Sunday, July 26, 2009

New 50 ringgit note

Today at an ATM in Taiping, I was shocked when the machine dispenses out a different design of 50 ringgit notes. I wonder whether they were fake because there was no golden jubilee celebration logo (commemorating Malaysia's 50th Anniversary of Independence) on the reverse side of the notes. After successfully depositing the new notes into an ATM, I have no more hard time believing that they are real.

Obverse side (Release on January 2008)

Reverse side (Release on January 2008). Take note that the golden jubilee celebration logo is placed on the top right (This logo is no longer available in the new release)

I heard about the release somewhere last year and have seen the design of the fourth series in Wikipedia however I wasn't aware with the fresh new design which was released recently. I think the new design is interesting.

This is the press statement from Central Bank of Malaysia:

Bank Negara Malaysia Issues New Design RM50 Banknote

Bank Negara Malaysia today announces the issuance of the new design RM50 banknote from 15 July 2009. This new design of RM50 banknote is the first denomination of the Fourth Series of Malaysian currency notes which will be replacing the existing series in stages.

The earlier new design of RM50 banknote was issued in December 2007 to commemorate Malaysia's 50th Anniversary of Independence. This current series will no longer have the logo of the country's golden jubilee celebrations and will have, enhanced security features.

Source: Bank Negara Malaysia

When transboundary haze hazing our way...

Haze in Malaysia is now an annual phenomenon. Malaysia no doubt is a new industrialized nation but factories and vehicles alone are not sufficient to generate the smokey haze. Satellite images from NASA confirm the occurrence of burning forest in many locations in Sumatra Indonesia. So it is a transboundary issue.

NASA’s earth observatory reports on the seasonal fires currently burning the forests of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. In the image above you can see hot spots detected using the infra-red heat emissions of the flames

Many entities blame individual farmers and commercial timber and plantation companies for causing the haze, rendering the search for the culprits or so-called fire starters. But the common question who starts the fire never solve this yearly problem. My question is what happened to the Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution signed by ASEAN countries in 2002? We Malaysians suffer more than any other ASEAN members. How many years more should we wait before this problem solve?

The smokey forest of Riau, Indonesia (Source: Greenpeace)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Interesting polyglots...

I always admire those who speak more than four languages with high degree of proficiency. To me these people are amazing. I observed many European sport celebrities speak easily three-four languages. For instance, Roger Federer speaks German (mother tongue), English and French with high level of proficiency. Novak Djokovic speaks Serbian (mother tongue), English and Italian fluently and quite good German. Siblings Marat Safin and Dinara Safina speak Russian (mother tongue), Spanish and English. The question is how do they do it?

At the moment, apart from Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, I admire Luca (Italian), Stuart Jay Raj (Australian) and Abou Jad (American) for being multilingual. No hard time believing, just watch these videos:

Luca speaks fluently eight languages (Italian, English, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Swedish and Russian)

Stuart Jay speaks fluently English, Thai, Indonesian and Mandarin. He also speaks a few European languages and not least sign language

Abou Jad speaks four languages (English, Spanish, French and Lebanese Arabic)

I hope one day I can be like them. Currently I speak Malay (mother tongue) and English quite fluently. I also speak Jordanian-Palestinian Arabic and Bengali (Bangla language) but with low degree of proficiency. I used to learn French and Spanish in the end of 1990s but never practice (sadly). I hope to see improvement in my Arabic by the end of this year. I hope by Allah will I can. InshaAllah...