Future crimes – continued

Obviously criminals  (or Crime Inc. according to  M . Goodman) are probably years ahead in exploiting technology for their ventures. These days robbery can be executed without the robbers being there. They may rob banks in New York but they are physically may be in Romania or Russia or Slovenia. And definitely new laws need to be formulated to deal with these criminals and crimes. What is scarier is the ability of the 3D printing technology that  can print almost anything including weaponry and the rise of  synthetic biology (synbiotechnology) that can utilise and manipulate DNA to grow almost anything including drugs. Drug lords may no longer need to acquire land to grow marijuana, coca, or poppy. They can build them in the labs in massive quantities.

Recently it was reported that Paul Weller’s daughter is suing Porsche for being a responsible party to his father’s death in an accident involving his father’s Porsche. Can we sue Google or Microsoft or Facebook or any other app development company if their apps cause damage to us? Goodman says probably not because most of the time we already gave our rights away by agreeing to the lengthy and minutely writtenToS. Pity.

What can we do about all  these cyber  threats? Goodman advocates the need for the world to follow examples of the medical field in countering diseases. We have been taking the cue from the medical jargons in describing the ICT problems. We used words likes virus, anti virus, infection, viral, antidote, attack, health check, system paralysis etc. Unfortunately we do not follow strictly what the medical world do to prevent diseases. From young we were told to wash our hands after going to the toilet, we were educated not to share personal items, we were taught to wear proper clothing for to suit the  environment.  We need to follow the same principles in the IT world. We must make it a habit to clean up our devices, scan before we use new drives, never share our PCs without protection, never share our passwords. All these are basic IT health steps that  we must take, just like when we are trying to prevent diseases.

Companies must also admit that they have been attacked. So that events and solutions can be tracked and reused and others can take precaution. Just like a rape victim not reporting the crime will encourage the perpetrators to be bolder and repeat the crime to other innocent victims.

We need to build machines that are more resilient and minimise monocultures of OS. 90% of the ATM machines are currently still running on Wndows XP. And Windows XP are no longer supported by Microsoft for security vulnerabilities! We need machines that can self heal and isolate problems very quickly. Human bodies were built with excellent self healing properties. The immune system would automatically detect problems and automatically spring into action with various antibodies and the problems would be isolated very quickly. Masyaallah, of course we can never build something Allah has designed for us but we need to think along those lines to build our machines of the future.

Goodman recommended us to take these steps:

Update frequently: We must update our system regularly so that all the necessary patches and fixes are up to date.

Proper passwords: Passwords should be at least 20 characters long and contain a mixture of letters, symbols, caps, and lower case and should be change very three months or so. This is a bit difficult, I must admit.

Download only from official sites: All downloads must be done from the official sites not from any other linkages.

Administrators rights should be given with care: The less number of admin the better. It is easier to track any wrongdoings if the number of admin is small.Too many cooks definitely will spoil the soup.

Turn off your device when not using it: We are all guilty of this, yours truly especially. More so with devices that have cameras attached to them. Crooks can easily hijack your devices and records whatever you do without you even knowing it.

Encrypt your digital life: All important files should be encrypted before being saved or transported in the cyber space. Quite tedious thing to do. May not be practical but if we consistently do it it would be second nature.

Finally, Goodman remind us that, 85% of all cyber breaches are due to human errors and follies. Our carelessness actually the main cause of our problems. Not unlike the crimes in the real world.


Are we running on the spot?

It was very heartening reading the interview with The Bank Negara Governor. It was quite reassuring when she kept saying our fundamentals are still very strong and we are nowhere near the crisis in 1997-1998. She also said the ringgit was not the only currency being hit, there are 120 other countries also face with depreciating currency, but why is the ringgit is among the worst hit? So much so people is calling it “shringgit” now.In 1997/98 TDM accused George Soros, the money speculator was attacking our currency, but what about now? We cannot say it was Soros again or DSAI again.  I think by now every body knows that the economic slow down was due to falling oil prices, plummeting commodity prices, slowing of China economy, strengthening of the USD and internal domestic instability. Not being an economist, I really do not understand why improving US economy will depress ours? The whole point Governor Zeti was saying despite all the talks about economic crisis, Malaysia is still registering 4-5% growth, albeit a bit smaller than the projected 6%. Compared that to 1998 when our economy shrunk, we are still doing well. It is important that we make the necessary adjustment to weather the storm as we did in 2008. She did not really spell out the sort of adjusment that we have to do. I reckon, the bevvy of economic advisers to the government would be able to help us to make the so called adjustments.  But the gloom and doom sayers are already spreading depressing stories about company retrenching workers, company downsizing, or even closing down and even as Government servant we were told to be prudent. Not that we were extravagant all these while, with all the procedures and SOPs in place, but we really have to scrimp this year. But I still cannot quite figure out why our ringgit is among the worst hit. It was 4.21 to the USD, 4.81 to the EURO, 6.57 to the UK pound and 3.02 to the SD yesterday. Those were the rates from Bank Negara on Friday.

