Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stung by a Bee, 2 Nights at the Hospital

the Children Ward has this sofa that can be turned into a bed, so that the patient's guardian can sleep over.

the hand that got stung (not the one that is bandaged, thats where the intravenous fluid comes in) not as red and bown as yesterday.

The day before yesterday. In the afternoon, Emilie was playing in the backyard.
A bee came and stung her on her hand. We tought nothing much about it. It hurts yes, but we never thought that she could get a bad reaction over it.
In the morning it was still red and angry, we sent her to school as usual. But the teacher called and told us to take her home. We made appointment with our doctor, only get time at 5pm.
The doctor said that she get a bad reaction to it, the red and patch increased in size and the doctor sent her to the hospital. The hospital takes a long time, she had to wait from 6pm until 9pm before she was admitted to the ward.
The drip was set up last night to get the drug and water intravenously, and Alhamdulillah by the morning the red patch has subsided.
Tonight is the second night she is at the hospital, and getting better.

I got stung by a bee more than a couple of times when i was a kid. There were times when I was stung by tebuan, as well as semut selangor. Kerengga, thats nothing, we had a lot of those on the fruit trees.
But bad reaction to a bee sting? I would never think of it before.
Are we human getting weaker? Less immune to these kind of things?

Swine Flu: Confirmed.

Bad News.
Auckland cases are confirmed, the rest of New Zealand are waiting with bated breath.
So I would say unofficially, New Zealand is among AT RISK nation.

Swine flu in New Zealand – cases confirmed
Unfortunately Kiwis have tested positive: Minister
Last updated 22:13 28/04/2009SharePrint Text Size Rangitoto College's Health Scare The dangers of swine flu Swine flu Asia on swine flu alert Swine flu fears boost drug giants More info on swine flu 103 Swine Flu Victims Dead In Mexico Related LinksFlu scare hits south Swine flu spam tells porkies Pandemic action plan Air NZ steps up checks on US fliers Swine flu 'likely' in New Zealand teens Swine flu concerns spread nationwide Swine flu alert at Auckland Airport NZ monitoring swine flu pandemic Chemists report rush for Tamiflu At least 100 dead from swine flu worldwide Flu added to hit list Relevant offers

LATEST Health officials have tonight announced that three of the Rangitoto College party that recently returned from Mexico have tested positive for swine flu.

At a press conference health officials said results from three samples tested at the World Health Organisation's Melbourne laboratory today had all come back positive for the same swine flu strain, H1N1.

"Unfortunately tonight we can confirm New Zealanders have tested positive to swine flu," Health Minister Tony Ryall said.

The swine flu virus has killed close to 150 people in Mexico and infected dozens in the United States, Canada and Europe. Spain's health minister has tonight confirmed a second case of swine flu, while Israel also confirmed one case.

Health officials said tonight they are investigating a further 43 cases of possible swine flu - this figure has been revised down from 56 following further investigations today.

WHO staff at the Melbourne lab selected the four best samples from the infected Rangitoto College party sent over after 10 tested positive for Influenza A on Sunday. An eleventh person has also tested positive. Testing is still being completed the fourth sample in Melbourne.

"On the basis of these results we are assuming that all of the people in the group, who had tested positive for Influenza A, have Swine Flu," a Ministry statement said.

There would be no changes in treatment for those confirmed as having swine flu. Those suspected so far been kept in isolation at home and given the anti-viral drug Tamiflu.

Rangitoto College principal David Hodge said most of the school party, which visited Mexico on a three week trip, had recovered with only one student, who already suffered from asthma, still unwell.

He said he was shocked at tonight's result, "even though it was a possibility''.

But Auckland Regional Public Health officials said the families of the swine flu-infected had taken the news well.

Officials did not plan to update New Zealand's health alert code from "yellow" to "red" following the positive results. The result merely confirmed that it had been "sensible for us to have been cautious", Public Health Director Mark Jacobs said.

Dr Jacobs said the general public did not need to worry as officials were working to contain the spread and those with confirmed swine flu had so far experienced mild symptoms.

"There is no indication it is any more or less contagious than any other form of influenza,'' he said.

It was most contagious a day before symptoms appeared and up to seven days after. The greatest risk was in the early days.

