Friday, April 30, 2010

PR never learns...

Wtf? Pakatan Rakyat never learns??

Stop blaming the "buy-election", start thinking of how to win a "buy-election" i.e. accept that vote buying happens, but think how PR's gonna outsmart BN in this aspect. Obviously, PR cannot "outbuy" BN.

Next big thing for Pakatan to worry...

More prediction on Malaysian politics...

When Samy Velu quits MIC, a significant portion of votes will go back to BN. Although this seems impossible now, I'm betting that Najib will force Sammy to quit just a few months prior to the next general election. Pakatan MUST think ahead and counter this threat before it happens!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The love-hate letter to Pakatan Rakyat

"Vote for change", "Give us a chance", "We have changed". Before the 308 political tsunami, I would have not believe these are the words BN is telling us, the rakyat. Yet it is true, these slogans seems synonymous with BN in recent days. But it was Pakatan who had first talk about "change" that helped created the political tsunami in the last general election. BN hijacked Pakatan's idea, disguised it as 1Malaysia and turned it around into a weapon against Pakatan. No doubt that the millions spent on APCO is at work here, and working so well - money well spent!

Pakatan needs to react, especially in the face of the recent defeat at Hulu Selangor. Stop giving excuses. What was so appalling during this by-election was not the "dirty tricks" by BN but that Pakatan seems to be scrambling all over the place trying to react to a well-coordinated attack by BN. Pakatan was throwing arguments all over the place without a central theme. Meanwhile, BN had all their arguments well connected and channelled through the same theme - "we've changed" and "1Malaysia". Pakatan still reacts ONLY as an opposition party and resort to attacking BN on corruption which plays in very well with BN's theme that they are now a "changed person". Furthermore, Pakatan's campaign is lacking in giving rakyat a clear vision of Malaysia under its rule. This is well echoed by my friend, Onion, here which she asks "Where is PR leading us to?". People want Malaysia to be more than just free of corruption, people want a vision for Malaysia!

On the eve of the by-election, I was fueled with this anger that I wanted to write this love-hate letter to PR. How could they have not seen this coming? I wanted to write a hate letter to Pakatan for its growing failure to counter the BN's campaign of "we've changed" and "give us a chance". I wanted to write this letter to Tony Pua of DAP and cc my DAP friends, which include Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching. However, I chickened out the last minute. They are so many brilliant politicians in Pakatan that I refuse to believe that they have not thought of what I wrote below. Still, I'm itching to publish my love-hate letter. So, here it is below, the email that never got out. My love-hate letter to Pakatan Rakyat.

Re: Some suggestions for organising arguments during election campaigns

Dear Tony,

Sorry for the rather lengthy email, but do bear with me.

I am a Pakatan supporter. I am following closely the recent by-election in Hulu Selangor. Since at the moment I am in the UK, I am only following this by-election by comparing news report from, Malaysia-today, Malaysiakini, MerdekaReview and MalaysiaInsider. From what I read, I was disappointed by the campaigning efforts done by the Pakatan in this by-election. It wasn't because the lack of organization of talks and banners. That, I believe you'd know much more than me. But the organisation of arguments to counter BN's accusations and campaigning was really mediocre at best. It wasn't because there was a lack of brawn, but I reckon it was the lack of brain. To be more specific, the overall impression of Pakatan in this by-election was that it lacked focus and that every argument Pakatan had thought of, BN was up for it.

I might be a bit naive, and might not have interpreted the actual situation correctly since I'm only following the by-election remotely. But I'd like to present some of my ideas on how Pakatan should "arrange" their arguments in an election campaign, in which if you think what I said is useful then use it. Otherwise, just ignore. After all, I am only trying to help and what I might said might have already been done.

I was trained as a debater for many years and then coached for many more. So what I say here, will definitely resonant with the people which I have put in the cc list (Teo Nie Ching, Serdang MP; Chow Yu Hui, DAP strongman in Bentong; and Snowpiano) whom you know and whom I have worked with countless time over many national and international debate competitions. And as I said, I'm fully aware that the real "war" out there can be vastly different from a debate competition. Still, I think there are similarities. Here, I list down 4 important elements and I hope it could be of use:

1. A central theme
In the weeks before US declared war on Iraq, the American President, Secretary of state and all other members of the White house always begin and end their speech with "let there be no doubt..." to tell the audience there was no doubt about the threat of Iraq's WMD. This is an example of using a central theme. In a debate competition, we speak for almost an hour. In a by-election, the candidates speak for even longer. But the audience have very limited memory. For countless and countless of minutes, the audience will only remember, at most 1-3 sentence. What this 1-3 sentence that the audience take back from the ceramah is important. And if we emphasize too many things, focus will be lost. This 1-3 sentence that will remain in the audience mind long after the ceramah ends is our central theme, this is where arguments stem out from and eventually get channelled back into.

