Finding Zen in Bandar Seri Bengawan

1. The road leading from Krokop to Kuala Belait is bumpy since a new highway is under construction. We drove passed Lotong where Julayhi is staying with his family. Kuala Baram river has many fishing ports which I supposed for deep sea fishing. The entire journey was straight except on some slithering spot on the incomplete newly constructed highway.

2. Malaysian immigration checkpoint made up a moderately big immigration complex manned with integrated computerized passport processing system. One doesn’t have to get out of the car, just submit the passport to the immigration officer and the camera is right in front of you for the officer to have a look at who you are in the car. Passing through a short length of ‘no man land’ reminded me of South and North Korean border. But here, ‘peace, no war’ is at work!

The Map of Brunei

3. We passed Seria, Lumut, Tutong and finally reached BSB in two and a half hours. BSB is an idle, yet clean and well-designed town. It is very ideal to pass the hectic pace of life that always push everyone over the edge. In short, it is an ideal place to find zen… a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind; a way of being and a state of mind.

2 in 1

1. I was sitting in one of my hectic clinics one day. Patients came in and out the room one by one. A mum was denying that her son was over-active when the fact showed clearly that the child was running up and about the room and his condition was getting worst and worst from the perspective of his class teacher.

2. What can I do to accelerate the turnover of patients? I scanned the file of my next patient. Here..there is some familiarity. I called the mum in. The boy was wearing the red shirt. Oh..similar with this patient. However, in striking contrast, the newly identified boy was full of order and looked like he was well compliant with my treatment.

3. I made much of this and suggested he must be taking medicine as prescribed. The mum nodded.

4. Well, can you tell her what happen to your son after taking medication, I seemed to suggest. They were looking at each other, unbelievable and hardly say anything for a moment.

5. The mum of the orderly boy started by describing how she gave the medication and to her astonishment, it’s work.

6. Well, then, I wonder, they just need facilitation. I facilitated the discussion to the point where a mum told the others that teachers won’t be able to handle hyperactive kids in the class. Imagine they have 30 more kids to look after. There is no teachers’ aid in Malaysian setting, either.

7. Finally, the former was influenced to start her kid on medication and that solved my biggest headache of the day.

8. Many parents are misinformed about the need to start medication on their hyperactive kids. To some extent, the internet is to be blamed. The benefit has to outweigh the risk before any medication has to be started. By and large, from my experience, at least 80% of children will respond to medication.

9. The only problem at the moment is that the child has to swallow the pill or otherwise the pill has to be crushed. No liquid preparation is available.


1. Firefly is an airline but fireflies are lightning bugs which used bioluminescence to attract mates or prey. Those two are different except that both can fly.

2. When I was small I used to catch this bugs. I was fascinated by the chemically-produced light from the lower abdomen which I remember always green in color.

3. Now, of course, I don’t play with fireflies anymore. On the other hand,  I had an opportunity to fly with Firefly on several occasions. On the first occasion using  Fokker F50 aircraft many many years back and fairly recently using ATR 72-500 aircraft from Sultan Ismail Petra airport to Subang.

4. Compare to 737 aircraft, the seating in ATR 72-500 aircraft is just 2-seater on both sides of the cabin. Here, the refreshments are included in the bill. The ritual of informing customers about emergency procedures is similar to Malaysia Airline, the parent company of Firefly.

5. The reason for choosing Firefly for many people is to save cost on traveling. True enough, for those who book late the price is found to be reasonable compared to another low-cost airplane.

Leadership in Family Business

1. The phenomenon of ‘shirt sleeve in three generations’ (demise of the family business in three generations) is widely known. At the same time, a number of family businesses have defied this and survived beyond several generations.

2. This apparent paradox underlines the significance of having relevant leadership capabilities on both the family and business fronts for their perpetuity. In most families, leadership is assumed to be based on seniority of age, while logically that may not be the prudent criterion to follow.

3. One should command respect, not demand! Also, the challenges of leadership are often not understood well by all, that too in different contexts. For instance, the capabilities required to lead are dynamic in an ever-evolving organization, whether family or business.

4. Similarly, rapid changes in social and family traditions in recent times have led to the emergence of nuclear families, redefining the meaning of joint family system and the role of family leadership in our society.