"Our interpretation is that people who have spent time in Mexico, for instance, where it's likely that there are thousands of cases, are much more likely to have been affected by this particular strain than people who have been in Spain, where they've had one confirmed case," Dr Jacobs said.


It comes as the WHO earlier warned today of a significantly increased risk of an influenza pandemic.

The WHO has escalated its handling of the outbreak, moving from a phase three to a phase four plan. This is characterised as sustained human-to-human transmission of an animal or human-animal influenza virus able to cause "community-level outbreaks."

It also announced work had started on a vaccine, but this was not expected to be completed for six to eight months.

Foreign Affairs also upgraded its travel advice to Mexico today. It has advised against all non-essential trips and says travel to Mexico is "high risk" due to swine flu.

Delivering a ministerial statement to the House earlier this afternoon, Mr Ryall said it was a time for authorities to be alert but not to panic.

The key public health message was that people who had been in Mexico or the United States in the last fortnight who developed flu-like symptoms should contact their GP or health professional. Others who had flu-like symptoms but who had not been to either Mexico or the US should treat any flu symptoms as normal seasonal influenza.

"This is a matter the government is treating with the utmost caution and concern. This is a threat New Zealand has planned for."


Meanwhile pupils at Northcote College, who were also in Mexico, were this morning cleared of having Influenza A.

Passengers on board NZ1 - the flight from Los Angeles carrying the Rangitoto College pupils - have also been asked to stay in isolation and given Tamiflu, Dr Jacobs said.

Dr Jacobs said passengers on board NZ5 - the Los Angeles flight carrying the Northcoate pupils - were no longer being sought as Influenza A results were negative on the three suspected cases.

Officials said this morning they were still chasing 18 passengers on board NZ1.

Passengers arriving from the US or Mexico are being questioned about whether they had experienced possible flu symptoms on arrival at Auckland International Airport.


Reaction to health officials' response time in dealing with a potential swine flu outbreak in New Zealand is mixed.

Dr Peters has defended a delay in getting Melbourne testing underway with swabs only leaving New Zealand yesterday afternoon. She said the samples had needed special preparation and packaging.

One passenger who was on the same flight as the Rangitoto students, Ian Hooker, also said health officials had only contacted him yesterday morning, more than 48 hours after the flight had landed.

"We have been placed under quarantine as a result of today and I just can't help wondering whether that couldn't have been done on Sunday given that they knew about it on Saturday," he told Radio New Zealand.

He had been given Tamiflu and told to stay in doors for up to seven days as he had no symptoms.

However, others are praising the response. Dr Gay Keating of the Public Health Association said authorities had moved swiftly and the outbreak prevention was going exactly to plan.


Indians have been warned against travelling to New Zealand following the suspected outbreak of swine flu.

New Zealand has been included in a travel advisory issued by the Indian government. It urges Indians to restrict travel to this country as well as the United States, Mexico, Canada and France.

All travellers flying into India from those countries will be individually checked for flu symptoms.

Doctors will be stationed at major international airports in India.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Virus Attack and Fraudulent Charges on Credit Card

At first I thought it was just a virus attack, and think nothing much about it.

It happened on my spare computer in the garage, yesterday, it doesnt want to be turned on. It goes as far as Windows page, then it turned itself off. So I formatted the hard drive and reinstall OS.
Nothing happened right?

Yesterday I also notice a malicious program on my camera. Yes, my digital camera, because it has SDcard in it. I found a file called Romantic. so I delete it, but it came back.

This morning when I was checking my credit card statement online, there a chrge that i do not know.

27/04/2009 KLC SOFTWARE* EU16.95 = $38.95

Checking both website, ie by checking google for KLC SOFTWARE and I found out the KLC software is download software website and is a payment processor website.

So what happened was that the virus was collecting my credit card detail, and the perpertrator then used my credit card detail to order stuff from klc website.

Just finished filling the dispute form with my bank.

Swine Flu: Its NOT IT after all

Its not IT after all.

What a relief..

Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu: If this is Pandemic, Recession would be Worse.