In the recent by-election, Pakatan seems to be saying a lot. Yet, it is difficult to identify what is the point-of-the-day. If I would want to pin-point one, it would be that BN is corrupted. This theme is fine and had work in the past. However, the theme by itself must be able to anticipate and counter whatever BN's rebuttal could be. BN has been saying this for a long time now, "We're changing under the new leadership. We're more open and less corrupted. We're changing." Therefore, by saying that BN is corrupted is only playing into BN's game because they would just say, "yes, maybe we are corrupted in the past, but that is changing under Najib's rule".

Pakatan needs a stronger theme. E.g. "Corruption before, during and after...". This would place Pakatan in a more comfortable position to defend against BN's banner like "Kita mampu berubah" because a lot of the corruption actually happened after Najib took over or when Najib was the M.O.D. Yes, it could be true that even without such a theme, Pakatan would be able to counter BN's call that they have changed. But the essence of the point here is that the audience have short-term memories and cannot remember everything everyone had said. At the end of the day, they just remember the themes from BN and Pakatan. If BN's is "we can change, we have changed", while Pakatan's is "They are corrupted", the audience may be just swayed into giving BN a chance.

Another feature of a good theme is that it must be on the attack, not on the defence. For example, by saying that "Pakatan is for justice" is on the defence. Why? Because this slogan is open for BN MPs to open their salvo and slander all they want during their ceramah to say that Pakatan is not really for justice but are really for ...something else. But if we can have a slogan such as "We vote for more than just money" would then, I believe, put BN on the defence. The former allows ample space for BN to redefine 'justice' into something that fit into their model, whereas in the latter case BN is forced into explaining what they are doing is more than just about money. There's a lot which we could say from this slogan, e.g. "BN is only for money", "development and making ppl rich is important, but not through corrupted means", "money is important, but with BN money is only with the cronies", etc. This slogan would reminiscent with "a corrupted BN" yet at the same time say that Pakatan is also for development, but much more...

With a good central theme and slogan, we could channel all our individual arguments against BN into one unified "big argument". Whether, it is the VK Lingam case, the submarine that doesn't submerge, or PKFZ scandal, etc. Obviously, with more brain-storming, better themes and slogans can emerged. The important thing I want to emphasize here is that there must a be a central theme that links all the smaller issues mentioned in all the ceramahs, otherwise they become lost in a goo of arguments. And that this central theme, must not only be representative of what Pakatan fights for, but must also counter what BN would try to represent.

Lastly, but not the least, themes used by Pakatan had always been about portraying BN as corrupted. But it has never been about the vision of what Malaysia would be with Pakatan's rule. It's time for Pakatan to stop campaigning as merely opposition, but also as a viable government that would bring Malaysia to greater heights. What would Malaysia look like if Pakatan takes over Putrajaya? Obviously, by declaring that it will be a "Fair and Just Malaysia" will not be sufficient. It's a bit too cliche! I admit it's not easy to come out with such a very good slogan and I admit that 1Malaysia is a pretty darn good slogan that connects with every race and every issue that Malaysians face. So Pakatan should think of something better, maybe something like "More than just development for Malaysia" to reiterate that Pakatan will not only bring developement, but much more than that, i.e. for all people and through proper means. My fellow friend, Onion, had write something similar about this here (this last paragraph was added in after the by-election).

2. Do not try to portray Pakatan as perfect angel, and BN as a perfect devil.
Leave some space for both Pakatan and BN. Praise BN occasionally and condemn Pakatan occasionally. It is more convincing playing to be imperfect.

Pakatan always try to be perfect in the eyes of the audience, whereas sometimes it is better just to admit some of the accusations that BN hurled at Pakatan. E.g. Pakatan have disagreements, but at least Pakatan say it out in the open and agree to what we disagree. And yet, Pakatan still have many more in common.

Pakatan may not have made every poor soul in Selangor to be rich in 2 years, so obviously someone may feel that the Selangor govt. had not do anything. But Pakatan govt. is doing that bit by bit in this 2 years. Pakatan had definitely done more to many ppl in the past 2 years than what BN had for 50 years.

BN is not all evil, they did build a few Chinese schools. but they demolished more. BN did help some poor Malays, but help their own cronies even more. For every MYR 1.00 to the poor, MYR1,000,000.00 goes to the crony.

Also praise that not everyone in BN is an evil. There are some good people, but there are too little and insignificant that when it comes to big decision, they don't matter. Conversely, they are still some rotten tomatoes in Pakatan but there are insignificant and when it comes to the big decision, the highest leaders always agree to the right decisions. Besides, these rotten tomatoes are jumping ship to the other side of aisle, rejoining the original rotten tomatoes.

