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Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The Resident Tourist Part 1-3


Perhaps in the minds of many (Singaporeans or not), Troy Chin may have done something that is rather, well, daft. After a few years as a successful music manager in New York, he decided to quit and returned home to Singapore to pursue his interest: comics.

According to Troy himself, the Singaporean comics industry is almost non-existent, which makes his decision to become a comic artist even more baffling. Ignoring all critics and naysayers, Troy went to work immediately. The result is a couple of self-published series and the three-part (so far) The Resident Tourist.

I'm not sure if The Resident Tourist is entirely autobigraphic. Some time in 2007, the story's Troy is back in Singapore, trying to explain to everyone including himself why he's home when many other Singaporean are trying to make a break abroad. The reason for the return was never fully explained. This puts Troy on a journey to rediscovery Singapore where he encounters sceptical acquaintances, development, childhood memories and odd dreams starring Alf and Thom Yorke.

As a Malaysian I find The Resident Tourist very insightful. I get to know Singapore a bit more other what I see in Phua Chu Kang (that's how much I know Singapore). I do wish Malaysian comic artists especially the younger ones would strive to do the same.

The Resident Tourist Part 1-3 along with the rest of Troy's are readable online at his website. Part 4 and 5 are rumoured to be in the works. Over here only Part 3 is available in stores in hardcopy.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Brazil-maru


I didn't know until recently that South America is home to many Japanese communities. The communities flourished as early as the beginning of the 20th century as a result of the South American countries' effort to work closely with the Japanese in advancing their agricultural sector. This is noteworthy because the Japanese are not known to venture out in large number to foreign countries, compared to the Chinese or Indians.

Today South American Japanese are comfortably at home, assimilated while still holding on to the identities that defines them as Japanese. Brazil is now home to the biggest Japanese outside Japan. In Brazil-maru, novelist Karen Tei Yamashita takes us back to 1925, when a ship of hopeful immigrants makes it way to a new world entirely alien to them.

This situation brings up a very important question, "When a community is first starting out, what should it concerns itself first?" With limited resources and very few people, some agenda have higher priority than others. How would money, for example, be allocated? If we recall the Sirah, when Rasulullah SAW arrived in Madinah (or Yathrib at the time), he immediately build the masjid. The masjid functions not only as place of worship but also as the centre of governance and administration, learning and a venue to address social needs. One well-planned institution can solve many of the community's issues at once.

In the novel, the community leaders discussed at length how should the community be developed. I find it interesting that they believed some area should be cleared to allow the children to play baseball. I wonder if the penghulus of our kampungs was concerned about the children's needs when they first settled.

As novel, the community is only a stage where the real story is played out by several important people in it. The first to tell the story is Terada Ichiro, who was child when the he and his family boarded the Brazil-maru and practically grew along the community itself. They chose a area called Esperan├ža, a place reasonably near to other other Japanese immigrant farming communities, although they were largely invisible. Ichiro was the character I sympathised with the most.

Throughout the story one name stands out the most. Uno Kantaro. Charismatic even since he was a young man and just a few year older than Ichiro, Kantaro seemed destined to become a pivotal figure in the community's history. It's not surprising to see someone like him to rise in his society, especially when he's showing a lot of leadership potential. What's interesting was seeing how loyal the community was to their leadership, even when the leaders are making bad decisions.

Brazil-maru made me think about how a community, and eventually society and civilisation, develops. We are here in this society because of the actions and decision of the previous generations. They had very little idea about how their lives would impact us, as are we totally ignorant about how our lives might impact the lives of our children and grandchildren. Time and place may differ, but we are still sailing on the same ship.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Dakwah Corner Bookstore: Sumur ilmu yang menanti untuk dikunjungi



Guru saya Puan J mencadangkan saya membaca buku ini. Saya tanya, Di mana buku ini dijual, Cikgu? Tak pasti, Puan J cuba mengingat, tapi saya selalunya ke Dakwah Corner Bookstore, cuba cari di sana.

Selama ini saya tidak tahu tentangnya, walhal saya sudah melewati kawasan tersebut beberapa kali untuk ke jualan gudang Times, MPH dan sebagainya. Nampaknya kali yang akan datang saya ada sebab baru untuk berada di situ lama-lama.

Dakwah Corner Bookstore (M) Sdn Bhd
34-1 Jalan 14/22, Section 14,
46100 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor Darul Ehsan,
MALAYSIA
(Near Masjid Bulat / Right Angle)

Tel/Fax : +603 7956 4664
Mobile : +6018 272 1225
Email : sales@dakwahbookstore.com.my


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Saturday, 10 April 2010

CPU in ICU 3

The title may be a bit misleading. The truth is I've no idea which component is really in ICU. It could be the CPU, the motherboard or maybe just the cooling fan. My computer mentor, Tuan Ali, and I were too scared to troubleshoot, lest we short out the entire PC. Let the mystery remain and our pockets undisturbed. For the moment.

Tuan Ali was generous enough to lend me his spare motherboard (or if you prefer, the mobo) and most of the component on it. Now I've nearly I gig of RAM and faster processor. I feel like Schumacher right now.

Also, I would like to extend a round of deserving thanks to my long time chum Zha for helping me by loaning his Netbook when I really needed a Windows machine to do some analysis work. MnM, another long time chum, a really tall dude with really big heart, for offering his monitor when mine finally decided to 'retire' after 7 years of faithful service. And of course Tuan Ali, for making me feel like I'm on the Ferrari F1 team. May Allah repay your kindness.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

CPU in ICU 2

Every time my PC goes kaput, I learn new things.

The first time it happened, I learned the importance of having backups.

The second time taught me that backups shouldn't be on the same hard disk even if there are on separate partitions because if the whole hard disk goes, then the backup goes too.

This time I'm being enlighten on the virtues of having a dual-boot PC, which means I have both Windows and Linux installed. If one fails, the other can take over. Right now, my Windows XP has been unresponsive but thank God Ubuntu can read files in XP partitions. I can't use some of the Windows program but I'm still can do my work with Openoffice and surf the Net with Firefox. I can also play most of my media files, except one recording that's in Real Media video format.

Ubuntu has been a live saver. From I've been through, I strongly recommend that everyone should consider having Linux installed as a second operating system if there's space available. Some claim that Mint Linux more friendly for immigrants from Windowsland, but I can't really comment because I haven't tried it.

Please be careful, though. Installation of additional operating systems should only be done after Windows has been freshly installed or reinstalled, and all important files have been safely backed up. Remember, safely backed up. Learn from my mistakes, people.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

CPU in ICU

Will be taking a break from online activities for a while since my PC is in coma. No clear idea of the cause. Wrote this using my friend Zha's HP netbook. Thanks, bro, for the help and for letting me try out a Netbook for the first time.
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