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Thursday, 30 July 2009

My Name Is Wenqi

You know that kinda guy who blogs about nothing but nonsense and wonders why so few people likes his writing? The kinda guy who has a pair of earphones stuck to his ugly dirty ears all day and night? The geeky guy who makes you gladly give up your seat for a poor old grandma in the train when you’re sitting next to him?

Well, that guy is me.

And if you took the time to really get to know me, find out who I truly am instead of the stereotype of me because of the way I look, well…

You’d be wasting your time. Because I’m exactly who you think I am.

I’d pretty much blog about anything your great-great-grandma finds interesting.

But every time I published something on my blog, people disagreed with me. That’s when I realised I had to change. I’m just trying to be a better blogger.

My name is Wenqi.

I have a feeling no one will get the point of this post.

Bah. Changing is hard.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Walking in Malaysia

Malaysia has the biggest auto market in South East Asia. That's quite reasonable, seeing that the two countries richer than Malaysia in SEA are Singapore and Brunei, and while the latter has too small a population, the former taxes vehicles heavily.

So yeah. Everywhere you go in Malaysia, you'll be greeted by traffic congestion.

I spend 6 hours a week travelling between home and school. That's like 3 hours per journey, a half-an-hour walk between Klang railway station and my home.

Travelling this way is not fun. If I were driving, I would only need a little over one hour for the entire journey. Plus I need to line up for tickets. And wait for the trains.

Yesterday's journey, for example, was terrible. Especially the walking part.

I had quite a number of things with me. As usual, my keys, wallet and phone were in my pocket. I carried a backpack filled with documents and water bottle and pencil case and such. One hand carried a luggage, containing the past week's laundry, and my other hand held a bag filled with a pile of notes for my past two semesters.

The drivers don't respect pedestrians. I was walking at the edge of the road (any more to the side I'd be tumbling down to a drain), but a stupid 4-wheel-drive driver who was driving so freaking fast on the narrow narrow lane still honked at me.

I mean, fine, I don't expect you to give me a ride. Chances of getting robbed in Malaysia is higher than getting a free ride from a stranger.

I don't expect sympathy either. After all, I was only carrying 3 bags totalling about 15kg and this will only increase my stamina, right? Plus, it is half my fault I don't own a car by now.

But the least you could do is to not honk at me just because I don't have a car and was slowing you down by what, 2 seconds? Next time a driver does that someone better be dying in his/her backseat.

And I haven't even started on Malaysian drivers' spitting yet. (Sad to say my dad is one of them.)

Motorcyclists don't respect pedestrians either. So you wait by the traffic lights for it to turn red, then the flow of traffic will stop, and you will get to cross the road. However, it isn't that simple. The first thing you should do once the lights turn red is to wait for the cars to stop. So the cars stopped, but you can't cross yet! You have to wait for the motorcycles to stop. Motorcycles like to worm their way among the sea of the cars into the very very front, and they don't give a damn to pedestrians. They only keep their eyes on the goal - the front of the queue. You have to keep your eyes on them.

Heck, even other pedestrians don't care for you! You're ascending a flight of stairs with heavy stuff on your hands, and there you go, two people ascending the stairs slower than your grandmother can type, yet blocking the entire width of the stairs. I feel like punishing them by asking them to carry my stuff instead. Let's see how slow you wanna move now!

That's not all. Everything sucks! The streetlights were not working and I couldn't clearly see where I was going. The roads are all filled with potholes of mud and rainwater. Bird droppings line the walkway. The workers dug out the mud in the drains and place them on the walkway but didn't pack them away before leaving. Manholes are not covered. The roads are dirty - fliers and spits and gums and cans everywhere. The air of the busy road is badly polluted and smelly.

So you think walking is easy? Think again!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

West vs East

Singapore and Malaysia are two similar, yet different countries in South East Asia. Situated right next to one another, it's amazing how these two countries used to be one.

The USA and Mexico are neighbouring countries in the American continent. Both are giant countries compared to the dwarf Malaysia and the minuscule Singapore.

Malaysia and Singapore are divided by the Tebrau Straits, also known as the Straits of Johore. Most of the 93km Malaysia-Singapore border line ran through the Straits, cutting across 2 (in the near future, 3) land-links between the two countries - the Johor-Singapore Causeway and the Johor-Singapore or Tuas Second Link.