This is a bit like Tai-Chi. You take the negative energy hurled at you by your opponents and turn them around into a positive energy.

3. Help the audience differentiate fact from fiction
Whether or not Malaysia is a Muslim state, is being debated. But BN govt gave away gambling and liquour license is a fact.

Whether Anwar 'liwat' Saiful or not, is still under trial. But Chua Soi Lek's rock hard evidence of affair and oral sex is not even charged.

Tell the audience, maybe there are somethings that cannot be proven at the end of the day even with all the cirumstantial evidence.But those that have been proven with clear cut evidence, all points to BN as being evil, yet nothing has been done. Draw parallels between accusation from BN which in most cases are yet to be proven with the accusation with PR where it has been proven beyond doubt.

Tell the audience it's ok if you do not believe everything I said, but at least there are some evidence that prove BN's corruption are beyond any doubt. Agree with the audience that no matter how much we try to defend Anwar's case, BN will have something new to say. At the end of the day, there may still be some doubts. But Chua Soi Lek 's involvement in an affair and oral sex was proven beyond doubt. Absolutely no room for doubts on that, and yet he was getting off scot free? This is, in a certain degree, playing as I mentioned in (2) i.e. playing to be imperfect.

4. Anticipation
We can never anticipate 100% what BN would say. But we could safely anticipate most of their main arguments. Our campaign must be such that we force BN into a corner, into saying only the things we want and nothing more than that.

We must speak on their behalf before they do. For example, they are likely to attack Pakatan saying that Pakatan is in a mess - each party has different ideology, MPs are leaving and they are bickering in the public. But Pakatan could say that, "yes we have disagreements. but we voice them out in open, and agree to what we disagree. Even so, we have far more agreements than disagreements. This in contrast with a "hand-kissing" Kamalanathan that says "botol" to every single UMNO request. In order to force them into a corner, these "anticipations" have to be said before they actually occured, i.e. Pakatan must be brave enough to say "yes we have disagreements, but ..." before UMNO starts firing at Pakatan saying, "they always have disagreement". It is only through this way that we may force UMNO into a position we want them to.

To be fair, Pakatan has been doing most of this all this while. But I am not sure whether it is being done in a conscious way or unconscious way. Even so, I think the message can be clearer e.g. there is usually very little emphasis on playing imperfect. (point no.2). If I were the lead campaigner for Pakatan in H.S., I would judge myself whether the rakyat had received the following messages in a very clear and loud manner:

1. Vote for more than just development.

2. 50 years on and every 4 years they still ask for a chance? Why believe when they've been lying for so many years?

3. Support Malay rights - but Malay rights through corruption and dirty means? No thanks.

4. We have disagreements and we believe that this is better than kissing hand and kowtow to the "Big Brother UMNO".

Best regards,
Chin, Shin Liang

I end this post with a powerful speech about 尊严 from DSAI.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sometimes I hate to be right...

We've all seen it coming...

Somehow I hope I was wrong...but I wasn't...

Good luck to Malaysians...this will be the beginning of the will be gradual, but's PERKASA land by 2030.

My prediction for Hulu Selangor's by-election...

My prediction for tomorrow's by-election...

BN will win with more than 1000 votes and tomorrow will mark the beginning of the new kind of 20-year-Mahathirism. Not so bad...if you are a Malay

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

World Cup - England

England better win the World Cup this year.

I just supported their cause with this GBP38 T-shirt. >.<
(I think should have chose a better background for this picture... )

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Why is UK boring?

You want to know why UK is boring?

This banner, located at the BIGGEST mall in Cambridge city center says it all...

8pm is considered LATE.

Worst case scenario for love-seeking men

It took him 2 years to realise that the current one is not the right one.
It took him 5 years to realise that the first one is the right one.
It took him his entire life to realise that all of the above is wrong.

Vote for change?

At the Tory booth.

I just watched the first ever British live debate among the British PM candidates. It was disappointing. It was nothing like the US Presidential debate.

It was more like a Q&A session. Yet, neither of them answered the question directly, e.g. when asked about how to improve the economy all of them started to take turns in throwing slogans like "fair", "reducing deficit", "cut tax", etc. But why is one better than the other? Why is it fair? How can it be fairer? Why tax cut works better than tax increments? Nothing said.

They kept on harping on what they will do without providing a concrete solution, e.g. on the immigrant issue G. Brown says that he introduced the point system and D. Cameron said that he wants to implement a cap. But the immigrant problem in the UK has, in my humble opinion, very little do with the immigration policy. It has nothing to do with the immigrants. It is because the UK skilled work force is in a decline, the education system is failing and UK is attracting the wrong type of people into the country. There are a lot of capable people, all looking to work in UK but very frequent denied entry. Yet, people who are coming to UK without a degree ended up working in restaurants are in abundant.

