This is it – the run in games

With the wedding of Will and Kate out of the way, it’s back to real life – the run in games for United, Chelsea and Arsenal look as follows:

Man Utd Run In
1-May Arsenal Away
8-May Chelsea Home
14-May Blackburn Away
22-May Blackpool Home
Chelsea Run In
30-Apr Spurs Home
8-May United Away
15-May Newcastle Home
22-May Everton Away
Arsenal Run In
1-May United Home
8-May Stoke Away
15-May Villa Home
22-May Fulham Away

It looks like anything can happen, although purely on paper Chelsea looks solid, on current form Arsenal looks most vulnerable and United has to do all the work to stay ahead. What a season finish this is shaping up to be.


Everyone’s In London

I hopped onto a cardio machine this morning, and turned on the attached television screen. The set on the Today Show looked a little different. Also, Ben Fordham who was the sports presenter was decked out more formally than I was expecting, with a red tie to boot. I soon realised they were in London – the whole team. Karl, Lisa and gang are all there. I then recall Ross and John of 3AW saying everyone’s there now.

To confirm views that William and Kate are different to their predecessors, William was soon seen outside Clarence House, shaking hands with onlookers. It must have been about 10.30pm then and the prince was in an open neck shirt, khakis and sweater, greeting and talking to ordinary people lining up outside the royals’ residence. Nice touch. Certainly it bolstered the image of William being like Diana, the people’s royal personality.

The wedding program starts around 5pm Aussie time and I think many have teed up parties to watch it. The actual thing is due to start around 8.30pm – prime time Aussie TV slot – and they are due to appear on the balcony around 10.30pm. On a Friday night, only a Man United game can beat that. So guess what I’ll be doing for 2 x 20min slots tonight…

Metro Moans

Over the long Easter weekend we were at a dinner party where the pre-dinner small talk was on commuting.

There were 2 who drove to work, one retired person who relayed his pleasure at taking the train into the city and yours truly, whose famously impatient traits are being tested on a daily basis.

Of the 2 who drove, one had never taken the train. Metro might as well be the Millennium Falcon to him.

The other bloke used to take the train years ago but after a number of delays, hold ups and break downs, decided to drive and hasn’t looked back since.

The retiree travelled off peak so is spared of the travails of public transport.

Yours truly was the lone sufferer. It is an ongoing persecution. It is a Pauline pain in you-know-where. The Apostle asked the Lord three times, to remove the source of his pain. I tried it and the Lord answered partially. He removed Connex. Redemption however was no where insight as Metro is no Messiah.

In fact it is positively Machiavellian to usher in Metro and raised the hopes of sojourners that we would henceforth journey to the Promised Land of reliability and punctuality. Metro as it turned out, is a massively false messiah.

My ride is via what is called a “City Loop”. As you enter the city via whichever railway line from the suburbs, you enter the city via one of several spots. The most common ones by far, are the Flinders Street and Parliament stations. They are on the opposite end of the CBD circle , with the former on the south side of the city and the latter on the north. Trains coming into the city are either “Flinders Street” or “City Loop”. If you come in via the former, Flinders Street station is the first stop, then you go through the circle and the train leaves the city after going past Parliament.

The City Loop train is the reverse. There are only 3 stations (Spencer, Flagstaff and Melbourne Central) in between so it is no biggie but the loop takes about 10 minutes to cover, and you’d be surprised how 10 minutes over 3 stops fill up the cars very quickly. We haven’t quite reached the stage where conductors need to shove passengers in but we have reached a stage where passenger proximity is such that if this was an Islamic country, we’d be looking at separate cars for men and women.

I’m almost always on the City Loop trains because my office is only a block and a half from Parliament Station. It is also the nearest to our station – Blackburn – so the ride is only about say, 25 minutes. It is the perfect leg for me, time wise.

Whatever advantage there is however, depends on punctuality and reliability. If the train arrives late the short 25 minute journey is extended. Likewise, if they muck around by switching the route, one wastes precious minutes too. So if you’re on a City Loop and the Metro decide to turn it into a Flinders Street train, you either ride the extra 10-15 minutes or you jump off at Richmond – a major exchange just outside the CBD – and wait for a City Loop. One usually arrives within a few minutes but the whole saga usually sets you back 10 minutes easy. Not much in the scheme of things, but add that to the array of other irritating non-compliance and one wonders why the State Government sacked Connex in the first place. Frequently for example, the City Loop in the evening would be cancelled and one has to take a ride to Richmond for a connecting train or wait for the next one. Either way you are again set back 15-20 minutes. Not much for sure, but again, the cumulative effect is there. It has happened so often that Metro has long turned into a joke for Melbourne commuters. To add insult to injury, Metro has just increased fare and just this morning Tress was saying the monthly has gone up to over $175 now (from about $160).