Bad News.
81 already dead and counting. If this one is a pandemic, ie worse than the SARS/bird flu a few years ago, million could be dead within a years time. When the last pandemic Spanish Flu happened, it was estimated 20million people were killed worldwide. That time world travel was a bit slow, not like these days.
I havent heard of swine flu 2 days ago, yet yesterday it has become front page news the world over.
Look how quickly this flu has spread, and the mortality rate is high as well.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Apparently 2nd hand cars in Japan are Cheap.

this IS NOT mine, just someone's car on the parking lot at Elmwood village.

no I didnt get permission from the owner to publish the picture of his Hummer either.

I like this big truck, recreational 4WD.
Its big and menacing, enough to threaten other road users to give way to YOU if you drive one of these. I assume you can masuk kebun in kampung with ease, not to worry about getting stuck in the mud.

I was showing this picture to a friend, Joyce aka Jasmine, a Maori who used to live in Singapore Woodlands camp with her NZ Army partner, at Kak Julie's place the other day.
"My partner was offered 2 of those from Japan last month" she said.
"Wow, that would be good to drive, and show off around town" I said.
Her partner import cars from Japan, fix them and then sell them off on The trick is to buy the ones a bit damaged, because the damaged ones will be cheap. Body damage can be fixed at auto body shop, repainted.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Japanese that loves Nasi Lemak

this picture was taken some time back. I think it was just a couple of week after Prof Wan Hamidon of UKM visit to Canterbury University.

We dont normally have good quality ikan bilis (the type that you make nasi lemak with, small in size and expensive variety) over here. So one day Iskandar Ngah emailed me that his friend from UKM is coming. I said, yeah okay, I would be honoured to show him around. This fellow is a professor from UKM, and he asked me in his email, do I need anything here..
Now that is like asking a kid if he likes some icecream..

"Some ikan bilis would be nice, the one that you make nasi lemak with." I said.

Thank you Prof Wan Hamidon for the ikan bilis.

These two Japanese, Yoshi and Eriko are Kak Julie's boarder. They love nasi lemak.
Me and Bang Kamisan enjoy Kak Julie's nasi lemak.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Trout for Lunch and Salmon to take Home

Trout for Lunch and Salmon to take Home

Sunday was muggy and damp all day. Heavy cloud above, fog in the morning and no sun at all. I have a bit of sleep after work, just 20 winks, but I continued my sleep in the car on the way to Oamaru. We started at 10.30am, and arrive at Pak Tam’s place in Oamaru around 2.30pm.
He was busy marinating a filleted headless salmon, spread out on a sheet of aluminum foil on the lid of big chest freezer. He cut lengthwise, all the bones have been carefully pulled out with a tweezer. Then he rubbed olive oil and brown sugar on the salmon meat. The skin has been left intact, to retain the form of the fish. That is it, no other flavouring, herbs or spices. Salmon is a delicious and flavourful on its own, and tasty, not bland, tasteless like any other fish. So there is no need to add any herbs nor spices to hide the blandness.
While he was working, I told him that Mahmud, Firdaus, Mahzan Mahbob and Amir Shakib all send their salam to him. He lit up like a firecracker, he was happy that all those guys from years ago still remember him.
He scratched his head trying to remember which one is Firdaus.
"Alahai, that the son of MSD Director who studied to be a dentist in Otago years ago" I said.
Now he remembers.
Pak Tam repeated their names, and told me that Mahzan Mahbob was one brainy fellow who was set to become a millionaire. Yes I told Pak Tam that Mahzan is running a business in Pudu, but not more than that, because I don’t know if that is Mahzan’s own business or he is managing it for someone else. But I told him that Naim is successful, with his own contracting company. He is also a good son, taking care of his invalid parent.
"Naim came here a couple of years ago" said Pak Tam.
Pak Tam recited a hadith, Rasullullah was asked by a companion, (which sounds something like this) “Who shall I take care first, Rasulullah, my mother or my father?”
To which the Prophet said, “Your mother.”
The companion asked again, “And then?”
Again, “Your mother.”
The companion asked again, “And then?”
Again, “Your mother.”
Pak Tam said, “ Your mother 3 times, only then your father.”
“Barakah and blessings are for the son or child who takes care of their parent. Rezeki murah and Allah will provide for him.” He continued.
“Ask Naim if he remember carrying the sack of kahawai from Waimakariri, and he get fever the next day from working too hard.”
“We got over 200 kahawai that time, and we gave them away at the masjid and to the students in Christchurch.” Pak Tam was relating the story back in the 80’s when Rashidi and him was fishing for kahawai at Waimakariri River mouth.