I would have expected D. Cameron or N. Clegg to say something like, "I have tried to do this and that to improve economy and reduce crime rate as an MP in the Parliament but many of my attempt failed because of opposition from the Labour Government". But nothing like that happened. There was no spark, no humour, no feud.

When it comes to election, nothing beats Malaysia. Back at home, Hulu Selangor is having an election too. Somehow I have got a bad feeling that the people would vote for "change" (Pakatan held the seat until the death of the MP a month ago) and Pakatan will lose this battle that they could not afford to.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Talking makes Islam less equal?

"Jangan cabar Islam!"
"Jangan cabar toleransi kami!"
They do not agree to setting up of the inter-faith committee.
They do not believe they need to talk to other religions.
They believe that the way Islam can be great is for the rest to shut up.
They believe that to make the rest to shut up is by making threats.
They believe by talking to other religious leaders, it makes Islam less equal.
They do not believe all religions are meant to be good, and that mankind are equal.
That's who they are.
They call themselves Muslims.

But are they?

If that's what they think Islam is about and they think they are doing Islam a favor, go ahead. Good luck to them during akhirat.

I have not read the Quran and neither do I know too much about Islam. But if Muslims believe that talking to other religious leaders makes Islam less equal, then I'm not a bit interested in this religion.

But this is not Islam. It's Islam in Malaysia.

I'm just glad that the Muslims I know are unlike them. They are the pretenders. But yet, their numbers are significant enough in Malaysia to have a political impact. That's what make me sad.


Written after reading that some Muslims in Malaysia staged a protest against the forming of inter-faith committee and our DPM tried to please these people by saying the inter-faith committee is 'small fry'

Monday, April 12, 2010

How to train your dragon

Screw "Clash of the titans"! The Kraken took 20 minutes to rise from the sea and took less than minute for Perseus to finish it off. Hades lasted even shorter. If you want a good Greek mythology with action, you'll be better off playing "God of War 3" on PS3. But if you want to enjoy a good movie this summer, go watch "How to train your dragon". This is just one of the animations that made you wonder if actors would be obsolete in the near future.

(the starting soundtrack - 'this is berk')

From the beginning, the music would have captivated you, a hallmark of a very good movie. The movie soundtrack is AWESOME, and I would highly recommend buying it.

The storytelling was also excellent and the script was very well written. There was no moment of lapse.

The animation was very detailed and unlike some of the animations, the fast-moving scenes are well rendered. The emotions of the character were well animated and these was very well complemented by the excellent voice acting.

The casts include voices by Christopher Mintz-Plasse (who also acted as Red Mist in Kick Ass, another highly recommended movie by me!), America Ferrera (Ugly Betty), Gerald Butler (300, Law Abiding Citizen, Gamer, Bounty Hunter) and my favourite Craig Ferguson (from the Late Late Show). But perhaps, the best voice acting goes to the main character in the movie, Jay Baruchel as Hiccup.

Lines like, "You are not my son!" and "I'm proud of you my son!" may sounds too cliche in animations. But with a good build-up of story, good voice acting coupled with good animation, the lines popped up at exactly where they are suppose to be, triggering the emotions of the audience.

Despite the typical brain vs brawn theme (i.e. brain saves the world and gets the girl), this movie turned out to be a lot of fun. It is definitely worth a watch. It is indeed very rare that animations are able to capture human emotions as well as "How to train your dragon". The other animated motion picture that came close was, to my opinion, "Finding Nemo".

At the rate computer graphics and animations are improving, I can see that somewhere in our future, our grandchildren would be saying, "Haha, my grandpa used to watch movies acted by real person! What a joke!?"

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Theory of relativity

I went back to K.L. for Chinese New Year celebration a few months ago. Over dinner, I was explaining the theory of relativity to my friends and to my utter dismay, I did a terrible job of it. And in the process of doing so, I realised that I did not understand the theory as well as I had hoped. So here I am again, attempting to explain this theory which I failed to do so miserably months ago and I hope this time, I would do a better job.

Motion is relative
We need to first understand that motion is not absolute, but relative. What do we mean by that?

Let me begin by a simple question: If you are standing still, are you moving? This question may sound absurd and to many, the answer is a quick "no". But what if I repeat this question to someone who is observing you from the Sun? The Earth revolves around the Sun, so if you are standing still on Earth, you must be rotating together with Earth about the Sun. So an observer at the Sun will see you as "moving", while an observer on Earth will see you as "standing still".