I am just worried that many of our ICT projects would be scaled down in terms of funding but not in terms of scope and expectation. That would render the project a lame duck right from the start.The Smart School Project was a classic example. Faced with economic slow down in 1998-1999, the fund to the project was scaled down but still implemented with full expectation. We had difficulties to fit in the objectives with the budget constraints. As a result, many things weren’t implemented as in the Blueprint even though there were supposed to be the part of the solution. But the public were not told that the project had to be scaled down and they still think it was the full blown Blueprint was being implemented. When the economy recovered (we were always told that we were facing recession but we were not quite informed when we had recovered), we embarked on a new project because we deemed the below budget project a failure and not worth continuing. We blamed the failure on poor governance and execution. very little attention were given to the amount  funding that has been reduced without reduction in scope, expectation and objectives in implementing the project. It was partly our fault, we did not explain to the powers that be on the implications of budget cuts to the project. We did not quite explain the need to cut down on scope and objectives. Our management of expectation was poor. We just gritted our teeth and implemented the project huffing and puffing. I think we need a lesson on how to manage limited resources to the optimum. So the vicious cycle continues. We embark on ambitious new project, we underfund the the project for some reasons, the project did not meet the objectives, we ditched the project and we start a new one. My friend was saying this is akin to running on the spot. We hardly made any progress. And there was this new findings recently reported that  ICT project in schools were overly rated, their successes were not that significant in improving the students’ grade. Larry Cuban had been saying this for years actually. Here we go again… students’ grade. We conveniently forget our philosophy in education is to realise the overall students potential. Their academic grades is only a small portion of the whole being of the students. And we conveniently forget what the Trust schools have achieved.

Future Crimes

Recently Akamai Technology exhibition booth handed me a book by Marc Goodman entitled Future Crimes. I have been reading it up till chapter five, and it really scares me. It really live up to the the claim by the writer, after reading this book you’ll never look at hand phone, netbook, smart Tv, cable Tv, wired PC or any other electronic gadget in the same light again. Chew on  these stats for a start:

In 2014, every minute of the day, we:

  • sent 204,166,667 emails
  • queried Uncle Google engine 2 million times
  • shared 684,000 pieces of content on Facebook
  • sent out 100,000 tweets on Twitter
  • downloaded 47,000 apps from Apple App Store
  • uploaded about 48 hours of new video on Youtube
  • posted 36,000 new photos on Instagram
  • texted 34 million messages on WhatsApp

And…Facebook admitted that  at least 600,000 accounts were compromised every day. With all data collected and stored on line, there is no way we can guarantee its security despite the guarantee provided by various apps companies. Goodman said The more data you produce and store, the more organized crime is happy to consume. This is similar to the Moores Law.

When we register to use the various Apps like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp or Telegram, we happily and readily agree to the Terms of Service set by the companies. These ToS often written in tiny font size, leaded with half point spacing, with humongous wordy legal jargon designed to deter even seasoned lawyers to read them. Facebook ToS has 9,300 words in 2014 and it is growing. PayPal has the longest at 32,275 words – that is longer than Shakespeare’s Hamlet at 32,066 words.

These ToS mean they an take your data and use them for their own commercials interests. Goodman said by signing these ToS we are actually providing these companies with unending invaluable data that can be sold for lots and lots of money. We are actully working for them for free. By dutifully updating our status, biography, geographical locations, posting photographs, we are  In fact becoming the largest unpaid workforce in world history! The companies are making tons and tons of money from our data. Google’s revenue in 2013 was 59 billion USD and you just get a free search and several Gbs of emails! To illustrate how gullible or ignorant people can be regarding this ToS, a British retailer GameStation ran a little experiment in 2010. The company amended ToS ran something like this:

By placing on order via this GameStation site on the first day of the fourth month of 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should we wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul , and any claim you may have on it, within five (5) working days of receiving written notification from gamestation.co.uk or one of its duly authorised minions.

Mind you, 7,500 people fell for this ridiculous terms. 7,500 were unwittingly willing to surrender their mortal souls to Gamestaion!