5. The recent growth in the Indian economy and resultant entrepreneurial opportunities have tempted many to think in terms of the need for greater freedom to pursue their interests, giving an impression that without unquestioned leadership authority vested in themselves resulting in family splits, their ambitions would be curtailed.

6. How should leaders address such multiple challenges? In other words, leadership challenges of family business are many and growing, and families have to consciously choose the person to lead them carefully.

7. To start with, most families do not explore the meaning of ‘togetherness’ that is essential to define the destiny of business and family. It is taken for granted that all family members understand and share the meaning completely. Unfortunately, this is a baseless assumption.

8. Some of the basic questions are: do we have shared goals, values, and ambitions? Do we have clear policies for decisions and processes to create policies in different areas? Are we clear about the implications of accepting the scope of any definition of ‘togetherness’? Are we ready to openly discuss these issues? In the absence of some answers to the above, leadership will naturally become a tougher role to play.

9. One of the basic reasons for this role to be challenging is that it is often a discovery-driven journey for the leader. In most cases, the leader has never functioned in similar situations earlier; this is particularly so for leaders of rapidly growing mid-size family businesses who face structurally different challenges often. They need to constantly upgrade and update themselves in terms of their knowledge, skill, and attitude to make their capabilities relevant for addressing emerging situations.

10. A leader’s position is that of a king who does everything in the interest of the people. It is a responsibility. Families have entrusted in good faith in the hands of the leader the responsibility to preserve and grow their material and spiritual wealth.

[By Kavil Ramachandran]

Researchers Create Brain On A Chip

1. Although computers have been called “thinking machines,” their internal operations have very little to do with how the original thinking machine — the human brain — actually works. That’s changing, however, as some researchers at MIT and the University of Texas Medical School have demonstrated in a new computer chip that mimics how the brain learns as it receives new information.

2. The chip can simulate the activity that takes place in the brain’s synapses. Synapses connect neurons in the brain. Neurons are where the brain stores information.

3. One of the obstacles in trying to simulate brain activity on silicon is scale. That’s because brain activity takes place in parallel — many things happening simultaneously. Computer activity takes place in series — one thing after another.

4. “That means, when you have to go up to scale to the sizes of our brains, or even the brains of very simple animals, it becomes nearly impossible,” one of the researchers, University of Texas Medical School Associate Professor Harel Shouval, explained to TechNewsWorld.

5. Other members of the research team were Chi-Sang Poon, a principal research scientist in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology; Guy Rachmuth, a former postdoc in Poon’s lab; and Mark Bear, the Picower Professor of Neuroscience at MIT.

6. What kind of scale are researchers confronted with? It’s estimated that there are 100 billion neurons in the brain talking to each other through 100 trillion synapses.

7. “The number of connections between neurons in our brain grows approximately by the square of the number of neurons in the brain,” explained. “So the problem gets very quickly out of hand.”

8. “If all those synapses need to be simulated in series, there is no way we can do anything in a finite time,” he said.

9. “Each synapse is incredibly slow compared to anything digital, but how the brain does what it does is by having an immense number of these ‘machines’ working in parallel,” he added.

10. The new chip, however, can have millions of simulated synapses on it. The researchers are able to mimic a synapse with 400 transistors. Using very large scale integration (VLSI), billions of transistors can be placed on a chip.

11. Another problem tackled by the new chip is simulating how neurons communicate with each other through the synapses. How something is learned is determined by changes in the strength of those connections, which are called “ion channels.”

12. To simulate on a chip what happens in those channels, the researchers had to make the current flow on the silicon mimic the analog behavior in the channels. Rather than spiking the current — turning it off and on — a gradient approach is used which emulates how ions flow in the channels between neurons.

13. “If you really want to mimic brain function realistically, you have to do more than just spiking,” Poon told MIT tech writer Anne Traffton. “You have to capture the intracellular processes that are ion channel-based.”

14. The researchers see a number of applications for the new chip. For example, it could be used in neural prosthetic devices, such as artificial retinas, or to model neural functions, which can now take hours or even days to simulate.