Let's look at another example. If you are at the train station when a speeding train whizzes past you. To you, it looks rather obvious that the train is moving - moving FORWARD. But to the passenger on the train, it is you who is moving BACKWARD. For the same motion, two different observers see it differently and there is no one single reference frame which we could base all our observations upon and agree! Therefore motion cannot be absolute. It must be relative, i.e. whether an object is moving forward, backward or not moving at all is completely subjective to the observer or the equipments that are measuring it. A motion or measurement of speed has no meaning if we do not attach a point of reference (or observing point) to it!!

Let's say the train is moving at 50 km/h. If the passenger in the train throws an apple vertically into the air, the apple would have landed back onto his hand. But to the person at the train station, it would seem like both the apple and passenger had moved forward in the same speed and thus the apple landed onto the hand of the passenger again when it drops. Now imagine that the passenger now throws the apple in the direction of the moving train at a speed of 10km/h, what would the person at the train station see? He/She would have seen the apple travelling faster than the train! The apple has to be travelling faster than the train in order for the passenger in the train to see the apple going forward. The speed of the apple would SEEM to be travelling at 50+10=60 km/h. In other words, the velocity of the apple is the "sum of the velocity of the train and the velocity of the apple being thrown":

v_sum=v_train + v_apple

v_sum is the velocity of the apple as seen by the person at the train station
v_apple is the velocity of the apple as seen by the passenger on board the train
v_train is the velocity of the train as seen by the person at the train station

If, however, the passenger is now throwing the apple in the backward direction, i.e. in the opposite direction of the travelling train. Then, the person at the train station would see the speed of the apple as "the speed of the train minus the speed of the thrown apple", i.e.

v_sum=v_train - v_apple

Speed of light is constant in vacuum
From the above, it would seem that 'speed' can be added linearly. The above is true for Newtonian physics - physics before theory of relativity. But the observant reader would have noticed that I emphasized the word "seem" to suggest that Newtonian physics is not entirely true, especially when we approach the speed of light. Motion is still relative, but the assumption that "v_sum=v_train + v_apple" no longer holds true! Let us see why.

Center to the theory of relativity is the discovery that the speed of light is constant in vacuum. In the late 19th century, carefully conducted Michelson-Morley experiment had proved this so. But how can this be true if speed can be added linearly, like the apple thrown in the train?

Imagine now that instead of throwing apple, the passenger turns on his/her flashlight and point it in the direction of the moving train. If the observer/person at the train station carries equipment that could measure the speed of light, what would the measurement be? Based on what we have discussed earlier, we would have expect that the speed of light measured by the person at the station is the speed of train plus the speed of light. Just like,

v_sum=v_train + v_apple

with v_apple now representing the speed of light as seen by the passenger.

but if v_apple is the speed of light, then v_sum would have to be greater than the speed of light. But this is NEVER the case! One may argue that perhaps the speed of the train is so small compared to the speed of light that the equipment is not sensitive enough to pick this up. But very careful measurements have been made and every time the speed of light remains constantly the same, whether it is measured by the person at the train station or the passenger in the moving train. This is very peculiar indeed and the assumption that speed can be added linearly must surely be wrong!

The physicists who came upon this experimental result were dumbfounded and they needed to re-visit their fundamental understanding of what 'speed' really means and how measurements are made (did they measure the speed of light wrongly?).

How do we measure distance and time?
There are many ways to measure distance but the basic principles are the same. We measure distance, for example, by using many rods of the same length and lining them up together. If we find the 3 rods lined up exactly along the side of the table, we say that this table is 3-rod long. The common 'rod' that we used is called a meter, so we can claim that the table is 3-meter long. But what if the table is just a little short of the 3 rods? How do we measure the length then? We could, of course, then use shorter rods. That is why we have centimeters, milimeters and inches. They are just 'rods' with different lengths.

Measuring time is a bit more difficult, but again the basic principles are the same. Time can be defined as 'how long it takes for an event to happen'. Now if we can find an event that always take the same amount of time to happen, we can use that as our reference to measure the time for everything else - just like the rod for measuring the distance. The first clock, invented in China, was based on the event of a dripping water. Today, most mechanical clocks measure time based on the event of the ticking of a second.

Special Theory of Relativity: Time and space is relative
From the discussion so far, we know that when we approach the speed of light, things are not always as they seem. For one, speed can no longer be added linearly and that the speed of light is always constant, no matter how you measured it. What does this tell us about time and space?

If the speed of light is always constant, something else must be changing. Speed is defined as the distance travelled divided by the time taken. If speed remains constant, then the distance travelled or the time taken or both must have changed in such a way that the speed of light is always constant. For example, if v = a/b, then v remains constant if a and b increase or decrease by the same amount. It turns out, after some mathematical considerations (called Lorentz transformation), that both the time and distance must have changed. This suggests that not only motion is relative, but time and space must also be relative (note that space is just length in 3-dimension)!