Courts around the world have found that agreement done by clicking ToS is legally binding. Another interesting point, had JK Rowling written Harry Potter in Google Doc rather than MS Word, she would have to battle it out in court to claim rights of her works and the rights for all the films adaptations. She might not be the billionaire that she is now. Had she written those novels in Google Doc, the ToS would have granted Google the rights to the documents. That is  real food for thought. Many of our documents now are written in Google Doc so that we can work concurrently on line with others on the same document.

What is scarier is the use of technology in crimes. When the Lashkar-e-Taiba bombed Mumbai in 2008, they were using real time data provide by satellite phone to plot their moves and check on police movements to capture them. The bombers use the technology available to maintain tactical edge over the police and even to the point of identifying their victims.

I’ll keep you posted on further reading.

Good in English = Good Education system?

I must admire the stamina of the various groups that have putting on a lot of pressure on the Ministry of Education to switch to English medium schools. There are a lot of letters written to the media, The arguments put forward  is quite simple and is not necessarily correct. A nation proficient in English is a  prosperous, strong, innovative and progressive nation. That is basically the point they are pushing. Never mind what happen in Korea, Norway, Germany, Sweden, Japan, France, or China. Never mind what happen to Philippines or Kenya. They are saying that Malaysia is regressing ever since the medium of instruction in schools switched to Bahasa Melayu in the late 70s. Lets look at the facts. I am the generation that were taught in the transition between full English medium and full BM. We were the half way generation. I reckon that was soft landing strategy back then to soften the impact of switching from English to BM. When 1 left school in 1977, the new gen were already fully converted to BM. Assuming my history is correct, a 13-year old in 1978 is the first batch of fully BM generation. By 1982 they would have been in Form 5 and assuming that they  took five years to complete their degree, in 1988 they would have been graduated at the age of 23. Today, in 2015, 26 years later, they would have been in their late forties or early fifties. Basically we are saying most of our top managers in the country who are mainly in their early fifties are bereft of good education. They were the victims of bad education system. You are telling me people like Tengku Zafrul Aziz (42), Tony Pua (43), Arul Kandasamy, Rafizi Ramly (37), Ahmad Maslan (49), Nur Amalina (24), Dr Faiz Khaleed (34), Dr Sheikh Muszaphar and scores of other prominent Malaysians that went through education in this country since late 70s were incapable of propelling this Malaysia to greatness because they were schooled in BM schools? No doubt most of these people furthered their educa English.They are not burying their head in the sands. Switching code of instructions to English is a simplistic view of the solution.

How much lower can we go?

Remember this date. 3rd September 2015. That was the day Malaysia established a record of sorts. That was the day when we descended to the lowest ebb. That was the day we sunk to the real pit. That was the day our Malaysian Tigers lost 10-0 to UAE in Abu Dhabi. Dollah Salleh, the coach in charge quickly tender his resignation. Rightly so I believe. In fact the whole of FAM should resign en bloc. It was a debacle to say the least. The last time Malaysia got a hiding within that measure was almost 50 years ago when were beaten 8-2 by New Zealand. TMJ, the de facto boss for JDT,  pointed out that Malaysia should get a foreign coach. He said Johore is willing to foot the bill. On some conditions of course. Every state FA should have an academy to  nurture young talents. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I did not see that match, but going by the recent performance against Timor Leste, Palestine, and Bangladesh, our team had clearly lost the passion. It was agonising to watch them play. The Sunday Star reported that, Gareth Bale played like a man possessed when he played for Wales, and we did not expect him to play like that for Wales since he is being paid by Real Madrid. He wears the red dragon with real fire. I expect our tigers to be like that as well, but they have become a bunch of tired zoo tigers. Some state FAs even refused to allow their players to play for Malaysia. What patriotism.


KORKorea Republic574(573.66)



UAEUnited Arab Emirates484(483.58)



CHNChina PR393(393.34)


KSASaudi Arabia350(349.54)







PRKKorea DPR237(237.15)240-2138.76138.760.000.00123.7037.11306.3961.28127KUWKuwait235(235.14)237-1100.38100.38130.4365.22120.8636.26166.4133.28130AFGAfghanistan226(225.58)212497.7597.7598.5749.28202.1060.6389.6117.92133LIBLebanon219(219.40)223-370.6670.66115.7557.87150.8545.25228.1045.62137THAThailand201(201.23)1972134.25134.2515.827.91107.3032.19134.3826.88146GUMGuam182(181.76)1850129.63129.6364.2532.1349.4514.8425.805.16149TKMTurkmenistan172(172.04)172067.5867.5864.5032.25121.2636.38179.1735.83151HKGHong Kong169(169.04)1680104.55104.5525.8012.90118.7335.6279.8615.97152VIEVietnam166(166.29)166177.8677.86121.2660.6346.9114.0768.6313.73155KGZKyrgyzstan160(159.82)160163.7563.7563.6531.83214.1564.240.000.00155INDIndia160(159.61)160185.0085.0056.8828.44110.5733.1764.9813.00157SINSingapore159(159.45)162-291.2591.2578.2139.1073.6422.0935.067.01158TJKTajikistan155(154.69)159055.4255.4265.7532.87177.5953.2865.5813.12162MYAMyanmar142(141.99)142080.2380.2364.5032.2598.3729.510.000.00163TLSTimor-Leste130(130.44)1300114.96114.960.000.0051.6015.480.000.00164BHUBhutan128(127.50)1280127.50127.500.




