: "No, no we must translate all this books into Arabic. This is our culture, our history we cannot damage it. Learning English is good for a second language, but all this knowledge we must keep in Arabic."

"But other countries, much more developed! We must learn from them. How to learn if we cannot understand what they saying? How we can understand their books and technology?"

"No, you see Japan and Germany they speak their own language but they have good technology"

"When we get developed like Japan then we can use Arabic, but now we have to learn English first"

"You know modern human civilisation started from Iraq Mesopotamia - how can we throw away our culture of 5000 years? We started mathematics, science all this and then translate to Greek to send to Greek civilisation then they become great, then they translate to Latin then the Romans become great. So you see, we must keep it in our language so that we can be a great country"

"Yes but now we know nothing! We must learn first!"

Their argument dragged on for a good 10 minutes until it eventually continued amongst themselves in Arabic while their third companion continued talk to my colleague and I. In between their argument, the older guy tried to explain something to us while the younger guy was shaking his head. As they got back to their argument, I turned to my colleague:

"Doesn't this argument sound soooo familiar to you?"

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