Even without the mathematics, but just logic considerations, we would have came to a similar conclusion. Let's now go back to the example of measuring light speed on the train. The passenger on board the train, travelling at the speed of the train, shines his/her torch light in the direction of the moving train. The person at the station makes a measurement of the speed of the light. According to Newtonian physics, he/she should obtain a speed faster than light in vacuum, but he/she does not. To correct for a smaller value for speed (v = a/b), either the numerator have to be smaller or the denominator have to be bigger or both. The numerator turns out to be the distance (smaller) and the denominator is the time (bigger), and so our measurements for distance and time must have changed accordingly. It must have because space has contracted, and time has dilated (moved slower).

Hence, the theory of relativity predicts that as we approach the light of speed, space contracts and time dilates (move slower), i.e. the measured distance is shorter and the time taken for the measurement is longer (since 'distance' or 'length' in 3-dimension is space).

But the adept reader would have argued that if space contracts for an object that is travelling at the speed of light, would not the rods - which we make measurements with - contract as well. Thus, we would have counted the same amount of rods for the contracted distance. The fallacy of the argument lies in the fact that this reader had failed to see where the measurement is being made. The measurement of the object travelling at the speed of light, is made by the person standing 'still' at the train station, using the rods provided. These rods, are not travelling at the speed of light. They are WITH the person, standing 'still' and therefore do not experience space contraction. So the measurement was made by using rods at still, to measure the distance covered by an object travelling close to the speed of light, which is experiencing space contraction. And the same explanation goes for the time dilation.

We have so far covered the "special" case of theory of relativity. So what this theory say is that not only motion is relative, time and space are also relative. There is no way we can say for absolute, 1 second is 1 second and everyone else agrees. 1 second is different for everyone. 1m is different for everyone. But at speeds much less than light, these differences are OK. There is, however, a bit more to this theory ...

The Twin Paradox
We can claim that A is moving away from B at light speed. But since motion is relative, this is analogous to saying that B is moving away from A at light speed. Remember, the relativity of motion states that there is no way we could know whether A or B is really moving, it only depends on where your reference is.

Consider this: Ali and Wong are twins. One day, Ali sat on an alien spaceship and whizzed off to outer space at light speed. After a certain time Ali came back to Earth, also at light speed, and met his twin brother Wong again. When they compared their watches, they realised that Wong had aged faster than Ali.

Let's consider the problem in detail and see why this is such a tricky problem.

What does Wong see?
1. Ali travelled away at light speed.
2. Since Ali was moving at light speed in relation to Wong, Wong observed that Ali's time ran slower (dilated). (For argument's sake, let's just assume that for every 1 hours that Ali had travelled, Wong observed that it only took 2 hour.)
3. Ali stopped his space ship when Wong's clock recorded 10 hours had passed. Due to time dilation, Ali's clock recorded only 5 hours.
4. Ali now return to Earth and Wong recorded that it took another 10 hours, but again, Ali's clock recorded only 5 hours.
5. In total, Wong waited on Earth for 20 hours, but observed Ali's clock to have only ran for 10 hours.

What does Ali see?
1. Ali travelled away at light speed.
2. Since motion is relative, Ali observed that he was stationary but it was Wong who was travelling away at light speed.
3. Ali stopped his space ship when his clock recorded 5 hours had passed. Due to time dilation, Wong's clock only recorded 2.5 hours. (because to Ali, it was Wong who was travelling at light speed and thus experiencing time dilation)
4. Ali travels back to Earth and recorded that it took him another 5 hours, but again, Wong's clock only recorded 2.5 hours.
5. In total, Wong waited on Earth for 5 hours and Ali travelled for 10 hours.

Herein lies the paradox: Upon returning from his travel, Ali thought Wong was younger but Wong thought Ali was younger. How can they both see each other as being younger than themselves? One of them had to be wrong! Carefully conducted experiments suggest that Ali (who travelled away in light speed and returned) is the one who should be younger. Then, where did our understanding of theory of relativity gone wrong? Surely a theory must be able to explain the results of an experiment!?

The main issue here is that because motion is relative, i.e. we cannot distinguish who is moving or who is at stationary. Ali sees Wong travelling away at light speed, but Wong sees the same of Ali too, just like in the train example above. Therefore, it is perfectly logical (if motion is relative) to claim that either of them had experienced time dilation.

But since experimental results suggest otherwise, there must be something different between Ali and Wong. What is the difference? How can physics distinguish them? Can we distinguish who is the one who is really 'moving away'?