Yet, when I am frustrated I only have to remind myself of “KTM Komuter”. I remember several occasions where I waited on a platform, only for a train to arrive on the one opposite. Many would jump onto the tracks to run across to the other side, because if you don’t or don’t do a sprint of Carl Lewis proportion to run through the overhead to the other side, you run the risk of waiting for … God knows how long for the next one. Actually at the rate it is going, who knows – Metro may descend to that level… now where’s the car keys?

Stir Away RPK.

I’m still trying to work out this RPK rubbish.

If I said you to you that you were at a brothel, you’d have to either deny or admit to it. My opinion of you should not bear on whether I would say this to you, if your being at a brothel was a fact witnessed by me.

If I said to you that someone said to me he saw you at a brothel, your options would be better. You could still deny it or admit it. Or, you could ask me who was that someone who told you. On my part however, I would not have mentioned to you what that person said to me unless I had an element of doubt about you. My opinion of you becomes relevant in that sense.

If we then push this out even further and I were to say to you, that I was told someone had credible information that you were at a brothel, I’d really have to have a lot of doubt about you, before I would even raise the matter with you. My opinion of you would be most relevant in this context.

Therein lies the problem with Raja Petra and his alleged U-turn and stories about his “selling out” and becoming a Najib supporter.

Raja Petra made a statutory declaration in 2008 based not on what he saw. He did not see Rosmah Mansor at the jungle near Shah Alam on that fateful night in 2006. Neither was he told by someone who alleged Rosmah was there. That wretched Statutory Declaration was based on what someone (Nik Azmi Nik Daud) told him someone else (Lt Kol Azmi Zainal Abidin) had “credible information” on – that Rosmah Mansor was at the C4 site.

I find it incredulous that Raja Petra, for all his apparent wily nous, could doubt Rosmah ‘s presence at the site Altantuya was murdered (as he said in his infamous TV3 interview) yet declare a statement which is based on what someone told him someone else had credible information on. Any reasonable person would have deemed it necessary to verify the matter by either sighting the report which allegedly set out the account of Rosmah’s presence, or at the very least, speaking to the person (Lt Kol Azmi Zainal Abidin) who had allegedly authored that report.

It just does not make sense. Unless of course, the whole saga is in turn, just another piece in a prolonged game of chess and it did not matter if a move made sense at a particular point in time, as long as it sets in motion a series of moves to lead to a desired outcome.

Maybe he did think Rosmah was indeed present at the murder scene.

Maybe there were elements to the murder and its surrounding circumstances which he wanted to train the spotlight on, and which were hitherto neglected for one reason or another. What might these be?

  • That the records of Altantuya and her friends were expunged from immigration database?
  • That Najib had occasion to meet with Altantuya in a number of circumstances and had sexual liaison with her?
  • That there were elements of DCNS Scorpene submarine deals which bore Najib’s fingerprints all over some alleged kickback money?
  • That the Malaysian ambassador to Mongolia had stolen evidence from Altantuya’s family and given these to the Malaysian police under the custody of Abdul Gani Patail and/or ex IGP Musa Hassan?
  • That records of military personnel and armaments suggest Najib provided the green light to employ these resources at the time of the murder?
  • To train the spotlight on PI Bala’s statutory declarations again?

Were the manoeuvres to prevent Najib’s ascension and push Ku Li up instead, as defined as they were said to be? Or was it such a given that Najib was to succeed Badawi that stories of these Machiavellian moves were transparently non-sensical?

Certainly the question of whether a military intelligence officer did or did not author a report suggesting Rosmah’s presence at the murder scene, has little impact on the other questions which have always caused Najib’s role to be anything other than an outright falsehood. If Raja Petra’s intention is to have the public re-examine all these other issues all over again, he certainly has a strange way of getting to this. Maybe it is all serendipitous and all he wanted to do was to stir crap again. That he is a master at this there is little doubt.  Certainly the stench has hit cyber waves again.

If this however, is what it takes to flush crap out like UMNO and its leaders of the system, stir away RPK.

ECL Ole!