The USA-Mexico border, in comparison, stretches a long 3141km. Boy, they really need to slim those waists.

Malaysia and Singapore share the very same time zone (UTC+8). Being on the UTC+8 zone means they also get in sync with one of the world's biggest market, China.

Mexico on the other hand, has 3 time zones. The USA has 7 during the summer.

In the West, people from the South (Mexico) travel North (USA) to get better paid jobs.

In the East, people from the North (Malaysia) travel South (Singapore) because they hate chewing gums.

In the West, convicts flee Southwards illegally.

In the East, terrorist leaders flee Northwards illegally.

In the West, people from the North travel South to watch bullfights.

In the East, people from the South travel North to watch politicians catfight.

The world is a colourful place, innit?

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Before Me, After Me

I'm 20 years old now.

The world was a very different place before I was born.

Back then, people relied on mail to communicate with one another.

Today, even retirees use emails.

Back then, people used old school calculators or even abacus for calculations.

Few years later, they started to use computers.

Today, their computers are so small they look like calculators.

Back then, children play with spinning tops and board games and cards.

Today, the world is filled with consoles of weird names like PS (1, 2, 3, P), Nintendo DS, Xbox and Wii.

Back then, they watch Transformers the Animation on VCRs.

Today, we watch Transformers the Movie on Blu-Ray discs.

Back then, there was no Harry Potter. No cell phones, no GPS, no iPods. No Wikipedia, nor BitTorrent nor GPS nor Facebook. Names like Bluetooth, Youtube and Blogs would only cause confusion.

No doubt, a lot of things have changed since the day I was born.

I’m glad I made such a great influence to this world.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Riding Motorbike – Afterthought

You've never seen me like this before.

One of the few things mum would never let me try, apart from smoking and drug trafficking, is motorcycling.

Sadly, a motorbike is one of the coolest things a guy can have, apart from money, muscle and motorcar. I can’t really blame her, actually, seeing the way Malaysian drivers (both motorcar and motorbike) manoeuvre their vehicles. I’m quite surprised none of the F1 drivers are from Malaysia.

That, however, doesn’t mean that I have never ridden a motorbike before. I was the pillion rider a few times before. When I was in primary school, my tuition teacher used to fetch me home on his motorbike. When I was even younger, my cousin (uncle, actually) used to bring me around too, which would cause his mother to scream at the top of her lungs.

But after that, I don’t remember riding a motorbike anymore, until recently. I went to Setapak and my friend fetched me around on his bike, something I really dreaded – I would rather take the cab or even walk instead.

This is so wrong, I thought. I don’t know why I’m so afraid of riding a motorbike. Maybe my past life died on the road or something.

I struggled to put on the helmet – it was too small for my cartoonishly big head. I struggled to ride onto the passenger seat – it was too tall for my short and hairy legs. I struggled to squeeze my backpack and luggage between me and my friend. I felt strangely homosexual as I adjusted myself in my seat.

I didn’t enjoy the ride. The wind was blowing too hard on my face, stinging my eyes. The helmet was tight, making my head sweaty and itchy. The roads were loud and noisy, I could not even talk properly with my friend. The cars showed no respect to the motorcyclists. I began to worry about the weather. The exhaust gases from the bigger vehicles were hot and smelly. There was no A/C, no radio, no nothing.

What happens if my phone drops from my pocket? What happens if my shoelaces get caught in the wheels?

Luckily none of them happened.

As I tried to pry the helmet from my head after the journey, I had to agree that not everyone has the luxury of owning a car. Some resort to moving around on their feet, like me, while others opt for a motorcycle. The trouble is, Malaysian drivers tend to show off a lot. They never stop for pedestrians, even on zebra crossings. I was very surprised when a car in Singapore actually stopped at a zebra crossing for me to cross before I remembered that I wasn’t in Malaysia. The more matured drivers rev up their vehicles and overtake new probationary license drivers mercilessly. Motorcyclists are cursed regularly, just because they get to ‘cut queue’ in traffic lights.