No. We cannot distinguish who is really 'moving away' but they could distinguish who is 'returning'. Now, the adept reader should realised that so far all our attempt to explain theory of relativity has been made on constant speed. No acceleration (change of speed) was involved. If the train moved at constant speed, then neither the passenger nor the people at the station would be able to tell who is moving. But what if the train suddenly brakes? The passenger on board the train would see the people at the station going backward but suddenly losing this speed. The people at the station would see the passenger going forward but suddenly losing this speed too. But the people at the station will not feel the 'force' of the brake, the passenger will!! The passenger will lunge forward as a result of the sudden brake and will have to hold on to something to prevent injury. The people on the station feel nothing at all!

So while we cannot distinguish the two based on speed alone, we can distinguish them based on a change in speed, i.e. acceleration. Acceleration - that was the difference, that was what broke the symmetry between Ali and Wong. As Ali turned his ship around and returned to Earth, he experienced significant acceleration. And it would seem from this case (since Wong aged faster) that the effect of acceleration was to 'distort' Ali's observation on Wong. During the turnaround, Ali's time stood still while Wong's time ran for another 15 hours such that when Ali returned to Earth he recorded 10 hours of travelled time while Wong recorded a total of 20 hours (5 hours for Ali's outgoing and incoming flight + 15 hours of the turnaround). The acceleration had obviously no effect on Wong.

Now, after this 'adjustment', both of them would have agreed that Ali aged slower.

The above example is a bit extreme, of course. No one could travel at light speed and turnaround at light speed IMMEDIATELY. If the turnaround was not that extreme (but still in the order of light speed) then Ali's time would not have stood still while Wong's time ran for another 15 hours. Instead, Ali's time would just run much slower compared to Wong's time e.g. 1 hour of Ali's time to 15 hours of Wong's time. Therefore, acceleration seems to give similar effect to time (and length) as travelling near the speed of light would. Acceleration would make time run slower and length contracts too. This is the basis for the general theory of relativity!

General Theory of Relativity: Gravity changes time and space

The main difference between the Special Theory of relativity and the General Theory of relativity is the inclusion of the effect of gravity for the latter.

While explaining the twin paradox, I explained that acceleration had a similar effect on time and space (remember that length contraction is equivalent to space contraction). In science, if there is ABSOLUTELY no way to distinguish between two things, then these two things are said to be same. Is there a way to distinguish between the effect of acceleration and a gravity field?

The answer is no. In the twin paradox, Ali made an instantaneous turnaround to return to Earth. During this turnaround, he experience acceleration. The effect of this acceleration is analogous to the effect of gravity. During this turnaround, Ali would be pushed back to his seat just like a gravity field is pulling him. Therefore, if acceleration could cause time dilation and space contraction, so can gravity. They are equivalent.

We can now rephrase what we know about gravity based on our understanding of the twin paradox. The effect of gravity is that time dilates and space contracts for observers close to the gravity field. For the twin paradox, we could have well said that during the turnaround, Ali was close to the gravity field and experience significant time dilation while Wong was sufficiently far enough that he experienced none.

Let's assume that time and space are the two axis of a big fish net. If we place a big object (like a planet) at the center of this fish net, this will create a huge gravity field. If gravity causes time dilation and length contraction, you could imagine that the net has a higher "density" near where the planet is located. The net will look as though it is bent around that region. That is why general theory of relativity says that space-time is warped (bent) by gravity field. Now, if we roll a ball across the net, you could imagine that the ball will initially move in a straight line but then curve inwards as it approaches the bent. This is how general theory of relativity explains the gravity pull!
(source: nrumiano)

And that's all to the theory of relativity! The rest are just maths and more maths. I hope this have helped you to understand the theory better. There is another excellent website on this here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Blackjack and Marriage

"Marriage is like playing blackjack. Everyone wants 21. But you could only try to get as close as possible to 21, without busting." -sL

Tuesday, April 6, 2010



我的年代:小玩(computer games) 怡情,大玩伤身!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Q1 review...

End of first quarter. Review of my new year's resolution...

Out of 10, I only completed 2 - no. 2 and no. 8;

And if my working rate is like an S-curve, then I should be near the steep curve soon...

Damn...I better buckle up...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Power and responsibility

"With great power comes great responsibility" - Spiderman
"With no power comes no responsibility" - Kickass