There were 4-5 headless cleaned and gutted salmon in a plastic container. Kak Julie asked, “Can I buy these salmon.”
“No they are not for sale.” Pak Tam said.
“Those are for sadaqah, to be given away free. If I sell them, the benefit of it is just the money that I get. If I spend that money, it finish.”
“If I give it away, even if I get one Bismillah that is more than enough already.”

He gave one to each of us.

Lunch was ready, white rice, mixed vegetable (cauliflower, carrot and beans) fried lightly, trout masak asam and fried rainbow trout steak.

Then we drove to Zaidi's place down the road, by the railway line near the beach. It was a 1920's bungalow, 3 bedroom, stipled concrete, 3 car garage on a quarter acre section. There is even a chicken coop in the backyard, with few chicken in it. All that for $150K.
We picked the two dressed sheep and bundled it into the car. Zaidi gave us 2 big plastic container of goat milk as well as some silver beet.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

In the Long Run, Prices will Fall

In the Long Run, Prices will Fall.

Prices, of good and services, is made up of:

Raw Material + Capital Cost + Labour + Profit = Price of Goods or Services

This simple rule apply to almost all known new goods and services. Of course creative marketing would tweak on the final price. We are not going to dwell on microeconomics of good and services, but examine the impact of current economic turmoil on future prices of good, services, capital, commodity and labour.

Raw material
The most watched price of commodity, oil has had a rough ride for the past year. At its peak, it reached $147 per barrel, and then as the news of falling demand due to recession sink in, it has fallen to current level of $40-50 per barrel. At its peak, expensive oil has spurred new initiative to energy saving and research into alternative energy sources. As the new habit of saving energy and exploiting alternative energy come in stream, demand for oil will be lower. Other commodities like metals and food have also reached its peak in the past year or two. This has also spurred efforts in recycling and savings. True that demand from India and China were behind the bull market in commodities for the past 3 years, but new supply sources have come in stream and industrialized economies has also making significant savings and recycling.
I don’t expect raw material prices to increase significantly in the near future.

Capital Cost
The current economic turmoil brings in new opportunities; lower interest rates, hence lower capital cost. Most major economies, USA, Britain, Europe, Japan and Australia have reduced their headline interest rate to near zero.
The rout in the stockmarket, whereby major indexes has fallen up to 40% in the past 6 month also contributes to the lower cost of capital. Shares/stocks are usually the most expensive form of financing, but with the share prices have fallen so much, the expected dividend is also lower. Take example of Citigroup, at its high of $27.35, stock holders expecting 5% return would expect at least $1.35 dividend, but at today’s price of around $3.60, a $0.18 dividend would be adequate.
As we know major economies are flooding the market with cheap money, so we can expect that cost of capital will continue to be low in the near future.

Normally labour cost doesn’t change much, workers would not be willingly take pay cut, but significant savings could be made in perks and bonuses. Firms normally fire their surplus workers as demand falls, because they cannot reduce wages.

In recession, profit expectation is lower. It’s simply obscene to make huge profit when everyone else is losing money. So firms tend to pass on the savings and offering deep discounts and gain market share during recession rather than reporting big profit.

All those components of price indicate lower price.

Some people have estimated that up to $3 trillion dollars of wealth has been destroyed in this economic turmoil. Housing assets values have plummeted across the world. A house that was valued and bought for $700K now only worth less than half of its purchase price in some counties in California. The same story in Dubai, UAE. Individual wealth has taken a hit. Here in New Zealand average price for houses has fall by 9% for the past year, and some people owe more than their house is worth, ie negative equity.

What do you think average person would do in this situation? Most people, knowing that their wealth has taken a hit, feeling poorer, would work longer to build up their wealth again. They would save more, and put that idea of early retirement on shelf. We would see higher productivity; hence more goods and services become available at lower prices.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Salam Pak Tam, Oamaru NZ

It was kind of ad hoc plan yesterday, when I was at Kak Julie's place.

Being Easter weekend, she is free, and she hasnt visited Pak Tam (Ani) and Makcik Ramlah in Oamaru for sometimes. So we drove this morning in my Odyssey with Kak Rozie (Kak Julie's younger sister).