Still, motorcycle comes with several advantages. Riding a motorcycle gives a wider view of the landscape. In fact, the only thing blocking my vision was the rider. There was also no need to look for a parking space – just stop the motor anywhere, even within vision. There was no pay for parking ticket, no need for toll, no worries for traffic jams, lower fuel consumption, just to name a few advantages.

Not enough to convince me to own a motorcycle, though.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

RapidShare: Download Is A Game

This is gonna be one of the most spontaneous posts I've ever written this year.

RapidShare is one of the better free services you can get online. You have any files you need to share, but too big to fit into a regular email? No problem. Just head over to, upload your file into the RapidShare server, copy the URL to your file, and email to your desired recipients. URLs are hard-to-guess, preventing total strangers from downloading your file.

The truth is, RapidShare is like a city of gold. Tonnes and tonnes of gems and jewels are buried deep within, from photos to documents to pirated films and music, if you can find the URL, you can get it.

However, there's a twist, which some people, like me, see it as "rules to the downloading game".

If you are not willing to pay for a RapidShare account, your downloading capabilities will be severely limited.

Firstly, you can only download one file at any time. RapidShare file servers assume that every computer has its own unique IP address, and download requests from a repeated IP address will be banned.

Secondly, download speed may be pathetic, depending on RapidShare traffic.

Thirdly, if your download is interrupted before you can finish it, there it is - you have to download all over again.

Fourthly, there is a quota to your download. Free users are allowed to download a single file if it exceeds the quota, but they will have to wait 15 minutes before they can download a second file.

Seeing the fact that I spend an average of 5 days in school per week, I naturally have to access RapidShare using my school connection. The sad thing is, all the hundreds of computers (including personal laptops connected by WiFi) in my uni share the same internet connection.

The consequence - RapidShare sees the, say, 400 computers of UNMC as a single computer. Which means that only 1 out of 400 computer users of UNMC can download from RapidShare at any time.

Terrible, isn't it? Seeing that I know nuts about proxies, I naturally had to play the Download Game.

How to Play the Download Game
1. Login with a computer in UNMC.
2. Search for the URL of a reasonably large RapidShare file and access its RapidShare page.
3. Click "Free User".
4. If you are told that your IP address is already downloading a file, or if you are told that you have reached the download limit, you lose the round.
5. If you are presented with a countdown timer, wait until it reaches 0, and click "Download".
6. If your download starts, you win the round. If you are told that your IP address is already downloading a file, you lose the round.

The climax of the Download Game.

The winning screen.

Yes!!! If you win a round, you're incredibly happy. If you lose again and again, you're frustrated.

That's the definition of a game.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Humph! Electronic Engineers!

Electronic engineers are dirty minded.

Well, that's not surprising, because most engineers are blokes, and blokes ARE dirty minded. Besides, when they're engineers-in-training, for the entire, say, 5 years, they're deprived of some inter-gender relationship in class. You think it'll be better when they graduate, but hell, no. It's actually worse.

Yes, so here we are, arriving at the conclusion - electronic engineers are dirty minded.

See here. You plug in your thumbdrive into a USB port. Few seconds later, it's ready to be used - no manual configurations needed. What is this feature called?

Plug and Play. I didn't quite noticed this until one of my friends actually pointed it out to me.

OK. Let's move on.

There's this thing in my toolbox, called the sucker.

This is a bigger and more powerful sucker.

They suck!

So you have a rubber-coated copper wire. But rubber doesn't conduct! You have to remove a small portion of the rubber to reveal the copper in order to establish connection.

This de-skinning action is called... stripping.

Unstripped (left) and stripped wires. Revealing!

Stripping can be done using a pair of scissors or wire cutter, but there's a tool specially designed for stripping wires.

It's called stripper.

And no, I don't have one in my toolbox. Don't need one.

I remember going to an electronics shop with my friend few years ago.

"I need a connector. The, you know, the one with the pin, for this type of connection..."

While I rummage around my bag looking for a sample, my friend simply told the guy, "he meant male".

I looked up, "these things have genders? How could you tell?"

The shopkeeper simply said, "oh, the ones with the sticks are male, the ones with the holes are female."

Damn. How could I be so stupid?

Can you tell the genders of the following parts?

Pin connectors.

More pin connectors.

Old school serial port.

If you have no idea what this post is all about, perhaps you'd better not be an electronic engineer.