TPEChinese Taipei72(72.11)72040.3340.3330.4415.2232.259.6834.406.88180CAMCambodia66(66.05)66066.0566.

BRUBrunei Darussalam61(61.02)61145.5445.540.000.0051.6015.480.000.00184SRISri Lanka59(58.66)62-28.508.5051.3025.6564.5019.3525.805.16185




I still cannot believe at 169, we are lower in FIFA ranking than Timor Leste, Palestine, Burkina Faso, Belize, Surinam, Bhutan, Liechstenstein, Afghanistan,or even Curacao (where is this?)! Only Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia and Brunei are lower than us in ASEAN. If you had not noticed,the Philippines is at 125. How they had improved our the years.Of course it is not good to reminisce about the good old days but than those were the days when we could easily overcome team likes Vietnam, Hong Kong, India, Philippines and even Indonesia. I am sure FAM is aware of this, but they seemed to be helpless. Santokh Singh, said, when we lost 4-1 to Kuwait in 1981, the paper reported that it was a debacle, but now 10-0, it must be a national disaster! Soh Chin said the news is worse than the depreciating ringgit.

To be fair to DOLLAH SALLEH, The raw materials that come to be the national team are bad. Naturally the product is bad. We are expecting a miracle to happen but miracle rarely happens in real life. I do not think a foreign coach could do much. Unless we give him a free hand. Unfortunately our national sporting bodies are penchant for interference. Many coaches had run off mid way. Remember Peter Butler, Frank Lord, Jean Claude, Hatem Sousi, Alan Harris, Karl Weigang (who had several partly successful spells). I just hope that, TMJ do not hire that Erickson guy!

Speaking of sporting greats, I think Nicol David should quit now while she is still at the top. She lost her no 1 ranking this week and hoping to regain it by winning the China open, but she was beaten in the quarter final. She just won one title this year. She do not have anything to prove anymore. Being number one for quite a record number of years is proof enough of her capability. Pls retire while your at the top rather suffering from losses later and losing the sheen of your squash career. No doubt she is still good but age is catching up with her. It is a classic case of the mind is willing but the body is not. I say the same to Lee Chong Wei, Retire now and keep your winning records and reputation intact.

Naturalised the foreign footballers

Going by the performance of the hotch potch Malaysian national team that took on Liverpool on Friday, the call made in the New Sunday Times today for Malaysia to award Malaysian citizenship to foreign footballers is quite logical. After all many counties have done it in sports. Singapore has done it years ago, Philippines has done it, even England has done it. Of course Malaysia has done it in other sports. Remember Irina Maharani and Mohamad Hidayat?

In the match, Dollah Salleh fielded five non Malaysians and they played a crucial role in securing the 1-1 draw. Patrick Wleh repaid the faith with that well taken opening goal and Bikana saved Malaysia so often that I wonder what would have been the score had the defence manned by the likes of the Razak twin brothers or Mahali Jasuli.

If having naturalised footballers would mean a better performance by the national team, why not? With our ranking now lower than Timor Leste and getting whipped 6-0 by Palestine, how much lower can we go?

it was really heartening to see minnows like Panama and Jamaica did well in the current CONCACAF Gold Cup. Panama did so well to get into the semi final and got beaten by Mexico only by a dubious referee decision. Still they won the bronze by beating the more glamorous USA. I am rooting for Jamaica for tomorrow morning final. If only Malaysia can play like the Panamaians….. Maybe we should get TMJ to helm the FAM.

Eidul Fitri in Sarawak, 1436

I have been spending quite a number Hari Raya festivities over the years. I have been returning to Kuching for eidul fitr since the eighties. Over the past week, I was in Kuching again for this year’s Eidul Fitr celebrations. A number things of really caught my eyes this year.