We started at about 9.30am and arrived in Oamaru around 2pm.
After a bit of snack, we walked down to a house by the beach, where Ramu, Devi and their 2 kids lives. Ramu is an electrician from Kuala Terlah, Cameron Highland and has lived in Oamaru for the past 6 years. They are settling down comfortably in Oamaru.

Later on, Zaidi (Pak Tam's grown up son) took me on a tour of the blue penguin colony and drove to the beach at Kakanui.

Back at the house Pak Tam reminiscence about the old days when he first arrived in Oamaru to work as halal slaughterman in 1986.
He was asking about Naim Mohamad, Mahmud Hishamuddin, Mahzan Mahbob, Sazaly Shuib, Suhaimi Salleh and Taufik Ibrahim among others.
I informed him that I just met Naim and Mahmud in KL last January, and they are doing well. Yes I can pass his salam to Mahzan Mahbob through facebook, hopefully Mahzan still remember Pak Tam. As for Sazaly Shuib and Taufik Ibrahim, I havent been in contact or met them for years. And I told him that Suhaimi Salleh passed away years ago back in the 90's.
He asked me which part of Malaysia am I from, and I said Tanjong Karang.
"Ah, thats where Pak Deris came from." he said.
"Yes, I knew Pak Deris, one of his daughter was my classmate at school." I said.
Pak Deris died back in 1988 in Gisborne, NZ.

Pak Tam is still healthy, goes to work as halal slaughterman at a local freezing work, and goes out fishing at weekend.

We had trout for dinner. Its taste like salmon, meat is pinkish but you cannot buy trout at your local fish shop.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

A Short Sharp Recession Followed by Growth and Inflationary Prices.

Now that G20 has their say in the matter of our economic future, I can safely say that this recession is a BLIP. As the title above suggest, now its time to buy stocks, blue chip stock that has been battered lately, especially those companies that has something to do with resources, building, oil and food. The basics.

But its all depends on whether the populace of the world managed to muster their economic confidence for them to start spending again.

Most modern economies throughout the globe has rolled out big budgets to get their economies out of recession. Yes I tend to agree with Joseph Stiglitz that America shouldn’t have wasted their trillions cleaning up the toxic debt racked up by their gungho bankers. The money would have been better spent directly on every citizen of that country. I agree with reserve banks around the world reducing the headline interest rate to zero. While this give message to the populace to start spending and investing, stop hoarding their money, that message normally is slow to filter through. Simply because when people just incurred huge losses in their investments, they are not likely to invest more, but would rather get their finances in order first and be more careful in choosing their investment vehicles.
The key to get people confident again and spend is to give them money, a lot of money. Buying toxic debt from financial institutions and made the country, hence all taxpayers pay for it, is just like absolving the guilt of wrongdoers. The money just gone down the drain. If that trillion of money that the Obama Administration spent on bad debt is divided up with every American citizen and given to them straight to their bank account, I believe that would address the issues of economic confidence very quickly.

Quantitative easing (oh my, what a name) or monetary expansion and fiscal expansion would be adequate to get the economy out of recession, provided that the populace managed to be confident again. So far the American, European governments has done the right things, rolling out fiscally expansionary programs and increase government spending and massive monetary expansion by lowering interest rate to zero and massive buy back of government bonds, which will flood the economy with money.

The big question is, how soon will the money reach the street?

Under normal circumstances, fiscal measure would take 6 months and monetary measure would take 12-18 months before we can see the result in the economy. A long lag time. Why so long? Well it makes sense, because of bureaucracy and rules of operations that has to be adhered. Truth is, the money trickles down slowly, and when it reaches the bottom, nothing much is left for those who most need it.

I believe it is about time that we do something drastically different. Lets distribute a reasonably big sum of money to every citizen, so that they can spend it on what they see fit to their needs. Food, housing, education, transport or investment for future spendings. We would see immediate increase in consumption and aggregate demand. A faster way to jump start the economy.

I remember back in early 1990’s in Malaysia when the Malaysian Government investment vehicle the Amanah Saham Nasional give a huge bonus of nearly 100% to their shareholders. The people/shareholders spent their new found confidence by spending on their most immediate needs and investing in their life. The economy grew at a faster clip for the next few years.