United’s practically there – Wembley’s almost sealed for 28 May. What was really good this morning though were the following:

  • Giggsy and Raul exchanging shirts after the game. Two veterans who never say die and are near perfect ambassadors for the game. One is the oldest person ever to score in a Champions League game and the other is the highest ever scorer.
  • Sir Alex going up to Neuer after the game with a quiet word. He looked like he was seeking out the man who saved Schalke from embarrassment tonight, hopefully with a cajolling word to get him to Old Trafford next season.
  • Finally there were footage showing the delivery of the Champions League Trophy to Boris Johnson. Graeme Le Seux was there as an ambassador of the UEFA Wembley 2011. What a credit Le Seux has turned out to be. I remember his spat with Robbie Fowler during his Chelsea playing days and the classless Fowler was with Liverpool. Where is Fowler now? Le Seux is respected and has a place in the game still. Fowler is instead probably still sniffling white powder and ribbing those who have earned their places in society.

Great morning for the ECL!

Killing Us All Tweetly

Jim Wallace‘s tweet on Anzac Day is the latest proof that this tool can be wielded most unwisely. It is probably best not to use it for any purpose other than daily mundane stuff like letting your mates know where you are so they can join you if they wish. Try using it for any other purpose (such as social commentary) and you really are asking for it.

I am sure many Christians frown deeply at gay marriage and Islamic extremists and they are perfectly legitimate areas of interests for the Australian Christian Lobby. Use that silly limited tool that is Tweeter and mix that with Anzac Day and the place it holds for many Australians and you’re on really thin ice. From hereon in, who’d listen to Jim Wallace the next time he has anything to say about gay marriage or Islamic extremism? People are more likely to remember his folly of tweeting on these issues on Anzac Day 2011, than anything else he may have to say on them, no matter how valid and true that may turn out to be.

He has damaged the role of the Australian Christian Lobby in 22 words in a silly tweet and it’d take so much rebuilding to restore things. This silly tool is killing us all tweetly. 😦

Rosemary Sprig for Anzac Day

Tress and I caught a little bit of the Anzac Day march footage a short while ago. We were wondering what was the significance of the rosemary sprig most of the presenters were wearing on their left lapels.

Apparentlty in ancient Greek times, the rosemary was thought to strengthen memory. Wearing the rosemary is probably a reminder that we are not to forget what these veterans have done for the nation. “Lest We Forget” is a phrase often used on this day – it’s roots were in relation to a poem to remember World War I veterans of the Brittish.

So I guess if you’re looking for something to boost your memory – rosemary it is!

Becoming an Aussie

4 years on since …

Saying goodbye

9 April 2007 Edit Leave a comment

This time it is to Malaysia, permanently and legally. About a couple of weeks ago, I had my citizenship application approved. Formally, I dont become a citizen until the ceremony, when the pledge is made and the certificate of citizenship is issued.

A couple of guys were just talking about citizenship, and severing any of our remaining legal links with Malaysia. We all thought we are probably never returning to Malaysia ever again, so why worry about giving up our citizenship there. More so when we see the continuous erosions of values which are important to us – fairness, equality, justice and social stability. I think the factor which nailed it for all of us, is the thought of our children having to cope with those issues which we had to deal with. We are all thankful our kids are spared of these issues, and they can concentrate on other matters such as building their skills and qualifications to contribute better, and to be better appreciated by their country. Malaysia is not interested in that, not unless you are a malay or a moslem, or preferably, both.

I’m now just waiting for the ceremony date to be confirmed, before I officially become a dinky di Aussie.

US sovereign risk downgraded?

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has done to the US what it did to AIG 2 ½ years ago. Well, sort of. Unbelievably, it effectively handed over a vote of no confidence in US political leaders to deal with the crazy deficits which have been growing on a massive scale.

Uncle Sam has been pawning to the hilt and is no longer deemed stable by the international bond market. Obama has managed to back Normandy back to the Krauts and Germany and France now rank higher than the Yanks!

I was watching the news a couple of weeks back on this issue and one of the Republican lawmakers was saying she wasn’t going to continue signing off borrowings from China to fund abortions carried out in the US.

This is just one of a range of issues creating a huge divide between the Republicans and Democrats, making approval of budgets increasingly difficult. I have not been folllowing the issues closely so I don’t know if this chasm is what’s causing S&P’s warning.

Maybe we have just witnessed the trigger to bury the greenback as a global currency and usher in the “Red Back” that is the Renminbi as its replacement. Will the Chinese now firmly stake its claim as the No 1 economic powerhouse of the world today?