1. The cost of living in Kuching is no longer more expensive than KL. It used to be in the old days where most things were  more expensive. I do not know about other things but some routine items that I bought were definitely a lot cheaper in Kuching. A kilo of banana at the Satok market costs only RM2.99 as compared to RM4.99 or even RM5.99 in Chow Kit market. More remarkably it was “pisang emas” which is more expensive and quite difficult to find in KL these days as the banana plantations throughout he peninsular were ravaged by diseases. Ten stalks of serai costs only RM1.00 and five stalks of bunga kantan costs RM2.00. One kilo of  siakap fresh from the Telaga Air jetty costs RM25.00

There is only one road in Kuching that traffic has to pay toll and you have several other choices if you do not want to pay the toll. The Demak- Pending road is the only road in Kuching that charged toll. On top of that, there is always the “penambang” that you can take to transport you across the Sarawak River in no time for RM1.00 one way.

The parking charges is only 20 sen per half an hour. I forgot to top up the parking coupon on three occasions and for that I was fined a total of……RM6.40. That would not be enough to cover half an hour parking in the Jalan TAR or in most of the KL city malls. Even more “ridiculous”  is the airport parking charges – RM1.00 per hour! And do you know that The Sunday STAR in Kuching is only RM1.20, that is 30 sen cheaper than in the peninsular. We had to take ferry to cross the Sampadi River in Sampadi on our way from Matang to Lundu, the ferry charges is only one ringgit. I believe the Government (either the state or Federal) should have built the bridge. It is just a seven minute crossing and I do not think the bridge would cost that many millions to build. I am sure they can sourced the funds somewhere. Well that is another story.

On board the ferry to Sampadi/Lundu
On board the ferry to Sampadi/Lundu

I do not think Kuching folks realised that they had it so good.

2. There is a Perodua in almost every household in Kuching. Little wonder why Perodua has overtaken Proton by leaps and bounds in total industry volume (TIV) statistics. As you drive along Jalan Astana or Jalan Semariang or any lanes in the many villages on the fringes of Kuching, you invariably can see either a Viva, Kancil, Kelisa or Axia on the driveways. Sparingly you would see other makes. Mostly Protons though.

3. While the baju Melayu is still the garbs of choice, the “jubah” is making headway.I see more men wearing the jubah this year as compared to previous years. The same goes for the ladies, more are wearing jubah compared to the traditional baju kurung. Is Sarawak  fortress of Baju Melayu during the Eidul Fitr period is crumbling? Or maybe the jubah is just a passing trend that is not going to threaten the enduring Baju Melayu. But I must admit that I really admire their tenacity in preserving the Baju Melayu, especially among the youths. You can see them wearing the national dress everywhere even when they are doing their pacak stunts, in the cinemas, dating at the waterfront, or racing illegally in their modified kapcais.


4. Sarawak needs a better planning and promotions of their vacations spots.

I was in Telaga Air on Thursday. A little fishing village that has seen a few attempts to be developed as a tourists destination. Credit must be given to the Government for building a beautiful water front promenade cum jetty in Telaga Air. I heard the place is haven for anglers. But on Thursday, they were only a few tourists. Most of the shops were closed. By the look of it, they have closed down for good. The small enterprises business centre was dilapidated. The fresh fish market has only three stalls opened. Lucky that I stopped by, there were a treasure trove of fresh jenahak, kerapu, siakap, terubok, bawal hitam, bawal putih, puput etc. And the prices were reasonable too.

5.  There is a new road from Semariang to Rambungan, the final portion just completed before the Eid. Part of the road was a dual lane carriageway on both sides. But such a big road leads to nowhere. At the end,  the road looped back to Samariang – what an expensive U – turn. The road was supposed to take us to Rambungan and Sampadi but after the Matang/politeknik junction there is only a small hand painted sign pointing to the road leading to the Sampadi ferry terminal. It was the same in many other places, the signs are either missing or have faded beyond legibility. This part of Sarawak has many attractive places that is not quite known to outsiders. Most tourists would flocked to Damai/Santubong/Bako area, but the Telaga Air, Pulau Sibu, Sematan and Pandan area are equally attractive. I hope the new CM, who incidentally represents the area would do something about it.

6. In the those days, carbonated drinks, were commonly served to visitors during the Hari Raya celebrations. Families would stock crates and crates of F&N, Yeos or Sundrop of various flavours. Serving cordials would be frowned upon, let alone hot drinks. On my first Hari Raya in Kuching, I had consumed probably five or six litres of concoction of orange, apple, grape, ice cream soda, fruitade or whatever flavour of the drinks served on the first day. No wonder I had diarrohea that night. Over the years things have changed a bit. more and more open houses are serving cordials, iced water or even tea or coffee.

Enjoying coconut juice at Pandan Beach, Lundu
Enjoying coconut juice at Pandan Beach, Lundu