Friday, April 2, 2010




每一个人有学习自己语言的自由,有提倡自己母语教育的自由,但是每一个国家也必须有自己的国语。在大马,它就是马来语。而在华小,它并不是主要教学媒介语。国家也必须有自己一套完整、统一的核心教育内容。用同样的语言学习共同的历史,无疑对国家的认同感和人民的团结是有帮助的 (虽然我国现在4分5裂与这无关)。况且,拥有统一性的教育内容,可以让政府更有效地培养出有关国家发展领域的人才。比如,教育是否要着重实用科学、文科、还是金融方面的知识。在韩国,政府早在20年前就制定好方针要他们的教育着重实用科学,而且以生物科技和电子科技为主,所以至今才会有这样的成就。因此,一个国家拥有统一以及“recommended”的学校教育系统和内容是正确的。而在我国,它就是国小。虽然华小的教课书内容与国小相近,但是国小比起华小还是有一点优势的。国小其实也能上中文课。就好像,在华小也能有国文课一样。理论上,两者唯一的不同,就是在教学媒介语,以及学生种族的比例。这个差别虽然不多,但是对国家发展而言是很重要的。可惜,实际上,两者还有更多的差别。其中最明显的,就是华小、淡小经常受到政府的打压,而国小没有。


我国政府没有必要打压华小,对华小的待遇也应该更好。这个大家都认同。但是,要把华小的待遇与国小同等化,那只不过是另一种种族主义,那只会把我们化身为巫统的evil twin - 我们同样是种族主义,只是为不同的种族而已。就好像之前我们怎么嘲笑慕尤丁在国会的那段话:“我是马来人优先,但是也支持1Malaysia,这两者没有冲突”;当我们要求各源流学校拥有完全同等的地位的时候,我们也不是一样相信了“3Malaysia”吗?统一的教育,对一个马来西亚来说,无疑是更好的。但是,在统一之中,我们也还能寻求多元性!华小是我们教育系统的一部分,但是它是用来complement我们的教育系统,不能与国小同等起来。在我国的情况而言,国小有着“特别的任务”。

独中呢?华社很支持独中。火箭党也很支持。他们要政府承认统考,要独中得到资金的援助。但是,如果独中的待遇也应该跟其它政府学校一样的话,那么独中还是独中吗?它们,还是“独立”中学吗?它们,还需要董事部吗?华社总不能既要马儿跑又不让吃草!独中的历史教课内容都甚少提到马来西亚。而且教育内容与其它源流学校大有不同。独中,就是名副其实的独立中学。它,与一些国际学校没有差别。不同的地方就在于独中在大马扎根比较久,而且华文是3大民族之一的母语。但是,很多“香蕉”人也是把英文当作是他们的母语了。而且,在马来西亚,英文也算是非常重要的沟通语。那么这些(英文)国际学校,是不是也应该得到政府的援助呢?也许你会说,独中对大马的贡献很多,所以应该得到更多的援助。但是,难道这些国际学校的贡献会少吗?那么,政府是不是也要承认IB (国际学校的“统考”)呢?我很难想象要我国大学以一个完全没有国文,甚少提到马来西亚历史的考试文凭作为录取标准(当然,在政府部门里,我认为统考是可以得到承认的)。如果要独中得到与国中一样的待遇,要统考得到本地大学的承认,那么华社是不是太过注重自己种族的利益呢?华社,也是不是”优先华人“呢?

我认为,华社之所以对华小这么敏感和不满,主要源自于巫统政府多年来对华小的打压和欺骗。他们不但不新建华小,还要想尽办法将我们的华小和独中逐渐逐渐地破坏。想当年,位于八打灵的百乐镇国中(Damansara Jaya) 是一个华文教学非常强的国中。他们的辩论队还比八打灵公教中学来得强。然而,换了一个校长后,百乐镇国中的华文课逐年减少。至今,它已经是一个堂堂正正的 “英文学校”。我们不能说百乐镇退步了,因为在这个校长的带领下,这间国中确实发展得很好。我们只能说,继改制国中还有宏愿学校计划以后,我们又再次被政府欺骗了。


Thursday, April 1, 2010

debating with Muhyiddin...

He says, "I'm a Malay first, " and then only a Malaysian. He says it does not contradict with 1Malaysia. He says there's nothing wrong in fighting for their own race and still believe in 1Malaysia.

So what's wrong with his statement?

There is no contradiction trying to be a Malay and a Malaysian at the same time; or try to fight for both the Malays and Malaysians' welfare at the same time. But that was not what the DAP stalwart, Lim Kit Siang, asked. He asked, which do you place first?

LKS did not ask Muhyiddin to choose between the two. He can be both a Malay and a Malaysian; and can fight for the interest of both Malays and Malaysians. The essence of the question is, when these two have a conflicting interest, who would you place first?

Of course, there's nothing wrong in fighting for his own race, but does his race's welfare comes before the general Malaysian? Muhyiddin believes so. And to place one's own race above everything else is, simply said, a racist.

And if this does not contradict with 1Malaysia, then there's only 1 logical explanation left - that 1Malaysia is a one single united Malaysia for Malays.

And since Najib defended Muhyiddin on this statement, he must have believed Muhyiddin's interpretation on 1Malaysia too. Maybe, Najib places Malay first too. But then again, who doesn't in UMNO?