15. Earlier this year, IBM researchers announced they had made a breakthrough in their efforts to make chips that work like the human brain. The chips, which are still in the test phase, are expected to be the backbone of a new breed of thinking machine called a “cognitive computer.”

16. Cognitive computers will add to their knowledge base as humans do — through experience, by finding correlations, creating hypotheses, remembering and emulating the brain’s structural and synaptic plasticity.

17. The brain structure is based on learning, by establishing pathways, reinforcing pathways and eliminating pathways when they’re not being used, explained Roger L. Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates.

18. “Computers have not generally been learning structures, even though artificial intelligence has spent some time trying to make that happen,” he told TechNewsWorld.

19. Artifical intelligence researchers pioneered the idea of a computer architecture wherein nodes shared information with nearby nodes, just as neurons share information with neighboring neurons through synaptic connections, he explained.

20. “But it really didn’t work until recently,” he said. “So the idea that you could create a learning structure in a machine is something that’s just beginning. “AI showed the theory of it, but in reality, it’s much more complicated,” he added.

[By John P. Mello Jr. – TechNewsWorld ]



When the best actors are chosen by other actors,
it’s called the Oscars.

When the best actors are chosen by the people,
it’s called an Election.



People who do lots of work…make lots of mistakes,

People who do less work…make less mistakes,

People who do no work…make no mistakes,

People who make no mistakes…get promoted.


Good Wife

Every Lady hopes that her daughter will marry a Better Man than she did and is convinced that her son will Never find a wife as Good as his father did.


Trouble Sleeping

The woman seated herself in the psychiatrists office. “What seems to be the problem?” the doctor asked.

“Well, I, uh,” she stammered. “I think I, uh, might be a nymphomaniac.”

“I see,” he said. “I can help you, but I must advise you that my fee is $80 an hour.”

“That’s not bad,” she replied. “How much for all night?”


Gate Transfer

At the airport for a business trip, I settled down to wait for the boarding announcement at Gate A11. Then I heard the voice on the public address system saying, “We apologize for the inconvenience, but MH 1435 will board from Gate B10.”So my family picked up our luggage and carried it over to Gate B10. Not ten minutes later the public address voice told us that Flight MH 1435 would in fact be boarding from Gate A11. So, again, we gathered our carry-on luggage and returned to the original gate. Just as we were settling down, the public address voice spoke again: “Thank you for participating in Malaysian Airline’s physical fitness program.


A Walking economy

This guy is walking with his friend, who happens to be a psychologist. He says to this friend, “I’m a walking economy.”The friend asks, “How so?””My hair line is in recession, my stomach is a victim of inflation, and both of these together are puttingme into a deep depression!”



As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife’s voice urgently warning him, “Bang, I just heard on Radio Era that there’s a car going the wrong way on hiway. Please be careful!” “Heck,” said the old man, “It’s not just one car. It’s hundreds of them!”

The Beginner Guide to Myth

1. I’ve come across when a scientist or people trained in medicine who become misguided to believing a black magic, religious-spiritual myths of disease etiology and even spiritual management of certain (=to them) ‘possessive’ illnesses.

2. I’ve seen very frequent in my clinical practice, a disease which to a lay person, is possessed by jin, syaitan and iblis and they turn out to be either of neurotic and psychotic origins.

3. I still remember very clearly a young form four girl who claimed to be a spiritual healer. Many people had used his special power to treat their ‘possessive’  illness. Some worked but many failed. When she was in her possessive state she will be in great pain, massaging her chest to the extent that she developed some scarring at her sternum.

4. She claimed to see what was happening in the holy Mecca. That was strange to me. I was desperate to help her because of the unbearable pain she had been experiencing in front of my eyes. In a second, I thought, if someone psychotic could see images like shadow why not they have novel experience of religious nature. Though it was congruent to sociocultural explanation in Islam which, in lateral definition wasn’t considered to be psychosis, I want to try putting her on an anti-psychotic.

5. She came back weeks later free of pain and in clear mind. She had improved and stopped behaving as a spiritual healer. Obviously, her experience has been distorted due to repeated storytelling about her spiritual ability to heal spiritual illness. She has been personified into an ancient worshipped spiritual healer. People started to believe she had magical ability. People flocked from all around the village to come and see her.

That is what Malay mentality is all about!